[ Click above to embiggen: screengrab of how SNL depicted Willard “Mittens” Romney on last night’s “cold open” for the show hosted by Daniel Radcliffe on January 14th, 2012 ]
The biggest mistake that conservatives make — almost every single day — is pretending the entertainment industry doesn’t exist or is “irrelevant”.
80% of the American public gets its “news” from the entertainment industry. While shows like Saturday Night Live are largely unfunny, the skits — no matter how lame — they air every week are repeated at the water coolers on Monday morning and inform a crushingly depressing amount of people what they must think and parrot in the week ahead.
When I used to work at a consulting firm here in Chicago, I would see this happen time after time. In the little kitchenette/coffee area, groups of people would gather and someone who’d seen the latest Saturday Night Live would replay a political sketch mocking a Republican…and all the other office workers would laugh and laugh. Later in the day, some of the younger guys would compete with each other to see who could either repeat the sketch best or make the biggest ass of himself taking the sketch to a ridiculous new level. Being largely unoriginal tools, these guys would invariably beat the sketch to death during the work week…so by that Friday, six days after Saturday Night Live aired, everyone in the office had the whole thing memorized. If someone at work didn’t know who Mitt Romney was or didn’t have a negative impression of him to begin with — they sure would after hearing about that SNL sketch for a full week and seeing the ad hoc comedy stylings of their fellow cubicle dwellers.
Republicans earn the brand “The Party of Stupid” for not realizing just how easily the Left will obliterate Willard “Mittens” “I Love to Fire People” Romneycare in a general election with Barack Obama. Romney is the least electable candidate in contention for the Republican nomination, despite the Cocktail Party GOP establishment aggressively pushing him for the nomination.
If you watched Saturday Night Live last night, you’d have seen the “cold open” bit with Romney awkwardly seated in a diner talking about how much he loves firing people.
There are already two things that SNL has decided to hammer home about Romney to alienate him from voters who get their news and form their political opinions from entertainment programs:
1. Romney is weird and off-putting
2. Romney loves firing people and would fire you if he could
This is the part where conservatives cover their heads and scurry into little holes where they choose the world that “should be” instead of the one that actually exists — but no matter how much you close your eyes and shout “But that’s not true!” you are not going to stop this meme from being hammered during the general election.
The reality is this: Saturday Night Live is working to re-elect Barack Obama. While it’s not a funny show, it’s a very influential program if for no other reason than it consistently provides young men in the 20-40 age bracket with material to take to their places of work and influence their co-workers politically so that they will also either vote for Barack Obama or not vote at all in the general election that’s approaching.
Though it’s true that SNL will malign the Republican nominee whoever that person ends up being, in this particular election — when unemployment and personal hardship are the two biggest issues weighing on most people’s minds — it is beyond foolish to push Mitt Romney towards the nomination when he is so easy to turn into a caricature of an out of touch weirdo who loves firing people.
Do not pretend that this does not matter, and do not try to cite polls you see saying that “But, but, but…Romney’s ahead in such and such poll against Obama!”. At this point in 1980, Jimmy Carter was trouncing Ronald Reagan in polls…and you know what happened ten months later. Polling for the general election will not be relevant until after the Republican nominee is actually selected and the Left has begun a one-on-one narrative of Obama versus his official opponent.
Barack Obama’s re-election strategy is comprised of “Occupy & Persecute”, replacing 2008’s “Hope & Change”. The “Occupy” part involves class warfare led by the Occupy Wall Street crowd (the Occupoopers) aimed at depicting Mitt Romney as the man who fired all those people at Bain Capital (a company with not only an evil-sounding name, but one whose name is similar to the character “Bane” that just happens to be the main villain in the Batman movie that’s being released this coming July…and features a Catwoman played by Ann Hathaway who was scripted to spout Occupy Wall Street rhetoric). The “Persecute” party involves painting Romney as weird and alien and mocking him as a Mormon to rev up hatred coast to coast for Mormons in general (so that people will be distracted from Obama’s massive failures).
