It isn't just flip flops and roof -riding family pets that call attention to the
Romney way of dealing with little inconveniences like how to reinvent history or what to do with the family dog on long road excursions. But they exemplify the candidate's inconsistent and muddled approach to the world around him and reactions that are often accompanied by dismissive giggles.
Romney says he is a serious conservative which may impress the Republican base, but his behavior calls into question whether he is sufficiently serious at all when it comes to matters of substance. Sarcasm and flippant broadsides flung at the president are not signs of maturity, sophistication or deep thinking about matters of significance. In fact some of his actions are silly, disrespectful and inane like having his tour bus drive through Obama's supporters in Ohio blowing its horn to make sure everyone noticed - - rather like fans at football games who behave similarly. How presidential. Or maybe this was an example of what Mrs. Romney would call her husband's mischievous fun-loving side.
He is never far, however, from delivering convoluted verbal lapses. What are we to make of Romney's comments when Obama suggested that fired teachers, and other professionals should be reinstated? Romney asked rhetorically ‘didn't Obama learn anything from the lessons of Wisconsin' - - that government workers are not favored in the current political culture? How did teachers, firefighters and the police get lumped into an amorphous group, undeserving of respect and a living wage? And how have they come to be known as "government workers?" It never occurred to me that the public-school teachers of my youth were government workers. But apparently employees of a certain class are all the same to the Romney crowd.
Basically, however, the Romney style and his carefully rehearsed supporters never deviate from their message except of course when they stumble into gaffe mode. If a media rep asks Romney a specific question about a specific idea or program they get a rehash of talking points that sidestep the original question. This is the preferred response of all Republican office holders or office seekers. One can almost tick off the answer before it is aired which says something at least for the discipline the party is able to elicit among its own. If one watches enough news programs the rhetoric, though tiresome and unsurprising; nonetheless drives a relentless message.
In the end we are left with a curious admixture of Stepford candidates and surrogates mouthing incoherent partisan talking points to support each other. Former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was resuscitated to comment on the president's successful raid that brought Osama Bin Laden down. He opined that the daring, nail-biting undertaking was just a simple plan requiring no more than ‘fifteen-minutes to design with fourteen minutes for coffee before-hand ' Some of Rumsfeld's more memorable insights it must be recalled, as the Iraq invasion teetered to its inglorious conclusion, were his observation that ‘you go to war with the army you have, not the one you'd like to have' and his unwillingness to take any responsibility for or try to stop the looting of Iraqi antiquities in the chaos that erupted after Baghdad was vanquished - - the inevitable outcome when arrogant, imprudent and under-educated leaders are set loose on the world stage.
And in an effort to justify the indefensible the prime movers of our Iraq policy inform us that torture is not torture, that real war heroes like John Kerry are phonies and that whatever success President Obama achieves now in terms of national defense is something the Bush administration engineered while he was still in office. Somehow we are expected to believe that years from now the Bush-Iraq blunder will be seen as a brilliant tactical maneuver well worth the cost in terms of lives and treasure we have endured and the burden we must continue to bear as a people and a nation.
But conservatives shamelessly bent on making partisan rhetoric fill the void where sensible dialogue should prevail will continue to insult our sensibilities with as much nonsense as we are willing to countenance however long that may be.