Award-winning left-wing humorist and former National Lampoon editor, Steve Brykman, has infiltrated the Republican party, working as a UX Designer and Strategist at Mitt Romney's headquarters in Boston's North End. For the hilarious inside story on one of the most insane, error-prone presidential campaigns in recent history, keep reading 'I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia!' Coming soon to a bookstore or eBook reader near you, assuming someone out there possesses the gumption to publish it.
Disclaimer: this blog will not be dictated by fact-checkers.
III. Ann's Birthday and the War on Women
Tuesday -- April 10
Today Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. The entire digital staff were all gathered around the TV watching Fox "News" (naturally) when the broadcaster expressed his lackluster support for Romney and sounded almost sad to see Santorum go. There is muted jubilation here in the office. Someone (presumably high-up on the campaign) just made the rounds, congratulating everybody with a slap on their desks, I'm guessing so as not to contract any germs (and who can blame him).
At this point, I am not yet an official Romney staffer. I'm still working through my placement agency and being paid at a highly satisfactory hourly rate while they vet me (which should take some time).
Wednesday - April 11
In honor of Rick Santorum dropping out of the race, everyone has shown up for work wearing a sweater-vest (well, the guys anyway).
I was just informed that the blog posts on mittromney.com that appear to have been written by Craig Romney, primarily because they end with "by Craig Romney," in fact are not being written by Craig. When I express surprise at this, one of the writers says, "Are you kidding? Craig doesn't have time for that nonsense!"
No, of course he doesn't. Why would he have the time to actually express his own opinions in order to positively influence the outcome of the campaign? I'm sure he's far too busy fixing a polo match or waxing his schooner or whatever else it is rich white people are doing these days.
The truth of the matter is we've got to stay on message at all costs. We can't just let any son of a Gov rattle off some political mishegas and go sticking it online where everyone can see it.
Same goes for Ann Romney. She doesn't write her blog posts, either. Doesn't have a damn thing to do with them. Never has, never will. In fact, the same is true for any blog post signed by anyone associated with the campaign, including the governor himself. As far as I can tell, pretty much all the blog posts on mittromney.com are written by a handful of English majors who graduated college sometime in the last five years. However, in the Gov's defense, the bulk of them are women. All this may not surprise you, but as a writer it strikes me as a tad bizarre. Did I even write the blog entry you're reading now? Who knows? Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. For the sake of any ensuing litigation, let's just say I didn't.
I'm beginning to realize that nothing in politics is as it seems.
Speaking of which, I have this little game I like to play with myself around the office. It's called Find the Heebs and Homos. I'm not proud of it, but it gives me something to do. An old, gay friend of mine used to play this game back at UMass. Just for a laugh, he took me up to the Young Republicans office in the Student Union. We walked in and right away he starts pointing, going, "Him. Him. Him. DEFINITELY him. Mmmm, him." He swore nearly everybody there was in the closet. Then again, he thought I was gay, too. And who knows? Maybe he's right. I did after all spend a lot of time driving a Miata around West Hollywood.
Thursday - April 12
It's quickly becoming clear that the Romney campaign operates defensively. That is, when something great happens, say, when Rick Santorum drops out of the race, there's not much in the way of celebration. But when someone like Hillary Rosen comes out and attacks Ann Romney (in a poorly conceived move), accusing her of 'never having worked a day in her life,' the office goes crazy! They start coming up with slogans, designing posters, devising plans of attack. We must respond to this travesty immediately! The fate of the American Mother is at stake! Somebody get me a quote pulled out of context!
In contrast, take a look at Obama's response to his own strategist, Ms. Rosen. Basically, he attacked her for attacking Ann, which I can't help but assume was part of their strategy to begin with. In this manner, Obama gets it both ways. He gets his point across and comes out looking cool by attacking his own people. He slaps his strategist, then sits back and enjoys the cat-fight. It's akin to when a lawyer says something outrageous, and the opposition objects and the judge yells, "Objection sustained!" and asks that whatever it was be stricken from the record but in the minds of the jurors, the memory lives on. Nobody's going to forget the 'Ann Romney never worked a day in her life' bit.
Obama took it a step further and said families of political candidates should be off limits (easy to say once you've gotten a jab in). To demonstrate his sincerity, he followed it up by saying a seemingly nice thing about Ann: "she seems like a very nice woman who's supportive of her family and supportive of her husband." Finally, he distanced himself from his own strategist, calling the event an "ill-advised statement by somebody on television."
On the other hand, thanks to Rosen's insulting crack and the Gov's crack design team, in a single day the campaign netted thirty grand with a "Moms drive the economy"* bumper sticker -- almost enough for the Gov to buy himself a bottle of 1926 Chateau Haut-Brion. Except that he wouldn't because he doesn't touch the stuff.
*I kept looking for the asterisk and accompanying small print, something like: "... by earning 19 percent less than their male counterparts." Surprisingly, there wasn't any.