The Cocktail Party GOP establishment wants to pretend none of this is happening. The “Not-Romney” candidates in the nomination race scoring lower than 10% in primaries keep refusing to drop out so that the “Not-Romney” vote doesn’t coalesce behind one “Not-Romney”…with the net effect being that Romney will squeak to a win should this continue, when 75% of the Republican Party does not want him to become the nominee.
I’ll tell you right now who DOES want Romney to win the nomination: Barack Obama.
Take a look at what his friends over at Saturday Night Live served up for Romney in that diner sketch. You are going to see this replayed over and over again. You will also, most likely, hear some young Lefty jackass where you work do an impression of this sketch all next week.
For those who don’t want to watch it for themselves, I think this is so important to understand that I’ve done a transcript for you:
Bill Heder is dressed up as Mitt Romney, acting uncomfortable sitting in a booth at a diner. He’s behaving the way the actor who portrayed John Kerry back in 2004 carried himself: alien to most people, he’s a rich man slumming amongst the commoners and speaking in odd, off-putting, and stilted phrases.
ROMNEY: Hello. Hello. I’m Mitt Romney and I’m speaking to you from Jim Bob’s Kitchen, a really fantastic diner outside Aiken, South Carolina. As I said, it’s a really fantastic place, it really is. And I enjoy it very much. It’s super. I’m down here to bring my presidential campaign down here to the people of this great state. They definitely connect with me on a human level. And they don’t find me weird at all. (Laugh from audience)
ROMNEY: Say, did everyone see that Broncos Steelers game last Sunday? (He’s talking in a very stilted way, like a robot) Wasn’t that something? And how about the way that Tim Tebow was slinging the pigskin down the field? (Note: watch the wording that’s written for Romney…a lot of old-timey words and archaic phrasings that make it seem like he was sealed up in Foreverware and only recently opened and re-animated. The point SNL makes is that Romney is odd and alien and not “one of us”).
ROMNEY: I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the Broncos give my beloved Patriots quite a run for their money on the gridiron tomorrow. (Note: they actually missed a chance for a great joke here…instead of saying dollars to donuts, I’d have written it as “I’ll bet you $10,000 the Broncos give my beloved Patriots…” to capitalize on Romney’s disastrous “$10,000 bet” gaffe in one of the last few debates).
ROMNEY: Let me tell you, I’ll be watching that game along with my five human sons. (Big audience laugh) And my expectation is that I will enjoy it very very much. What’s that? It’s being played tonight? Well, that’s wonderful news. The fact is the whole family and I love to watch sporting events on television of a weekend, so normal are we. (Huge audience laughter — SNL is building the meme that the Romneys are alien, not like regular people, and must be mocked).
ROMNEY: I’ll tell you this, it sure beats doing Saturday chores all hallow, that’s for sure. (Note: see that archaic, old-timey parlance again? While he’s saying this, the actor makes old-timey facial expressions like you’d see men do in black and white movies or on re-runs of Father Knows Best). Of course, I’m kidding. We have people for that. (Another big laugh — a joke about Romney having servants, which also makes him alien to most people struggling in this economy).
ROMNEY: Well, a few days ago we had another great result in New Hampshire. And of course we enjoyed that very much as well. Unfortunately though, that victory was clouded by a bit of a kerfuffle over a remark I made the day before. I was speaking to a crowd about the importance of being able to choose your insurance policy and I simply said that when a service provider isn’t doing the job, you have to make a change. Adding that I like to be able to fire people. Well now, I think the audience understood what I was saying.
ROMNEY: It’s like when you’ve been raking leaves out in the yard and your tee shirt is a little clammy. You go inside and fire it. Replacing it with a dry tee shirt or no tee shirt at all, it’s like that. Of course, some of my opponents immediately pounced on that remark and tried to relate it to my work at Bain Capital. At Bain, we specialized in acquiring failing companies. Sometimes this did involve individuals being “fired” (he demurely puts this in air quotes). That is, in the sense of them losing their jobs. But, that is the exception and not the rule.
— Waitress enters and says “hi!” —
ROMNEY: Well, hello there, I’m Mitt Romney. (shakes her hand)
WAITRESS: I’m Becky.
ROMNEY: Hi Becky. I’m really enjoying meeting you. How old are you? Wait, no, let me guess…31.
WAITRESS: I’m 19.
ROMNEY: Close enough.
