Romney and those ‘humorous’ layoffs


There will probably come a day when Mitt Romney will find a treatment to stop being so tone deaf, and will figure out a way to talk to humans in a way that demonstrates some degree of empathy.

Today, however, is not that day.

The likely Republican presidential nominee talked to Wisconsin voters via a “telephone town hall” yesterday, and after applauding Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) far-right labor policies and endorsing Paul Ryan’s radical House budget plan, Romney, unprompted, decided to share an anecdote he described as “humorous.” Rachel aired the entirety of Romney’s “joke” on the show last night.

For those who missed the episode and can’t watch clips online, the gist of the story is that Romney’s father shut down an auto factory in Michigan, and moved production to Wisconsin. The “humorous” part came later, when George Romney’s political strategists didn’t want a marching band playing “On, Wisconsin” during a Michigan gubernatorial campaign because it might remind voters of the closed factory.

Because nothing’s funnier than joking about shutting down production at a Michigan auto plant and laying off its workers.

I can appreciate why, after a while, coverage of Romney’s tin ear when it comes to wealth and working people may seem excessive, and I suspect it will wane just as soon as he stops saying dumb things in public.

For those keeping score at home, this is the same Republican presidential candidate who boasts about his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs,” says he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” and says making over $374,000 in speaking fees in a year is “not very much” money. All of those examples followed Romney suggesting elected office is only for the rich, clumsily talking about his fondness for being able to fire people, demanding that talk of economic justice be limited to “quiet rooms,” accusing those who care about income inequality of “envy,” daring Rick Perry to accept a $10,000 bet, and suggesting that Americans should somehow feel sorry for poor banks.

Ordinarily in political campaigns, candidates are advised not to be overly scripted, because voters like candidates who speak their mind. Romney appears to be one of those rare candidates for whom this advice does not apply.

Mitt Romney

Romney and those 'humorous' layoffs