Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rough! Rough!

Well it's all getting nastier and nastier, isn't it, as January 3, 2008 rolls around. No time for holiday cheer. Mitt Romney, was just profiled in the NY Times saying he was inspired by his father, Michigan Governor and 1968 presidential candidate, to run for office. George Romney, if you will remember, said that he had been "brainwashed" by Army officials during a visit to Vietnam, a bit of startling honesty which got him immediately hounded out of the race. Mitt, despite avowed father-worship, does not possess the same startling honesty. A photo sent to numerous news agencies shows him at a 1994 pro-choice fundraiser during his Massachusetts Senatorial race against Teddy Kennedy. His response is that this is old news--sure, he says, he was "pro-choice, or effectively pro-choice," then--love that little qualification--but now is is pro-life. (Effectively pro-life?) His wife wrote a presumably effective check to Planned Parenthood for $150 at about the same time. At least, it didn't bounce.
Hillary is now embarked in her "likability tour" in Iowa, which is sort of pointless. Bill is likable, she's not, except in private, where she apparently can be quite charming. Reminds one of the attempts of Herbert Hoover's Republican handlers to take His Stiffness and turn him into a human being in 1928. Pictures sent to newspapers showed him romping with a large dog. "That Man Hoover--He's Human!" the suggested headlines read. Trying to make candidates into something they aren't is always an iffy proposition. Alf Landon, making his hopeless run against FDR in 1936, was a very likable guy, but Republicans wanted him to seem more authoritative. They hired a film director named Ted Bohn—a forerunner of modern political candidate groomers—to teach Landon not to smile with his mouth hanging open, to walk slightly ahead when in a group in order to dominate pictures, and to shake hands with his chin up to give the impression of firmness. It did no good at all. As Hillary says: “There are people who will never vote for me,” she said. “It breaks my heart, but it’s true.”
The candidate who is the most fun to watch right now is Mike Huckabee. I agree with the Republican strategist who says nominating Huckabee would be "an act of suicide" on the part of the Republican Party, but the fact that someone dredged up the story that Huckabee's son, as a boy scout in 1998, allegedly helped kill a dog (by hanging it and cutting its throat?) is interesting. Huckabee, for the record, has not quite responded to the dog allegations, although he does say: "It was mangy. It was going to attack."
Sort of like Mitt?

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