. . . going on among certain activists and supporters of Romney’s opponents strikes me as just a bit too high-toned to be taken seriously. That’s not to say it’s either surprising or dumb; you have to expect Mitt’s rivals to seize on any opportunity they can to steer the subject of discussion away from his big win in Illinois however they can, and Eric Fehrnstrom gave them a convenient alternative. So, of course they’re going to raise hell about it. If Rick Perry were still in the race, I’d probably be singing along with the chorus at the top of my lungs.
But, since he ain’t and I’m not, I may as well add the perspective of a guy who no longer harbors any illusions as to the inevitable outcome of the primaries — which is to say, it’s meaningless. It’s meaningless in the context of the delegate count, it’s meaningless in the context of the individual primaries that are still to be contested, it’s meaningless in every imaginable way. But, as long as people are talking about unfortunate analogies, they’re not talking about an even less fortunate inevitability.
Still, the reaction among the Hiroo Onoda factions of the primary race strikes me as just about 50% too strident — perhaps even as contrived as going to Men’s Warehouse and getting fitted for a suit, only to walk out without buying it as a way of protesting their allegiance with the 99%. After all, it’s not as if what Ferhnstrom was talking about is some wildly radical new approach to presidential politics. In fact, the analogy he drew, for all the uproar it’s caused, sounds vaguely familiar in the context of primary-vs.-general election political analysis (though, admittedly, I can’t recall where I’ve heard it before and don’t feel like searching for an example).
But, more than anything, it’s meaningless because it wasn’t Mitt Romney doing the talking in this instance. It was his longtime political aide talking shop with people who use such analogies everyday as an ineffective way of making political analysis more accessible and less stultifying to an audience made up of people who had an Etch-a-Sketch growing up, and whose lives have since become so bereft of joy that they watch political talk shows for entertainment. Most people aren’t like that; not even Republican primary voters. So, there’s little chance this whole matter is going to generate the level of outrage necessary to destroy Mitt’s hopes.
And those who do happen to glance up from their bowl of Ramen upon hearing the words “Etch-a-Sketch” will do so with a sense of nostalgia only to be confronted with the image of Newt or Santorum disdainfully brandishing the beloved relic of their childhoods and say to themselves, “Who the hell hates Etch-a-Sketch? What kind of monster is this guy?”
And besides, doesn’t all this just amount to yet another rehashing of everything everyone already knows about Mitt Romney, anyway? His entire political career seems to have been premised on the underlying concept of the Etch-a-Sketch? You run for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, say a bunch of crap that puts you to the left of him, go on to lose by a wide margin — shake vigorously, run for Governor. Repeat as needed.
Does waving around the flagship product of the Ohio Art Company really provide the compelling imagery that’s been lacking thus far in the relentless drive to deprive Mitt Romney of the nomination? I mean, people have been following the guy around with dog crates on top of their cars for Pete’s sake. If that hasn’t derailed his candidacy, it’s hard to see how waving around a near-universal symbol of the good old days is going to do the trick.
Why not taunt the audience with delicious servings of apple pie a la mode while you’re at it? It’s akin to railing against Rick Santorum’s views on contraception by holding up babies, or Newt’s obsession with Lean Six Sigma by holding up . . . something. Idunno.
UPDATE: Man. That’s one bad-ass guitar solo.