Incoming: Romney Zingers

ZingersAccording to the New York Times, Romney has been memorizing “zingers” since August. They will be his secret weapon at the debates.

Is this absurd? I don’t know. Ezra Klein tweeted last night, “Who would bet a campaign on Mitt Romney’s sense of comic timing?” The obvious response is: Mitt Romney! This is not a guy who has shown himself to be shrewd in a political sense. His campaign up to now boils down to, “The economy is bad and it is Obama’s fault; look at my strong jaw—it tells you I am the one to fix the economy!” At this point, his campaign (along with most of the conservative establishment) seems to think the problem is that he is not likable enough. Therefore, like a mother might tell her unpopular son, “Tell some jokes. People like jokes.”

There’s a history of this. Remember the 1988 debate between George Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakis?

Dukakis: He wants to give the wealthiest taxpayers in this country a five-year, $40-billion tax break and he also wants to spend a lot of money on additional programs. If he keeps this up he’s going to be the Joe Isuzu of American politics.

Bush: Is this the time to unleash our one-liners? That answer was about as clear as Boston Harbor.

These guys kill me! Who would have thought two politicians could hire such good comedy writers? It’s just hilarious. Wait! I’ve got to wipe the tears from my eyes. Oh, baby!

There is something interesting in that transcript: Bush Sr. wanted to cut taxes on the rich. And then Bush Jr. did the same thing. And now Romney wants to do it. Now that’s funny! I’m sure that Romney will have similar zingers; things like: “I’m going to lower taxes across the board and it will be revenue neutral.” Brilliant! “I’m going to increase military spending and it will be revenue neutral.” Outstanding! “I’m going to raise taxes on those 47% moochers and pay off the debt.” Stop! Stop! You’re killing me!

Unfortunately, I think what the Romney campaign means things like this:

Obama: We need to preserve the mortgage interest deduction.

Romney: Your mama is so fat, when she sits around the house, she sits around the house!

Obama: I support reproductive rights.

Romney: Take Michelle Obama… Please!

Obama: I wouldn’t be a very good president if I didn’t care about 100% of the people, now would I?

Romney: Hair lip![1]

I fear the debate will not be so good.

[1] Some people don’t get this. But it’s brilliant. Really! It is based upon an old joke:

A boy lost his eye. He didn’t have enough money to get a glass eye, so he bought a cheap wooden eye. He was very insecure about this and so almost never went out in public.

Eventually, his best friend got him to come out to a dance. But the man just stood quietly against the wall the whole night. His friend went up to him and pointed to a girl. “Why don’t you ask her to dance?” his friend asked.

“No,” then boy said. “She’ll make fun of my wooden eye.”

“No she won’t,” his friend countered. “She has a hairlip herself.”

So reluctantly, the boy went up to to girl and asked her, “Would you like to dance?”

The girl was thrilled. “Would I?” she exclaimed.

“Hairlip!” the boy said angrily and walked away.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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