The big important news of the Romney campaign today is that he apparently swung by some touristy deep-dish pizza place while on a fundraising swing through Chicago, ate some pie -- I imagine very daintily, with a knife and fork -- and then decided, for the LOLs, to send over the leftovers to the Obama re-elect headquarters, who confirmed the receipt of Romney's leavings.
I'm not sure what the point of this was! Was it supposed to be a prank? Or send some kind of message? And does the message sent to Obama send a backhanded statement to pizza magnate Herman Cain? Who can say? I spent many teenage years in the pizza delivery industry, and have seen just about every joke that can be played with dough and sauce and cheese. "Send that guy some extra slices," wasn't exactly in the canon. Making matters worse is that people like Time's Michael Scherer are making much better jokes:
And this brings up a perennial issue with Mitt: he is terrible at jokes and he won't stop trying to make them, and it only reminds us again and again that he might actually be a plastic-haired robot from the future programmed to switch positions at lightning speed. Here is one of his poll-tested, ruthlessly vetted classics from 2008:
Oh, my! Not good. From his telegraphed set-up to his poorly-pitched punchline, this is a guy who really needs to learn how to be the straight man. Alex Pareene has made a study of Romney's japery, and concludes that this is "the only geniunely funny thing Mitt Romney has ever said/done":
See! That's funny because it's tru...ly one of the most awkward moments in the history of primates!
Romney really, really needs to give up on a life of jokes and pranks. And he should do so, knowing that it's not really going to impact his electoral chances. From what I've been able to conclude, the presidential candidates who are good at humor are almost always just as bad at winning elections.
John McCain, for example, is fantastic on Saturday Night Live -- he takes the sort of headlong plunge into a gag that improv comics demand. But he didn't win in 2008, and while he had humor at the ready for his recent Senate victory, all his jokes were premised on the fact that his primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth, was a complete idiot. Mike Huckabee has some deft comic timing for a politician, and could probably write for McSweeney's very regularly, but his sense of humor hasn't impressed too many voters.
The fact is, Barack Obama didn't really demonstrate much facility for humor until after he was in office and started cracking wise on Rahm and Trump at fancy dinners with the help of comedy writers and the self-confidence that comes from being a few hours away from putting a bullet in Osama bin Laden. His 2008 pre-election appearance on Saturday Night Live was stiff and awkward, and he threw the "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" line past the camera.
I'm pretty sure that poor performance sealed the deal.
Anyway, Mitt, you need to dial it back on the shenanigans, and play to your strengths, like "standing there" and "being handsome" and, oh yeah -- being able to raise ten million dollars whenever you want.
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