My, how the tables have turned. Ezra Shapiro’s blog post about Romney’s apparent “wood” problem is another example in a long and distinguished line of political diatribes from both the left and the right characterizing opposing presidential candidates as inhuman, un-American, or just different from the average citizen.
And while allusions to childhood Disney films like “Pinocchio” may serve as useful rhetoric to the uneducated or the strong partisan voter, what it really tells us is the ineptitude of its origin. And if you think calling Romney a wooden boy is actually an original thought, do you even remember John Kerry?
Reagan is too old. Al Gore is a robot. George W. Bush is dumb. McCain is too jaded (no one dared to publicly make fun of him for his inability to move his arms over his head because of the years spent as POW in Vietnam). Obama is too much like Spock. We’ve heard these comparisons over and over again. And as the late polemicist Christopher Hitchens said regarding the liberal media portrayal of George W. Bush’s perceived lack of intelligence, “this is now the joke that stupid people laugh at.”
Designed by stupid people to be consumed by stupid people, that is what these simplifications boil down to. And while these political caricatures are simple enough to be consumed, they are in no way productive, accurate, or contribute to an enlightened society.
You see, critics like Mr. Shapiro really have nothing positive to say about our current President. 8.3 percent unemployment? “It’s not his fault!” Five trillion dollars added to the national debt? “Also not his fault.” Neglecting the Bowles-Simpson report? “We can take care of that later.” Signing the NDAA? “Who needs due process?” Ignoring the Green Revolution in Iran? “But he killed Osama!”
Any sensible politico would tell you that Obama has been a center-left moderate where it counted domestically and a coward when it mattered in the international arena. Thus we are left with the absurd and dehumanizing characterizations of the opposition. And if you want to talk about lies, I am confident you can rest peacefully knowing that there will be plenty of lies and half-truths to be had on both sides once this election is over.
Criticism of Romney’s supposed inability to connect to the common man is maybe just a notch above the Obama birth certificate affair when it comes to absurdities. Romney is a successful business man, a faithful Mormon, has five kids, a wife with breast cancer and MS, all while serving as a volunteer clergyman in the Boston area. And as an ex-Mormon myself with four siblings, a mother and a loving father who was heavily involved in the church and a relatively successful businessman, I will tell you right now that I do connect with Romney.
Obama was born in Hawaii, went to prep schools for most of his youth, attended Columbia University, went to Harvard Law School just like Romney, taught constitutional law at University of Chicago, and was elected a U.S. Senator from Illinois. And this is a somehow more relatable than the life of Mitt Romney? Give me a break.
Aaron Ricks is a senior majoring in political science and was formerly the editor-in-chief of the Binghamton Review. He hates Pipe Dream.