THE BLOG
03/26/2013 05:39 pm ET Updated May 26, 2013

I'm With Mitt: A Visit From Senator Thune

Award-winning left-wing humorist and former National Lampoon editor, Steve Brykman, has infiltrated the Republican Party, working as a UX Designer & 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.

V. Secret Service, Cold Pizza, and the End of the World

Wednesday, April 17

Things are heating up. Today we had visits from Herman Cain and the Romneys themselves. Secret Service were circling the building inside and out all day. I didn't get a chance to meet any of them, though I did get to take a bite of Ann Romney's cold and lifeless leftover pizza.

You can always tell a Secret Serviceman by the curly wire they got sticking out of one ear. Which is preposterous. If they really wanted to blend in, they would just go with a white Apple-style headphone cord like everyone else in America! Are they trying to be noticed? If so, maybe they should go ahead and change their name to the Obvious Service because those old-fashioned phone-cords are a dead giveaway.

Speaking of surveillance giveaways, I have been asked to go through the Obama website and draft a report on their data collection strategies. Turns out Obama is very good at extracting personal information from users when they aren't exactly looking, by disguising them as interactive Flash animations. Very clever (albeit a little bit disturbing), Mr. President.

Friday, April 20

Today we had our first visit from an actual big-time governmental person, John Thune, senator from South Dakota. You can tell he's a big deal just by looking at him. He's tall. His hair is flawless. His suit is newly-pressed (most likely by my uncle), and his skin is aglow with the coddling of animal-tested emollients. We're all in the big conference room just across the hall from my desk. As early as I am coming into this campaign, everyone in here seems to already know everybody else, which I guess shouldn't be surprising. They're all laughing, poking fun, chucking each other on the shoulder and so forth. Doing the sorts of things the children of One-Percenter parents are wont to do when they're fresh out of university, with a cushy campaign job, still flush with youth and money. They're a contended bunch. Their world has yet to collapse entirely around them.

Campaign Manager Matt Rhodes led the meeting with some introductory statements you may find instructive, "This is our crew," he stated matter-of-factly, "We're beginning to beef up our staff. We have 87 people. President Obama has 700. We got 'em right where we want 'em. [Note: Rhodes is a very funny guy.] People in this room, the Gov will never forget that you came early and will always remember and appreciate that. You were with Governor Romney before it was cool to be with Governor Romney."

Like I said, he's funny.

Then Senator Thune took the 'stage' and set the tone for all the internal campaign speeches to follow: the end of the world is nigh:

"Thanks for all the great work that you guys are doing for the cause," the Senator began. "It really is serving a cause greater than yourself. This is a huge campaign with huge implications for the future of the country ... How many of you have been to South Dakota? Really? I'm impressed. The rest of you, we need to get you out there, preferably not in January, that's not a good time to come. But look, this is a long process, as you all know ... As it gears up for the home stretch -- when we get into the general election phase of it--it's going to be absolutely important that every job -- no matter how minute it seems -- gets done and gets done well. Because it's that kind of effort, the blocking and tackling of campaigns, that really makes the difference. I lost my first Senate campaign... by 524 votes ... And when you've been through one like that you realize just how much every single vote matters. So all the little things which at times seem like maybe not all that important really do make a difference. You know, getting people signed up and going out and pounding yard signs and walking neighborhoods and making phone calls and doing all that tedious stuff is just what it's all about. It's getting that vote out.

It's about identifying our voters and getting them out on Election Day and that's what really makes the difference. After our first campaign -- I remember it was a hard-hitting, bare-knuckles campaign -- you've seen a little bit of that in this campaign already... but after it was over, we were sitting in our living room and my wife looked at me and she said, 'I'm not going through another campaign unless God Himself comes to the door and says you have to run' ... but after a few months had passed and you get a little chance to gain some perspective on it, we're having a similar conversation... and she looked at me and said, 'You know, I finally concluded that what we went through in losing that election last year wasn't just about the winning. It was about the race.' And I thought to myself, 'Well... it was about the winning for me!' But it was a really important observation because what she was saying was it was important we be in the arena, that we be out there in the fight, standing up for the things that we believe in. And I don't think there's probably been a time in our nation's history were the stakes were higher, the consequences greater than this election. There's such different visions for the future of this country, Governor Romney has the type of leadership, the skills, the experience, the qualities that we need to lead this country during what are going to be some very tumultuous times. Because the things that we have to do for the future of this country are going to require courage, they're going to require leadership. And those are two attributes that are desperately missing in the White House today.

President Obama talks about having an ear to the bad economy and that's all true but his policies have made it much much worse. If his policies stay in effect and he gets a second four years, I fear for the future of this country. In fact, when I'm talking to Republican groups, I always ask them, 'I want you to think about one question, and that question is, "What would a second Obama term look like?"' Unfettered, unconstrained by having to run for reelection, these guys have a vision for this country that involves more government, expanded bureaucracy in Washington DC, less freedom for families and individuals, completely wrong for this future of this country. Governor Romney out there on the campaign trail every single day is talking about individual freedom, individual responsibility, belief in economic freedom and the free market, free enterprise, keeping this country strong and protecting our place in the world, those are the types of things that are going to differentiate him from President Obama in this campaign and I think people are going recognize very clearly the difference in leadership and that's what this election is really going to hinge on. It's going to be about leadership, about who can fix things, whose got the vision, whose got the courage to see it through and I became convinced early on that Governor Romney was that person. And as I said before, I don't think there's been a more important election... they're are going to be a lot of people who are going to be motivated because really, they're fearful of a second Obama term and we need to use that, generate that momentum, and get people to go to work out there."


Matt Rhodes stopped him briefly and -- for whatever reason -- had some genuinely nice things to say about the opposition:

"We read a lot about the other side and they're quite confident in their abilities. And they've won before, so to a certain degree they should be, and they may not have a lot of respect for us just yet but eventually they will. But we have a lot of respect for them because they won before. We have a lot of respect for President Obama, even if it's not always reciprocated by the people on that side of things."


And then, lest we walk away from this speech with a warm feeling in our belly about the present administration, the senator wrapped things up with some ultimately wrong-headed ideas:

"The president is a guy who's very ideologically tethered to the left, I mean, he has a very different view and vision of the world and this country and what we need to do to keep America moving in a positive direction. In his case, this is a vision that involves a much bigger role for the federal government, a lot less freedom for individuals and families and businesses... he's a guy who obviously has a certain amount of charisma... and I see all these stories about the likability factor, but that's not what this race is going to be about. At the end, this race is going to be about the issues and who can fix America. Who can do the right things with the right policies in place to get the economy going and creating jobs and that what I think, fundamentally, people are going to be voting on... but now [Obama's] got a record. He's got four years of policies that put America in a much weaker position internationally and with regard to the economy here where people are really fearful and concerned about their future. And if you look at any broad measure of the economy whether it's food prices, health care prices, the price of college tuition. The number of people on food stamps has grown 45 percent since he's taken office. The Federal debt's gone up 47 percent. That's what he's got to answer for to the American people. And you've got a candidate who's a conservative businessman, who has the experience to fix the the things that the country needs fixing right now. And that's what we need to focus on, that contrast... I know what I want to see for my children in the future and I want to make absolutely certain that I don't leave any stone unturned or do anything that I can do to make sure Governor Romney is the next President of the United States."

Looks like somebody missed a few stones (but now I'm getting ahead of myself).

Stay tuned for the next scintillating installment of Steve Brykman's 'I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia!' Coming soon!

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