WAITRESS: What can I get for you?
ROMNEY: Well, I’d like two eggs.
WAITRESS: How do you want them?
ROMNEY: Yah, you know…laid-off.
WAITRESS: You mean over easy?
ROMNEY: Bingo! Say, what does that come with?
ROMNEY: No, no bacon. Alright, let’s throw the bacon out of work, and, uh, can I replace it with sausage? And can I replace the bacon for the sausage and pay half the price for the sausage that I would have paid for the bacon?
WAITRESS: It’s the same amount.
ROMNEY: Well, I just thought I’d ask.
WAITRESS: It also comes with toast.
ROMNEY: I don’t care for toast, so I’d like to see the toast lose its job. Without notice if possible. Can I have an English muffin instead? Oh, okay, okay, good. But, can the English muffin be hired on a temporary basis — meaning that if I’m not hungry enough to eat it I don’t have to pay?
WAITRESS: Sure. Coffee?
ROMNEY: Uh, no coffee. I’d like some orange juice. Is it freshly strangled?
WAITRESS: You mean “fresh-squeezed”?
ROMNEY: Yah, “fresh-squeezed” as you call it, uh-huh.
WAITRESS: Um, anything else?
ROMNEY: No, I’m fine…BECKY (and he points at her, proud that he remembered her name).
— Waitress walks away —
ROMNEY: Yah, she’s a nice girl. I’d like to be able to fire her. Well, I’ve enjoyed this time we spent together and I think you’ll agree that I’ve come across as genuine and warm. Thank you and live from New York it’s…SATURDAY NIGHT.
NOTE: There was a little inside-dig at Romney in this that you might not have caught. It has to do with him getting Becky’s name correct in the script. Apparently, this is a personal foible of Romney’s…he doesn’t learn people’s names and is terrible at events where he has to work a crowd. He much prefers to be on the dais speaking and is not interested in glad-handing people or making them feel like they matter.
Politicians who are really great at what they do — and from personal experience I can cite Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in this category — make you feel like they are actually listening to you when you meet them. For just that one moment when you are in front of them and get to shake their hand and speak with them, they make it seem like there is no one else in the room but you and they repeat your name a few times in the most natural way possible as if they have known you for years. They seem real and genuine when they do this.
By all accounts, Romney does not do this and behaves very patrician in a crowd. He’ll refer to you as “buddy” or “tiger” or “chief” if you are male…and women are called “darling” or “young lady” or “sweetheart” (if it’s an older woman).
Romney does not listen for or use names when speaking to people…and that’s lampooned in the skit where he makes a huge production of saying BECKY! to the waitress.
UPDATE: Later in the show, during the “Weekend Update” segment, SNL took a shot at Mormons.
The reason this will be so effective is how prickly Mormons get when they are talked about in public by non-Mormons. Every day, I get emails from people angry with me for using the word “Mormons”, when they’ll explain in often very contentious and aggressive terms that they are “members of the Church of Latter Day Saints” and will then go on for several paragraphs about how terrible I am for using the word “Mormon”.
The fact is, the Left is not going to use “Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints”. The agenda-driven media is going to say Mormon, Mormon, Mormon and then follow that up with a chaser of “magic underwear”, “polygamy”, and “Mormonism is a cult”.
It doesn’t matter that these things upset you — pretending this is not going to happen if Romney is the nominee is just plain stupid.
Saturday Night Live will create brand new characters (dressed in “magic underwear” no doubt) who will mock Mormons every week between the Republican nominating convention and the November 6th general election. Unfunny and often mean-spirited Seth Meyers will gleefully use Weekend Update to make the majority of Americans think Mormons are crazed, alien, cultists.
By the time of the election, Muslims will seem more all-American and lovable than Mormons.
This is what is coming.
No, it’s not right that this will happen.
But pretending this is not the entertainment industry’s agenda is just plain stupid.
Getting angry at the people who are warning you this is going to happen and being prickly about being called “Mormon” is foolish when you should be using your time and energy to develop a concrete strategy for how Mormons at large are going to hit back at Saturday Night Live specifically when the sustained attacks on Mormonism ratchet up after Romney is anointed the Republican nominee.
© 2012, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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