At a fundraiser earlier this week, President Obama mocked Mitt Romney's tax plan, which will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, by saying, "It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood."
Sensing that the countless images of Mitt in a Robin Hood outfit might cost the Republican standard bearer a swing state or two, Team Romney mounted a fast, fierce and sensationally effective counter-narrative.
Mitt took the mitts off with a one-two-punch worthy of Harry Reid by coining the term "Obamaloney." Apart from the simple brilliance of the pun, Mitt slyly underscored the Obama-as-foreigner theme by evoking the more hifalutin' spelling "bologna" -- a city in Italy -- and by associating the president with the German-born Oscar Mayer.
This body blow to Team Obama had the added impact of reminding voters of the moment when Newt Gingrich admonished Mitt to "stop the pious baloney" during a New Hampshire debate in January.
Romney quadrupled down when he told Fox News that "(Obama's) serving a dish that's in contradiction to the truth." Them's fightin' words!
In keeping with Team Romney's highly sophisticated "I'm rubber, you're glue" strategy, conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin declared that "Robin Hood in reverse would be the Sheriff of Nottingham, and apparently right now there's only room for one sheriff in this town." Take that, Barack! And Rush Limbaugh, whom most people don't realize is a noted Robin Hood scholar, pointed out that "Robin Hood was a Tea Party activist. He was anti-taxes." We await Rush's explication of Robin's position on welfare reform.
One of the most memorable of the many iterations of the Robin Hood myth was the '50s British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene.
My dad, Carl Sigman, wrote the words and music for the show's theme song, which included this immortal stanza, forever etched in the minds and hearts of boomers all over the English-speaking world:
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen/
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men/
Feared by the bad, loved by the good/
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood
The 1956 hit recording of the tune was produced by "fifth Beatle" George Martin and sung by Martin's friend Dick James (with Stephen James and his chums), who later became the Mop-Tops' publisher. I was seven, and sang it with my friends at Pierce Country Day Camp in Long Island. At least I think I did.
The song was covered in '56 by Frankie Laine and later by none other than heavy metal icons Deep Purple. Bjork recorded a track called "Robin Hood Riding Through The Glen" that had no discernible connection to the original.
The most durable afterlife of the "Robin Hood" theme has been the hundreds of parodies, mostly in the form of radio ads from businesses hawking everything from tires to toothpaste. The best parody, of course, comes from Monty Python, whose "Dennis Moore" was a famous sketch on Flying Circus season three.
Once the "Romney Hood" meme hit the media, Romney-themed parodies popped up on Daily Kos and other websites and social networking outlets.
Time and focus groups will tell whether "Romney Hood" will survive as a reminder of Mitt's outrageous tax plan. In the meantime, my own modest entry in the Romney Hood sweepstakes:
Romney Hood, Romney Hood/Pawn of wealthy men
Romney Hood, Romney Hood/There he goes again
Lose, yes he should!
He's no damn good!
Romneyhood, Romneyhood, Romneyhood
Follow Michael Sigman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/majorsongs