When I was six, “Uncle Don” came on the radio every evening during supper.
Hello nephews nieces mine,
I’m glad to see you look so fine.
How’s Mama? How’s Papa?
But tell me first just how you are.
I’ve many many things to tell you,
On the radio,
This is Uncle Don, your Uncle Don . Hello, little friends, hello!
I didn’t like Uncle Don and a few years later heard that after one program, thinking the mike was off, he said, “That ought to hold the little bastards!” I had detected that undercurrent of loathing in Uncle Don just as I detected the undercurrent of distaste Mitt Romney has for the folks he could once bury in spread sheet data while making millions with Bain Capitol.
Some think Romney did okay in his debate with Barack Obama. His expression was usually a pained smile, except when he turned serious to spew out remedies for an economy four years into the ten-year depression left by the self-same policies he proposes will end it.
Surprising to some, he repudiated most of the extreme Teapublican ideas which were the mainstay of his candidacy—until tonight. Teapublicans won’t like it, but what can they do now? Maybe it revived expiring Republican moderates. But beneath everything Romney said was, “That ought to hold the little bastards.”
Smart, handsome, well educated, and well spoken, Romney causes sub-cutaneous itching. During the debate, I found myself more interested in doping out what made him so personally perturbing rather than nailing the contradictions in his arguments. As for Barack Obama, he blandly let Romney get away with vagaries and mis-statements, preferring not to expose the lying schemer, or himself as an angry opponent.
Romney, sometimes pleading, looked like a tight-rope walker afraid the next step would tumble him into the abyss. He didn’t use the smile seen in stump speeches, where he doffs jacket and tie, slides into jeans, and flashes a firefly smile—on, off, on, off, on—beamed like a lighthouse into the dark night.
Obama approaches the microphone, comfortable in his skin, and with an athlete’s ease. You can see that he needs that time on a basketball court. Romney, wound tight as a watch spring with nervous energy, moves in fits like a caroming pool ball with no route of its own. He reminded me of the time I saw Michelle Bachmann dance with her husband to end one of the stump speeches of her ludicrous presidential run, moving in brittle patterns like a figurine on a Swiss cuckoo clock.
After the debate, little light shed, I came away still feeling that Obama is in my corner. Romney wants people to love him now, but you have to give love to get it. Mitt’s urgent talk and firefly smiles can’t convince anyone that he loves them.
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