Believe it or not, you can still buy a George W. Bush “Elite Force Aviator” 12-inch action figure—to commemorate his 2003 aircraft carrier “Mission Accomplished” photo op prematurely celebrating victory over Iraq. Amazon.com offers them for $74.99, plus shipping and handling.
As Republican fetishes go, nothing will ever top it.
So let’s say you wanted to market a Mitt Romney action figure to enhance the GOP candidate’s chances among voters who play with dolls. How would you dress the thing? There appear to be several possibilities, none very flattering.
No warrior poses, of course, because Romney sat out Vietnam as a Mormon missionary in Paris, where he learned to speak French but converted not a soul. Now he’s keen for war with Iran, about which one thing’s certain: no son or grandson of his will serve.
A Governor Mitt doll could only resemble a statue of the Roman god Janus, usually depicted with two faces symbolizing his ability to see the past and the future. In Romney’s case, both faces would signify extremely flexible convictions. As Massachusetts governor, Mitt was all for government-imposed health insurance mandates; now he’s categorically opposed.
It’s been fascinating watching the candidate explain how money paid to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in lieu of buying health insurance is a “penalty,” while money shelled out to the IRS under identical circumstances constitutes a “tax.”
Who does he think he’s fooling? Back in 2009, when Romney wrote a USA Today column urging President Obama to adopt a health care mandate, he called it a “tax penalty.” You provide proof of health insurance or you pay a penalty. How hard is that?
To be fair, Obama’s been similarly evasive. To be even fairer, the Massachusetts tax penalty is much higher than “Obamacare’s”—half the cost of a yearly health insurance premium, assessed on state income taxes.
Observing this ludicrous spectacle, former Bush speechwriter Matt Larimer predicts that Romney can’t help but be “haunted throughout the campaign by unforced errors to explain his various shifts: the weak evasions to questions, the odd explanations, the bizarrely unnecessary misstatements.”