The Gertrude Stein Candidacy


What expatriate Gertrude Stein observed about her former home in Oakland strikes one as a quote designed to precisely describe our friend Mitt: “There is no there there.”

His Marie Antoinette moment with Soledad O’Brien has now been dissected more than a biology lab frog, yet however exactly it is parsed it reveals not so much an ethical monster as an ethical cipher, confirming his essence, which ironically is a hollow absence of substance, moral seriousness or depth.

One doubts that prior to Mitten’s infamous utterance anyone believed for a second that Mitt gave a rodent’s derriere about the poor. And even those who have not informed themselves of Mitten’s safety net ripping, middle class decimating proposals likely did not feel warmly assured of his empathy when he said what he really cares about is the American middle-class.

As a voter there’s an inner calm realizing the unlikelihood one ever need be enflamed with passionate approval for anything that Mitt may offer, or that one ever need be consumed with animosity for anything sounding utterly despicable, because his genuine indifference to all of it is the only palpable thing there.  Sure, three-fourths of what he says is a demonstrable lie, but the beauty of him is that even when he’s telling the truth it doesn’t matter even to him.

To forecast what Mitt would do should he actually be elected president one may as well write the individual possibilities down onto pieces of paper and toss them in the air, then ascribe the order one picks them up in to the order of his priorities in office. Maybe he’d be Hitler, maybe he’d be Gandhi, maybe he’d be Saul Alinsky…who the hell knows? He has literally embraced every side of every single issue, so one could make a case anything and everything is possible. Maybe he’s got some more Obamney Care in him.

Perhaps nothing better exemplifies the singular obliviousness of this strange, prefabricated man than his woeful chiding of the current president for allowing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq as agreed upon by President Bush to proceed as planned. He never articulated any reason why we should be hanging around, or any actual policy pertaining to Iraq. The constituency for a longer stay in Iraq is John McCain, Lindsey Graham…and, well, email with any other names. His pitches are so disassociated they sometimes do not represent anybody in the electorate at all. Give him credit for nailing down that “forever in Iraq” vote, though.

Oddly, in much of the Republican fields’ blitzkrieg of outlandish quotes from its initial crew of candidates there had been real menace, genuine bitterness, actual hatred, the kind of resentment that animates the rank and file reactionary. Behind the lies and the alternate reality fantasies  of Newt, Michele and Rick is true ill will for enormous segments of the American population, believable blood lust to string somebody up in the pursuit of a more crude and primitive United States.

Some have reacted to Romney’s remark about the poor as the Republican id revealed, which it is, only without Romney in all likelihood, no id there either far as I can tell. To push the Gertrude Stein shtick just a little farther, Mitt’s version of automatic writing reveals rather than a stream of consciousness pregnant with meaningful internal narratives, a set of prerecorded talking points.

I have to think Gertrude Stein would appreciate his Fireside Chats without the fireplace.


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