What is interesting about the whole deal, however, is this quote from Tagg Romney, Mitt's oldest son, who claimed his mom "made a choice to stay home and take care of us. She didn't have to do that." Which, in Mormonism, I hear isn't actually true. According to Mormon Doctrine, "Woman's primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband" (McConkie, 844). Who is, unfortunately, abiding by the righteous counsel of his strategists.
Coincidentally, Ann Romney's birthday is coming up! They're passing around a card. I signed it:
Keep up the good "work!"
Then, being a total jackass at heart, I added:
I told Hillary not to write that. Bitch never listens. Happy birthday!
President Barack Obama
Speaking of the war on women, Dr. Lanhee Chen's office is just around the corner. Remember him? A reporter asked if Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the one that entitles women to sue if they find their employer is paying employees unequally based on their gender, and he gaffed, "We'll get back to you on that." Clearly an insipid thing to say, particularly for a Harvard PhD. What he should have said was something nebulous and unaccountable like, "Romney absolutely supports the equality of the sexes in the workplace." And then you hang up the phone real fast.
There is this, though. As much as Romney's church and strategists tell him not to be supportive of women in the workplace, it's fairly evident that he is. Most of the folks here in Digital are women. About 90% of them, from the looks of it. But then again, that may be because he doesn't have to pay them as much.
No black people, though. I haven't seen a single African-American in this building since I started working here. Wait. Strike that. I forgot about the security guard. I have seen plenty of Asians, though. And the lady who empties our trash is Hispanic. Though apparently nobody trusts her, as evidenced by the following overheard conversation:
"You don't want to be there when the cleaning lady's around."
"You think she's stealing your shit?"
Friday - April 13
After spending a week intensely studying the Mitt Romney website, I have come to the conclusion the Gov can't win, no matter how many clever bumper stickers we come up with. Here's why: Obama will never have to go negative. While there's certainly plenty he could go negative with (R's income, his low taxes, his tax shelters, his religion and his refusal to discuss it, the whole contraception debacle, his possible involvement with Stericycle), he won't have to. All Obama has to do is keep reiterating the very things the Gov is practically bragging about, which are:
1. He'll overturn Roe v. Wade.
2. He'll end funding to Planned Parenthood.
"Issues - Values:
"Mitt Romney is pro-life...abortion is a problem...more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America...Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade - a case of blatant judicial activism...As president, he will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood."
3. He'll repeal ObamaCare.
From USA Today: Why I'd repeal ObamaCare - 3/22/12
"It is past time to abolish the program, root and branch."
4. He'll keep our troops in Afghanistan.
There is no military rationale for [troop withdrawal]."
5. He'll cut corporate taxes.
"Issues - Tax:
To repair the nation's tax code, marginal rates must be brought down to stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment, while still raising the revenue needed to fund a smaller, smarter, simpler government...America's individual tax code applies relatively high marginal tax rates on a narrow tax base [the rich]. Those high rates discourage work and entrepreneurship, as well as savings and investment... Lower marginal tax rates secure for all Americans the economic gains from tax reform.
• Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates.
The US economy's 35 percent corporate tax rate is among the highest in the industrial world, reducing the ability of our nation's businesses to compete in the global economy and to invest and create jobs at home. By limiting investment and growth, the high rate of corporate tax also hurts US wages.
• Cut the corporate rate to 25 percent.
• Repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax"
6. He'll end Medicare as we know it.
"Issues - Medicare:
Tomorrow's Medicare should give beneficiaries a generous defined contribution, or 'premium support,' and allow them to choose between private plans and traditional Medicare.
Medicare is reformed as a premium support system, meaning that existing spending is repackaged as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan."
Obama is already hip to this strategy. According to his blog, here are the five things you need to know about Romney:
1. He'll outlaw abortion.
2. He'll eliminate Planned Parenthood.
3. He'll repeal ObamaCare, leaving millions without health care.
4. He opposes the President's plan to end the war in Afghanistan and will leave troops there indefinitely.
5. He'll cut taxes for millionaires, paid for by cutting the programs that middle-class families rely on.
6. He'll end Medicare as we know it.
Ergo, this campaign is fundamentally flawed. How do you explain the reasoning behind loudly proclaiming the very positions your opponent is already actively using against you? I mean it's pretty cut and dry, right? The Romney campaign is quite simply out of touch with today's voters. Either the majority of Americans want these things or else they don't. For whatever reason, Obama betting they do. And given Obama's track record up until now, I'd assume he knows what he's doing.
Meanwhile, our Social Vigilante is having a bad day. He spent the last eight hours stripping offensive comments from a Romney family video on YouTube. "I can't keep up," he cried, "As soon as I remove one, ten more appear!"
Stay tuned for the next arousing installment of Steve Brykman's 'I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia!' Coming soon!