Friday, August 10, 2012


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?


Victor said...

Yes, I can see Mitt now, his head bobbing at the wrong time to the polka music.

And then, I can see him getting up and saying something like, "I sure liked your poker music. It's like Polish rap, or something. And you're right - 'I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me!'
And now to talk about Polish women's issues, here's my slim wife Ann. And NO - you can't have her. She's just the right weight for me. OY!"

And yet another ethnic group will have been insulted by him Mitt-stakenly Mitt-speaking.

About the other future potential candidates, one of the problems with the people in their party, is that the only joy they ever have is usually at the expense and misery of others.

Paul Ryan doesn't look like a barrel of laughs.
Neither does Scotty Walker.
Or Jeb (though he may be able to fake it).
Or Marco.
Or John Thune.
Sarah IS a barrel of laughs - but I don't think most of the country would vote for her.
And certainly not Jim DeMint, who looks like he'd be right at home in some Puritan pilgrims outfit, laughing as he put you in the stocks.

They'd all have to fake "joy."

People look at Obama's smile, and, if they're rational, see that it's often genuine.
Rational people looking at Mitt, see someone who's being told to smile because that's what he's supposed to be doing in this situation.
I suspect that the only time Mitt feels any joy at all, is when he's counting the money from some deal where he suckered a whole bunch of people.

Of course, if the Democrats pick someone who's also joy-free, that may not work out so well. (Andrew Cuomo comes to mind).

The Republicans need to find someone who enjoys campaigning - like George W. Bush. I think he felt energized by crowds of supporters.
I don't think McCain did - at least not at the end. He knew he wasn't really beloved by the base.

And Mitt's not enjoying himself either.
He's not energized by the crowds - he's too worried about saying something wrong and feckin' things up.

Steve M. said...

Yes, I can see Mitt now, his head bobbing at the wrong time to the polka music.

Jeez, Mitt, it's only two beats to the bar. You've got a 50-50 chance of getting it right.

Sator Arepo said...

"Bunch of scruffy hipsters and hippies doing rather authentic oompah/polka music?"

FYI, that's the same as saying "musicians" - and the kids at the conservatory by and large look the same before they shave, shower, and don tuxedos.

Also: Brave Combo.

Steve M. said...

True (although I imagine a lot of the polka bands in old Polish-American enclaves are made up of old men in suits and ties).

Philo Vaihinger said...

I guess if Polish Americans are as dumb as Lech Walesa this might work.

What's the matter with that boy, anyway?

And I personally just am lost in admiration for Republicans who brag about meritocracy and then urge policies that will exclude everybody from higher education and profession training but even the sorryest dimwits born as lucky children of the rich.

Plenty of seats at Harvard Law for rich dimwits because the smart kids born to other classes can't even afford to apply!

And, as I have said before, we have to make people understand the GOP is the party whose health care plan is exactly this, "Let them die!"

The politicians of the GOP need to PERSONALLY SHOULDER THE BLAME for every death that results from GOP policy choices.

That "controversial" ad personally sticking it to Romney for the wife's death of that guy who lost his job to Romeny's Bain bloodsucking is right on target.

And if the conservatives reply that wasn't his fault personally because THAT'S THE WAY CAPITALISM WORKS, so much the better.

Put that in every single ad directed against every single Republican running for anything.

"This guy says 'Let them die!' because, hey, that's the way capitalism works. Vote for the Democrat!"

stanchaz said...

Romney’s new ad prominently pictures the last Catholic
Pope, Pope John Paul II, and quotes the Pope as saying
“Be not Afraid”.
Perhaps you’re trying to rally the troops Mitt.
(and garner some posthumous endorsements?)
.....BUT you probably don’t realize that.
the Pope was merely quoting Jesus Christ.
Dear Mitt, it was ALSO Jesus Christ who said:
“I tell you the truth,it is hard for a rich man
to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you,
it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.
Hey Mitt, aren’t you kinda glad you’re NOT a Christian?