SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR BITTER RESENTMENT
Saw these guys doing a free show when I was on the way home from work last night:
Bunch of scruffy hipsters and hippies doing rather authentic oompah/polka music? They were pretty good. The crowd loved 'em. Octogenarians were dancing, as were people a lot younger.
I saw them play a few hours after I saw this ad:
It's Mitt Romney's shameless pitch for Polish-American votes: an invocation of the alleged war on religion (i.e., contraception covered by insurance), followed by Romney quoting John Paul II -- "Be not afraid" -- and then a mention of Lech Walesa's endorsement of Romney.
Honestly -- which do you think would win Mitt Romney more Polish-American votes: that somber ad ("Be not afraid") ... or Romney going to see a band playing the kind of music you hear in the first clip and genuinely seeming to enjoy it? OK, maybe he wouldn't want to get down with a bunch of polka-playing guys in drag. (They also perform in more conventional garb.) But sincerely enjoying some traditional tunes? Having a genuine emotional reaction to something other than his own ambition, his own anger, his own life and trophy family? You think if he could do that he might not be 7 points down in the new CNN poll and 9 points down in the new Fox poll?
I say this with mixed feelings. I'm waiting for the day when Republican candidates start losing elections nationwide because they're Republicans -- because their policies and agenda are understood by voters and thoroughly rejected. Yes, there's some of that this year. But it's clear that, on balance, the anti-Romney vote is a vote against Romney, not a vote against Republicanism. (Americans don't like any of the other GOP candidates for president. It'd be nice if they drew the logical conclusion from that.) Republicans are still almost certain to keep the House and have a good shot at winning the Senate. Scott Brown could win again. That crazy guy in Missouri who regards federal involvement in the student loan program as a national stage three cancer is leading in the polls. It's not an anti-GOP wave election.
The perception that Romney has no human feelings does, I suppose, lead people to think that being a crabbed, soulless individual drives him to the soulless pursuit of wealth and gain and advantage, in a way that's not appropriate for a president. So the personal is somewhat political.
But there are plenty of Republicans who clearly have human feelings, yet are equally dangerous -- Christie, Bachmann, Gingrich, Allen West, Limbaugh, Coulter, and so on.* (It's obvious that Michele Bachmann genuinely enjoys dancing.) This means we'll probably have to start from scratch two and four years from now, still not having made the point that Republican ideas and policies are America's biggest political problem. If the people embodying those GOP ideas have the capacity to feel joy, we'll have an uphill fight on our hands.
*UPDATE: Palin! How could I have forgotten Palin?