When I was a kid, my grandmother made me watch The Lawrence Welk Show, which remains a guilty pleasure today. It's hilarious, with Welk's strange German by way of Fargo accent saying things like "Tank you, tank you, dose were our champagne virgins, de Lennon Sisters, crossing dere legs and singing, 'No No, Dey Can't Take Dat Away From Me.'"
Everyone on the show was a conservative's dream of perfect America, guaranteed to never offend the Geritol audience--wholesome as Sunday school in Topeka, impeccably coiffed and attired, so well behaved you wanted to fart in their face just to get a reaction. Watching it always made me hate white people, and I'm white.
The only cast members who weren't totally plastic were Jo Ann Castle, the big busted ragtime pianist who banged on the keys like her hands had Tourette's, and Arthur Duncan, the token black cast member, who was allowed to tap dance and nothing else. Even when the show paid lip service to other cultures, it was always with a white performer. The closest a dancer performing an authentic Mexican hat dance had actually been to Mexico was a bowl of salsa.
The most cutting edge things on the show were the bubbles that floated above the orchestra as it played its elevator music. Watching it today is like having your eyes forced open ala Alex in Clockwork Orange during an Anita Bryant/Pat Boone concert.
The disgusting thing about Welk's show, when viewed by anyone with the slightest individuality or deviance from the mainstream, was its subtle message that WE ARE PERFECT AMERICA AND SO SHOULD YOU BE. It was like a musical directed by Leni Riefenstahl.
Mitt Romney elicits the same reaction, but worse, as if I was also injected with the drug that made Alex scream with agony upon hearing Beethoven. An automaton who makes Disney's Hall Of Presidents seem alive, Romney desperately tries to project the image of a perfect America with a perfect wife and perfect sons with their perfect little Osmond babies and their perfect bank accounts and their perfect morals until you want to puke your perfect guts out. Look at the Romney family Christmas card and try to hold in the vomit.
His contempt for the intelligence of the public rivals George W's, sometimes contradicting himself in the same sentence, with whoppers like "I oppose discrimination against gay people but marriage should be between one man and one woman." Every time he speaks, he resembles an Indiana used car salesman trying to get the customer to buy a Corvair.
He panders to his target Christian audience almost to the point of individually licking their taints. The most hypocritical and horrifying thing you will see in the entire presidential campaign, I guarantee, is his speech on his Mormon religion. He pleads for religious tolerance, but not for any tolerance of the non-religious: "We ARE a nation under God, and in God we DO INDEED trust, we SHOULD acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders...our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our Constitution rests...I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from the God who gave us liberty." Cut to my head, exploding.
If that doesn't scream "theocracy" to you, nothing will. News flash to Mitt: God did not give us liberty, Thomas Jefferson did. America is only a "nation under God" if you choose to believe it. America has no state religion and cannot promote one, but that quaint idea was before Jerry Falwell started this whole religious right train wreck and now everyone is Jesus Happy. And note the not so subtle reference to judges? No sir, no "activist judges" who will let those queers marry or our daughters kill their fetuses.
Fortunately, most evangelicals are prejudiced against Mormons, so I'm hoping this little bout of religious bigotry works in our favor. Romney knows that mainstream Christians don't trust people who believe that an angel named Moroni (from whence comes the word "moron") gave a guy in upstate New York some golden tablets and then told him to go West and marry lots of women. Me neither.
Romney's Mormonism doesn't matter to me--he could worship veal cutlet for all I care--but anyone who uses religion as a selling point should get no closer to the office of the president than Lee Harvey Oswald. We've seen what a great help Jesus was for the last seven miserable years.
At least when I watch Lawrence Welk, it makes me laugh. Romney makes me scream.