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.
VI. A Rally, a One-Percenter Pooch, and an Attack on Success.
Tuesday -- April 24
Tonight there's a big rally for the Gov up in Manchester, New Hampshire, which I can't make because I enjoy spending time with my family. Also there was one other reason... I'm trying to remember... oh, yeah, that's right. I don't actually give a shit. But I'll be sure to issue a detailed report on it tomorrow.
Wednesday -- April 25
<< Detailed Rally Report:
Me: "How was the rally last night? Were there a lot of people there?"
Intern: "No, not really."
End Detailed Rally Report >>
There's a little dog running around the office which I am highly allergic to. It's a shaggy white mutt named Lucy that belongs to somebody high up in the ranks. There is talk of her subsisting exclusively on caviar. She looks up at me suspiciously, as if she knows I'm a Democrat. I may have to take her out before she spills the beans.
Overheard conversation: a strategist on the phone with the Gov.
"Just tell them, '[Obama is] failing Hispanics with his economic policies, with the high unemployment... you know...'"
Obama failing Hispanics. Yeah. That's a good one. Let me know how that one works out for you.
Thursday -- April 26
In an effort to win over some of those so-called Hispanics, like Obama, we are creating "Coalitions" for the website, the first being: "Hispanics for Romney." It doesn't make any difference that there aren't any. Politics is all about perception. Reality is immaterial.
Our designers made some new bumper stickers based on a recent Romney quote: "It's still about the economy... and we're not stupid!" However, their stickers were rejected by the higher-ups. Not because the quote itself is at best confusing and at worst juvenile and defensive (who you callin' stupid, stupid?!), but because our designers placed the word "stupid" too close to the Gov's face.
Funny thing is, I don't think they did it by accident.
So far, one of my favorite people here (and I'm not saying that ironically, there are loads of really fun people here) is an ethnic-looking dude who produces the TV ads. I mistook him for a liberal after he told me he got a BFA in painting. I don't know any Republicans with a BFA (though a considerable number of them are FA's). I told him I had an MFA from UMass, Amherst. He somehow sensed where I was headed and quickly interjected before I said something I might regret. "It was hard being the only Republican there," he said. I decided to change the subject to something more politically ambiguous--whether or not he thought we could win come November. "We can win in ads," he prophetically said, "And we can win online. But we can't win on the ground."
Even at the time, this seemed overly optimistic on all counts.
Hindsight update: it turns out the guy really is a Republican with a BFA, as surprising as that sounds. He worked on the Bush campaign prior to RFP (Romney For President), and ol' W. himself had dubbed him (or dubya'd him) his nickname (the name he now goes by), presumably when he couldn't remember his actual name. The name sounds ethnic, and the dude looks the part, though he, himself, is anything but. So that's kind of weird and whatnot, but whatever. Still a nice guy.
It's not that I find it odd Bush gave him a special name. I just know if Bush ever donned me a nickname, it probably wouldn't be one I'd want to hear repeated in public.
Friday -- April 27
An escorted group of Asian men of indeterminate heritage just passed by and -- though I missed the question -- the answer was disconcerting enough:
"We don't have those kinds of discussions out-loud," the escort said, "But I'm sure we can arrange something."
Sometimes it's hard to decide what I hate more: myself or the fact that I'm working here. For instance, today I figured out that if you go to the Obama Spanish site and have Google Translate convert it to English, you can then hover over certain passages and suggest alternate translations, which then get "contributed" back to the system. Presumably if enough people contribute an alternate translation, Google will feature that translation over the original.
The point is: On Obama's Spanish site, the headline: "President Obama Understands Us" can be retranslated to "President Obama Doesn't Understand Us."
For some reason, (the most likely being: total sellout) I mentioned this to one of my bosses, who got way more excited about it than I had anticipated, and said he would distribute it through the office and get everyone to contribute the (mis)translation.
If only I were working for the other guy. Probably best to stop trying to find ways to actually help out and just go back to being ironic all the time.
I'd like to take a moment now to discuss the candy machine in the kitchen. Pretty much every tech job I've ever worked at provided some sort of free refreshment to its employees, until now. It's a shame. Romney's cars get an elevator but his campaign team can't get free Junior Mints. Today, for whatever reason, the machine is refusing to take my dollar. Clearly the Gov suspects me of counterfeiting, which, in the grander scheme of things, I suppose I am.
First the dog, now the snack machine. How much longer can I possibly last?
