Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Actually, what he really meant to say was that he likes to set hobos on fire

There are jokes that some people shouldn’t tell, because of who they are. This is why Twitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” line is a problem, despite being basically taken out of context.

For example, George Bush once made a “there’s arsenic in your water glass” joke, ripped off from the movie Erin Brockavitch, evidently not realizing that that gag works when told by someone trying to take dangerous chemicals out of drinking water, like Julia Roberts in the movie, but not from someone who reduced standards on arsenic in drinking water.

In the same way, “I like to fire people” does not sound good when told by someone who has fired thousands of people to audiences that include people who have been on the wrong side of the desk when being fired by someone who looked very much like Mitt Romney and who they strongly suspected was not wearing any pants under that desk, because he really, really liked to fire people, if you know what I mean.

Another problematic Romney line, from one of the weekend debates, “I was happy that [Ted Kennedy] had to take a mortgage out on his house to ultimately defeat me.” It wasn’t just that he was bragging about using his candidacy as an economic weapon, combined with the story about the advice from his father that only rich people should run for office (which seems odder the more I think about it: why would George Romney say that to Mitt, who inherited so much money that he would always be rich, absent a George Bushian level of business incompetence?), it was the assumption that it is always money that wins elections (had to take out a mortgage to ultimately defeat me). How insulting is that to the voters of Massachusetts?

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