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The Potemkin Candidate

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Permanently capitalizing the P in Presumptive Nominee, the Texas primary shoved Mitt Romney right over the delegate precipice, and now with the nomination locked up tighter than a rusted pickle jar 20,000 leagues beneath the sea, the campaign has taken a sudden turn towards the nebulous. Ambiguousville. Candidates don't make mistakes in the murky bog of summer. Even when they do, the atmosphere is too hazy to notice.

One advantage to this smoky shapeless strategy is it plays directly to the man's strengths. The former governor of Massachusetts doesn't have what you might call an actual distinct personality. He's more of a virgin canvas. A good-looking blank slate onto which any number of convictions and philosophies can be believably projected. He's the coloring book and we voters, the crayons. And no fighting over who gets to be burnt sienna.

One of the major pitfalls inherent to this kind of approach is the strong-jawed father of five strapping boys just might play the part too well and come to epitomize what Gertrude Stein said about Oakland: "There's no there there." The guy makes a void look cluttered.

Nobody in the GOP wants to be associated in any way with Oakland, much less have the top of the ticket become a patron saint. The Potemkin Candidate needs to project a quality more substantial than some shape shifter with a supernatural ability to assume the identity of whoever or whatever they plant next to him. Probably why you don't see many Romney rallies held at zoos. Too afraid he'll pose next to the chameleon cage and turn all green.

Another potential mine in the Road to Tampa is the struggle to keep Willard from hanging out with the wrong crowd. You know, other Republicans. Especially distressing to see him palling around with Donald Trump... again, like being photographed at a clown convention. No matter how hard you try, some of that white face is bound to wipe off on the shoulders of even the most ghostly of political shadows.

Donald Trump: a man who is to sober judgment what chocolate-covered marshmallows are to quantum physics. Fueling more fickle furnaces that suspect he'll say or do anything to get to 50.1%, Romney refuses to criticize The Donald, even when the reality show host spouts further Birther nonsense. "Obama was born in Kenya." No, he wasn't. He was born in Honolulu. In a manger. Everybody knows that.

When asked why he continues to press on with this discredited charge, Trump said: "People on the street tell me not to give up on the issue." Donald, for crum's sake, you live in New York City. People on the street also say, "My tricycle sprouted wings and is made out of plutonium."

Although when you think about it, the Oxymormon needs to pick a vice president who makes him look presidential, and The Donald might be the perfect choice. Next to him, Lou Ferrigno looks presidential. Manny Ramirez. Some random guy in a banana suit twirling a sign.

Of course, featuring these two titans of industry, people would either flock to or flee from the Vulture Capitalist Ticket. You've heard of Dumb & Dumber? Welcome to Rich & Richer. Even George Will would admit, it's a pairing that would go a long way into nailing down the bloviating ignoramus vote. Start cranking out the bumper stickers: "Romney/ Trump 2012. We like to fire people!"

The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst "is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today." Check out the website: Redroom.com to buy his book or find out more about upcoming stand- up performances. Or willdurst.com. Every Tuesday. Elect to Laugh! The Marsh. San Francisco. themarsh.org. Special $10 tix. Use code "vote."

And this Sunday, Channel 20, Will & Willie are back. KNEW too.