Just when you think that the Republican nomination race can’t get any more surreal, it does. For months now it’s resembled a Spinal Tapish mockumentary.
Bachman lauds the founding fathers for their struggle against slavery. Then at the height of her mini-surge she warns that a perfectly safe inoculation causes mental retardation. Perry can’t remember what government departments he proposes abolishing, he delivers a rambling Bullworthian speech in New Hampshire and most recently accuses NATO ally Turkey of being run by terrorists. Cain unveils an economic plan that The Economist characterizes as Dial 9-9-9 for Nonsense. He painfully lurches through a question on Libya (that’s the one with Gaddafi, right?) where he slams Obama even though he admits he might well have done exactly the same (but for different reasons!). Finally his back catalogue of workplace harassment and an ongoing affair catch up with him. Romney (corporations are people), accused of being an out-of-touch 1%er, offers to bet Perry $10,000 in an Iowa debate where acceptance of the wager would have broken the state law. Santorum, well, do I really have to cite examples? Just Google him.
Then there’s Newt. Multiple adulterer who condemns it in others, self-denying lobbyist (Fannie Mae really needed a historian for a million bucks?!?), Lafferable supply-sider who castigates Romney for too-creative destruction. And now the latest. The attack ad disparaging Romney for, among other things, speaking French.
Leave aside the fact that Newt’s own dissertation includes French sources in his bibliography. Don’t bother pondering why a youthful Romney would be trying to convert the French citizenry to a religion that prohibits wine. But has dumbing down sunk so far that knowledge of a foreign language counts against you? I had reckoned that disbelieving global warming and evolution set the ignorance standard. What was I thinking?
At any rate the controversy put me in mind of the brilliant opening scene of Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen. With a few tweaks…
Romney and Gingrich have gone for brunch at Mitt’s club. Entering, Mitt holds the door.
Mitt – Après vous.
Newt – Toujours la politesse.
Mitt – Noblesse oblige.
Newt – Le mot juste.
Romney hands a menu to Gingrich.
Mitt – A la carte.
Newt – Hors d'œuvre, foie gras.
Mitt – Pour moi, nouvelle cuisine.
Newt – Haute cuisine!
Mitt – Bon appetit. Garçon!
Spying a newspaper, Gingrich catches up on Cain’s latest cause célèbre.
Newt – Ooh la la!
Mitt (grinning) – Cherchez la femme.
Newt – Une femme fatale.
Mitt – Brunette?
Newt – Blonde debutante. Petite divorcée
Mitt – Ménage à trois?
Newt - Droit du seigneur. Très risqué.
Mitt – Chacun à son gout.
Newt – Faux pas.
Mitt – Encore.
Newt – Plus ca change.
Mitt – Damned awkward though. Pardon my French.