I’ll admit it: I did not think Mitt Romney was going to be a funny candidate for president. In a primary season that gave us Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it was hard to see Romney as anything but the wealthy dowager who hires the Stooges to move her piano. How wrong I was. Fresh from his passive-aggressive tour of London, Romney went to Israel to praise the beautiful per capita income—so much nicer than what you get in Palestine. He attributed this discrepancy to “the power of culture and at least a few other things,” presumably making a praying-exploding gesture with his hands, before adding that it might also be “providence.” He was a hit in Poland.
This week, casino magnate Sheldon Anderson gave $10 million to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future. We could talk for a long time about how weird and creepy the name “Restore Our Future” is, but that’s time we could better spend returning our anticipation of the years to come to conformity with our previous expectations. That’s what Adelson is doing. So far, he’s given $35 million to Republican Super PACs this election, and he says he’s prepared to spend as much as $100 million. Twenty million already went to Newt Gingrich, who failed in his bid to become the nation’s first homunculus president. Now Adelson must settle for Romney, who is like the body without the homunculus inside.
During a flashback in the episode of The Simpsons where Homer and Grandpa enjoy brief success selling a homemade aphrodisiac, child Homer says he hopes to someday be President. “Son,” his father says, “this is the greatest country in the world. They’ve got a whole system to prevent people like you from becoming President.” We are now in the first presidential election year since Citizens United v. FEC, and the richest man ever to run for that office has been goaded into releasing his tax returns. In 2010, Mitt Romney received an adjusted gross income of $26 million—approximately 500 times what I made. He paid a federal income tax rate of 13.9%, around four points lower than what I paid. In Romney’s defense, almost all of his income came from investments and his inheritance, whereas my income came from wage work, which is taxed at a higher rate. In my defense, fuck Mitt Romney and the federal corporatocracy he hopes to captain.
The Gingrich campaign is giddy like it’s new staffer day on the news that Sheldon Adelson has given them five million dollars. Of course, Adelson didn’t give it directly to Gingrich; that would violate federal campaign finance laws one thousand times in a row. The billionaire casino magnate and Chinese bribery defendant gave $5 million to the Winning Our Future Super PAC, which is of course not controlled by the Gingrich campaign in compliance with US law. As of yesterday, Winning Our Future had bought $3.4 million worth of advertising time in South Carolina. Presumably, the ads will urge each voter to read about the candidates and make a list of which leadership qualities he or she considers most important. Or they’ll call Mitt Romney a pussy.