Political Asylum — September 26, 2012, 3:31 pm

The Literary Art of W. Mitt Romney

Some have begun to detect a literary current in Mitt Romney’s seemingly mindless ramblings—a stream-of-consciousness that reflects, perhaps, the romantic wistfulness of the middle-aged man facing his own mortality. Or maybe that’s just me, being a middle-aged man and everything; my co-blogger Jack, for his part, tends to think of Romney’s gaffes as perfect near-haikus:

Look at those clouds.
It’s beautiful.
Look at those things.
I love being in Michigan.
The trees are the right height.
The grass is the right color for this time of year,
Kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing.

Profound, no? But I don’t think taking them on their own gives Romney enough credit for his Harvard education—I believe each of his gaffes is actually a subtle allusion to either great literature or our popular culture. To wit:

The Love Song of W. Mitt Romney

“Ha, ha. We’re in the stretch, aren’t we? Look at those clouds. It’s beautiful. Look at those things.”

Let us go then, you and I,
While the clouds are stretched across the sky,
Like my campaign etherised upon a table.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of time in Mexico . . .

Stopping by Mitt On a Snowy Evening

“I love being in Michigan. Everything seems right here…the trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing. It just feels right.”

Whose woods these are I do not know,
Their height is just the bestest, though.
He must be a Michigander
To make me prattle and meander.

Major Rom

“When you have a fire in an aircraft there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no— and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.”

This is Major Rom to ground control, I’m squeezing out the window,
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way . . .
Ground control to Major Rom, your circuit’s dead, is something wrong?
Can you hear me, Major Rom?
Did you roll the window down?
Are you insane, Major Rom?
You’re an idjit, Major Rom . . .

The Great Romney

“Property up there is, I’m sure, very expensive. And we got to her driveway—it was at least a mile long, up and up, it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, how in the world?’ And then we came to the home, and it was like San Simeon, you know, the Hearst castle. It was this beautiful home with gardens, manicured gardens, and a pool and a topiary and so forth.”

He had come a long way to this topiary and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city—in Ohio, or Virginia, or Florida—where the dark math of the electoral college rolled on into the election night. Romney believed in the green bills, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. The White House eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will race more money, win over more of the 47 percent . . . and one fine morning—

So we idle on, Cadillacs stuck in a car elevator, borne ceaselessly back down to the roundabout.

September Song

“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us. But the more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. And so, we have done what’s legally required. And there’s going to be no more tax returns given.”—Ann Romney

Now I have a little money,
And I have a little fame,
And I haven’t got time
For the waiting game—
How much money are we talking?
Well it’s quite a little bit.
Can you give a ballpark figure?
Now I think you’ve asked enough.
I mean a whole big lot of money?
I’ve said all that I’m required.
Are we talking ’bout a million?
Now you’re really getting pushy—
How much more than a million?
I’m tired of this attack.
Could it be a billion dollars?
No, it’s not as much as that.
Half a billion dollars?
We’ll say a quarter-billion
     and we’ll leave it just at that.
How can we know that’s true?
I told you no more questions
     and that’s all I’m gonna do.
But your father told us everything—
Well he didn’t have what I do!
And the days dwindle down to a precious few,
November . . .
Single Page

More from Kevin Baker:

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