Zelig's Wife: He married me up at the First Church of Harlem. He told me he was the brother of Duke Ellington. (Zelig, by Woody Allen, 1983).
Can Zelig, Woody Allen's human chameleon, become president of the United States? That is the first question Mitt Romney's campaign raises.
Mitt Romney has worn coats-of-many-colors in his political life. His flipping and flopping and weaving and dodging and lying and hiding are so well-known that they hardly even evoke commentary anymore.
Romney's antics have paralyzed the press because as soon as he is caught in one lie or evasion, he is on to the next faster than one can say Sheldon Adelson, or David Koch, or Bain Capital, or Amnesty, or 47 percent, or "Mitt the Twit," or even "Romnesia" (which has the Republicans absolutely besides themselves, otherwise they would not be attacking!)
Consequently, beyond the basic issue of whether Zelig can win the presidency lies the second question of which of his many incarnations would show up should he win.
But, that is really not open to doubt. It is evident from the first, and only, "presidential" decision Romney has made, the selection of the person who would succeed him should he die or be disabled in office.
Romney chose Paul Ryan.
As superstorm Sandy is reminding us once again, the president's main duty is to keep the American people safe and secure. We live in a turbulent world, and our greatest threats are incubated abroad. Moreover, government functions such as emergency management play vital roles in that safety and security as well.
As we have witnessed, Romney (aka, "Mitt the Twit," in the UK) has already embarrassed the United States overseas. He himself has zero foreign policy or defense or national security experience.
When President Obama recognized that his own resume was thin (but still thicker than Romney's) in these areas, he chose a man, Joe Biden, with 30+ years' in-depth foreign policy experience to be his running mate and successor should anything happen to him.
Candidate Obama took seriously his first presidential decision, and placed country first.
Not so Mitt Romney. His choice, Paul Ryan, also has zero foreign policy experience. So, Romney's first, and only, "presidential decision" failed the first duty of any president.
Indeed, it is worse than a failure. It constitutes a reckless disregard for the safety and security of the American people.
Remember Katrina? Who can forget "Brownie"? Under George W. Bush, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was a former Arabian horse-show organizer, an appointment that also was a reckless disregard for the safety and security of the American people (And, this was after Bush and Cheney had not lifted a finger to try to prevent 9/11!).
But, the Paul Ryan pick reveals much more than Romney's placing political calculations above the safety and security of the American people.
It tells us which Romney would show up should the Republicans gain the White House. It would be the Romney who considers the Ryan budget "bold and exciting," who "destroys Medicare to save it," who cuts children between 18-26 off their parents' health insurance, who enables insurance companies to deny patients' coverage, who frees Wall Street to pursue its high-risk gambles with federally insured money, who defunds Planned Parenthood, PBS, and the EPA, who provides huge tax cuts to his wealthy friends (and himself!), dramatically increases defense spending, who axes Medicaid (that provides health care to one in three children, and nursing home care to a large part of the nursing home population), who signs a repeal of the Lily Ledbetter Act, who signs "personhood" laws forcing women to carry their rapists' children...
That is, it would be the Romney of the primaries who, channeling the fictional Zelig who could transform himself into look-and-sound-alikes of anyone he chose, looked and sounded very much like Paul Ryan whose political program is itself based on fictional stories of the Russian novelist, Ayn Rand.
Romney would not really even be able to take the oath of office. Not only do his foreign bank accounts create enormous conflicts-of-interest (no business would allow its chief executive to have interests in rival companies), but Romney has signed pledges (on taxes, on cut-cap-and-balance) that could also constitute a conflict-of-interest. For example, if the country faces an immediate crisis that cannot be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere, would Romney raise taxes? Not if he kept true to his signed pledges.
The leader of the Tea Party Senators, Jim DeMint (R-SC), promised as much after the candidates all traipsed down to South Carolina to kowtow their new emperors earlier this year.
Even before Norquist issued his 'we only need a hand with five fingers' to sign what Congress sends him, DeMint had received pledges to repeal the following: Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, the designation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant by the EPA, just to name a few, and said any of the candidates would sign what the Tea Party Congress sent him. See, e.g., from 8'7"-8'12" of this.
So, the lamestream media can return to asking the key question about whether a Zelig can be elected president of the United States and how the media itself, by equating a real pathological liar and chameleon with a 'normal' politician's spin, would have contributed to such a blasphemy against the sons of the Enlightenment who founded this country.
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