Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Logic and lies

6 07 2012

Mitt Romney is an odd man.

Okay, yeah, not a fresh observation, but I’m not talking about his odd sense of humor (pretending a waitress played grab-ass with you? really?) or his awkwardness carrying on back-and-forth conversations with the ordinary folk, or even his gosh-gee-gollyisms. (As someone with a fondness for retroisms, I kinda like this, especially because I think it’s completely sincere.)

No, I’m talking about the split in his personality between the logical man and the one with his pants on fire.

Sullivan and ThinkProgress have done bang-up jobs tracing Mitt’s every last doubling-back on his own words and records, as well as the campaign’s enthusiastic uninterest in the truth—unexceptional tactics in the winning-is-the-only-thing presidential campaign—but I haven’t seen as much about Romney’s rigidity regarding rules.

Did you watch any of the GOPper primary debates? Neither did I, but I did watch chunky excerpts of them, and it was clear that Mitt could be thrown off his game by someone else breaking what he saw as the rules. There were the peevish “I’m talking/I didn’t interrupt you, don’t interrupt me” moments, and the attempt to counter the more outrageous charges thrown his way by insisting “that’s just not true!”

Terribly effective, that.

Or consider his response to the disbelief that he would strap a beloved family pet to the roof of a car for a long trip to Canada: he noted there was no room in the car and hey, he built a windshield, so what was the problem? Perfectly logical, he did nothing wrong, so there was no more need for any further discussion of the terror inflicted on poor Seamus.

More substantively, consider his responses to queries about his taxes and his grudging tardiness in releasing the tax form. Some of that grudging may be for a good reason—he’s made very good use of his tax attorneys, and I’d guess that someone in his campaign must be aware of the optics—but he seems genuinely put out that anyone would question him about the way he worked over the tax code. I pay every dollar I owe and not one penny more, he’s said, which, while likely technically true, is rather beside the point. In Romney’s eyes, however, submitting to the rules, even rules which one’s accountants have stretched to the screaming point, is all that matters, and anyone who’d suggest otherwise is simply small-minded or out to get him.

Similarly, it is perfectly legal to open overseas bank accounts, provided, again, one follows the rules on these matters—and I would be very surprised if Mitt Romney didn’t follow the rules. But, dude, you’ve been running for president of The Goddamningnest Best Country in the History of the Universe for the past five or six years, and it didn’t occur to you in the meantime to bring all of your dollars back to The Goddamningnest Best Country in the History of the Universe, lest it appear that your patriotism stops at the bottom line?

I mean, shit, I’m not much for nationalism nor am I bothered in general by foreign bank accounts, but even I think the president shouldn’t be dividing his monies among nations. This reaction may not be logical, but I’d bet it’s not rare.

Sure, one could say that because Romney is such a stand-up guy, he thinks following rules ought to be enough, but given his penchant for lying about Obama, I think we can safely forego the “stand-up-guy” bit.

Still, it appears that he does believe that when he follows the rules, that ought to be enough—and when it is not, he does not know how to act.

It’s unclear how much campaigns matter—events beyond the candidates’ control nonetheless tend to control presidential elections—but assuming they matter at least a little, Mitt’s adherence to the rules could get him in trouble with an opponent who writes his own rules.

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5 responses

6 07 2012
dmf

one might hope, and I do, but at this stage in the game I’m not sure that campaigns do really matter (barring some major scandal). my other more groundless hope is that just as data collection is changing the guessing game of advertising it might start to eliminate the world of political “expert” analysis from major news reporting.

6 07 2012
7 07 2012
7 07 2012
absurdbeats

I don’t know that pundits will ever go away; the best we might be able to get is that the multiplication of said outlets for such analysis might lead to a downgrading of their worth.

Anyway, too many of those pundits (and those who take them seriously) seem to forget that it is the nature of politics to be unpredictable. If we all know what’s going to happen at all times, then politics will have been effectively eliminated from the equation.

17 07 2012
Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Logic and lies, redux « AbsurdBeats

[…] a week or so ago I noted Romney’s odd adherence to rules in the Ultimate Fight otherwise known as the presidential […]

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