The Gov's first official gaffe came today, (at least his first since he proposed that 10K bet at the primary debates). At Otterbein U. in Ohio, he attacked the President's "attack on success." "This kind of divisiveness, this attack of success," the Gov said, "is very different from what we've seen in our country's history. We've always encouraged young people, 'Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to... from your parents.'"
First off, he's forgetting about our attack on the Native Americans, who by all accounts were completely successful up to that point. So in a sense you could say our nation is founded upon the principle of attacking success, of wiping the successful out with pox-ridden blankets, in fact.
Secondly, he's forgetting that we don't all have rich parents we can turn to as a last resort.
Monday -- April 30
"Can we get some smelly candles in here? It stinks!"
Tuesday -- May 1
My official first day as a "permanent" employee!
My first political lesson as a permanent employee comes when my boss tells me: "If we make a change on our website, Obama's people generally know about it before we do."
They're having me study Obama's Spanish-version website and even Gingrich's newtpresidente.com in preparation for a "Hispanic version" of mittromney.com. They use the word Hispanic here exclusively, though I'm told some consider an offensive oversimplification (as Hispanic denotes a relationship to Spain), which is probably why they use it here.
To whit: my boss says the new Spanish site will be either: "Romney.com in Espanol or Mittromney.com/tacobell."
Wednesday -- May 2
Office Infiltration!!! (and not by me)
A couple of guys got past security and into the finance offices today, posing as printers, before promptly escaping. Everyone's freaking out: "How do you get past security just because you tell them you have a meeting?"
Thursday -- May 3
Reality vs. TV
My desk happens to be right next to the video-production room, which is how I happened to meet the seemingly-ethnic producer-dude with the BFA. Right about now he's on the phone, working his way through some sort of crisis. Let's listen in, shall we:
"We just want you to say 'we're building a better America'!... oh by the way, the woman in our video is the crazy lady who said Obama should be tried for treason. We can't use that. Can you imagine? We would've been filleted! Nobody would've known if I hadn't talked to the kid. So that video's killed. It'll never see the light of day. But yeah, we should still save it for later because it's good. It's a good concept... I don't know how it happened. We shot 35 people, 12 made the video... we vetted everyone!"
Wednesday -- May 9
The office is buzzing following Obama's announcement he is in favor of gay marriage. The guy who monitors Twitter streams across the cubicle from me was the first to spread the word around the office, which he did by shouting, "Hey, everyone, Obama's come out of the closet! He's for gay marriage!!" So, I'm guessing that makes two people who are out of the closet now. Obama and the dude who monitors the Twitter streams.
WBUR ran a story this morning reminding everyone that contrary to popular belief there are actually quite a large number of homosexuals in the Republican Party, just as there are everywhere else. Now, I don't want to knock the Republican Party here, which is classically the 'all people are created equal party,' what with Lincoln being the country's first Republican and all. But whatever. It's just that. if you think legalizing gay marriage is controversial, consider this. Abe Lincoln legalized African American marriage...by freeing them from slavery! So he pretty much one-upped you on that one. Lincoln literally eliminated a free labor system, immediately destroying the way of life of roughly 8% of all American families.* All the gays are asking you to do is let Crate & Barrel sell them more crap! According to a Fox "News" poll (5/16), thirteen percent of Republicans support gay marriage, up from seven percent in 2004. Over Skype, my boss tells me she believes gays are born gay (to me, obvious, but whatever, a step in the right direction) and reveals she is one of the 13 percent in favor of gay marriage. Point for my boss.
Thursday -- May 10
My morning train ride begins with some horrible news: a story broken by the Washington Post states Mitt Romney engaged in bullying as a high school student on the campus of the elite Cranbrook School back in 1965. Sure, that was a long time ago, but from what I remember, there was a fundamentally profound difference between the kids who bullied and the kids who got bullied. According to the Post, he and a group of friends "perpetually teased a classmate" for "his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality." They held him down and cut off "chunks of his long hair" while the boy cried and screamed for help. In related news, Romney also shouted "Atta girl!" at a closeted gay student who spoke out in class.
As a short Jew who narrowly avoided being the target of bullies in Jr. High by getting my black belt in Karate, after being literally handed a note bearing a swastika along with the words: "I am going to kill you and your family," I find this development particularly disturbing.
But it's not all bad news today. On the bright side, our "grab a bite" contest has raised 160K in three days! Apparently, there's a lot of people out there want to watch the Governor eat. Let's just hope the winner isn't a sexually-ambiguous dude with long hair.
Stay tuned for the next mouth-watering installment of Steve Brykman's 'I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia!' Coming soon!