In her Wall Street Journal column Friday morning, preeminent conservative self-satirist Peggy Noonan suggested that Mitt Romney needs to use humor to make his case. “Wit breaks through and sharpens all points,” Noonan wrote in her column Friday. “Another is that it is natural to him.”
Humor is natural to Mitt Romney?
Whether it’s dressing up in a police uniform, joking about layoffs or even cutting off a boy’s hair because it was too long to suit society’s conventions, Mitt Romney’s definition of humor makes as much sense to most Americans as this hawkish pro-Vietnam War protester spending the Vietnam War in a palace in France.
Just hours after Noonan’s column appeared Mitt Romney made what he later called a “joke.” Appearing at a rally in Commerce, Michigan, the soon-to-be GOP nominee said, “Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know this is the place where we were born and raised!”
On Sunday morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reiterated that the this was Romney’s attempt to add some “levity” to the campaign.
Republicans are laughing the way that people in power tend to laugh – at other people. It’s the opposite of humor. It’s meant to demean and degrade. It’s the mark of a bully.
Since the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, there have been two distinct efforts to delegitimize his presidency. The Republican establishment organized the first. A group of congressional Republicans, including Romney’s choice to be his running mate Paul Ryan, met with Newt Gingrich and GOP message guru Frank Luntz to formulate a policy of complete opposition to everything this president proposed. The party of Nero was basically embracing a policy to reject any fire fighting or rebuilding. The philosophy was: if we act as if we’re the minority, we’ll stay the minority. So just reject everything
While despicable, this bullying did not differ much from the policy Bill Kristol famously suggested for fighting health care reform early in Bill Clinton’s administration: “Simple criticism is insufficient,” Kristol wrote in 1993. No compromise would be tolerated; instead he advised “an aggressive and uncompromising counterstrategy designed to delegitimize the proposal and defeat its partisan purpose.”