It’s hard to put into words how awful that leaked video was for Mitt Romney. Those comments could have been made in any other context and his poll numbers wouldn’t be dropping as severely as they are now; it had to be a $50,000-a-plate dinner with old cronies and it had to be a secret recording. Instead of just a poor choice of words recorded by someone in attendance, that ‘hidden camera’ aspect paints on a coat of awkward that Willard absolutely cannot shed. It wasn’t a Rick Perry stammerfest (explained by caving under the spotlight) and it wasn’t a classic Howard Dean ‘BYAW!’ moment of overexcitement. No, this was the painfully tone-deaf Mitt we suspected existed, but didn’t come to terms with out of the benefit of the doubt. You sit him down in his natural habitat and this is what you get. Even the most gregarious of politicians couldn’t say their ‘natural habitat’ is a televised event watched by millions. It’s an inherently uncomfortable setting. The benefit of the doubt here, however, is nil.
So where to, Mitt? You’re driving the Rolls even if you step out of a Pinto. The perception can’t change now, and so you must adapt. Allow a recent state school graduate from Colorado who’s living in China to light the path. You might actually gain a global and middle-class perspective for once.
Option One: Shut That Motherfucker Down
Let’s be honest. This campaign is no longer about you. You’re fucked six ways to Sunday. But the Great White Hope, Paul Ryan, beside you can win an election, so long as you separate yourself from yourself as fast as possible. Guess what doesn’t help young Paul’s chances? Having to tread a razon-thin line of problem recognition and accepting defeat with lines like ‘obviously inarticulate’. You’re clearly not going to apologize for insulting 141 million people and he either has to bow out of the VP spot or pretend like you didn’t just talk about half of America in the manner Mr. Bumble treated Oliver Twist. If you believe in Paul Ryan at all, sew a zipper to your mouth, throw away the key, and walk away from politics forever, figuratively speaking.
Option Two: Literally Sew a Zipper to Your Mouth
This will also work.
Option Three: Embrace It
Openly sponsor your campaign with Big Oil and Banking Firms. Wear nine hundred grand worth of jewelry and watches to public events. You’ve got Fox News at your disposal. They can spin your skid into a story about how you’re just pro-prosperity and that it’s about time someone mended the partnership between the government and corporations. And who knows? Maybe in the process of a fishtail, your Bentley can wipe out some Democratic bystanders. A non-voter doesn’t have to be alive. Which leads us to…
Option Four: Go Tracy Jordan on Them
Watch the 30 Rock scene where Tracy is shocked into incoherence via a toaster and encounters Richard Nixon, who tells him to use his voice for political inefficacy. You don’t want to get people to the polls. You want them to treat polling booths like they were all in Contagion. Get out the non-vote, even if it takes every celebrity your slimy money can muster.
Option Five: Partner with Bill Gates and His Pledge
If you really think you can still win, commit all your resources (read: money) to the cause. The notion you need to dispel is that, in Romney’s mind, the populace is comprised of freeloading, parasitic America-cancers and that world poverty is the net result of pussy whiners. Start giving and give a lot. How much? Until your children actually have to send out job applications. You’re going to have to spend so much that Paul Krugman writes an article about the effect of your Money Gusher on International Inflation. Since you’re unlikely to delve that deep into philanthropy, may I refer you to Option One again?
Option Six aka Future Reality: Deny The Video Exists
Green-screen, CGI, voice actors, overdubbing, the whole shebang. This is a conspiracy against a hard-working son of a Governor/CEO who just wanted his fair shake in life. You’ve successfully denied that your tax returns exist. You’ve successfully denied RomneyCare. You’ve denied it all. You were made for this. This is what you were born for. It’s like when a little tyke grows up to beat his first perjury and embezzlement rap. Come on, take the gloves off and book it in the other direction.
Option Seven: Nope
“Mr. Romney, care to comment on racial inequality in America? The economic divide? Foreign affairs? The security at the London Olympics? Iran constituting an entire nation of terrorism? Your elaborately detailed plan for blowing up the city of Chicago? Deep-seated beliefs about valuable European allies? Employment opportunities for the Infamous Forty-Seven Percent? Using your father’s ethnicity as a not-at-all-kidding-punchline? Referring to your wife as an honest-to-god political prop?”
“Good evening. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And Nope. Thanks for your time.”
Hang on to the support you have left, take the eleven or twelve percent gap between you and Obama, and hope for a miracle in November.