October 19, 2012

Why Romney Made Fun of Obama Last Night

So last night I stumbled upon this weird thing on TV which I guess is actually a long-standing political tradition, wherein both presidential candidates attend a fundraising dinner in New York and pretend to be funny. Like, they have comedians write their speeches and everything, to present to a bunch of incredibly wealthy Catholics at an absurdly fancy dinner. As you can imagine, it's mostly just sort of awkward and deeply uncomfortable for all parties involved, and Romney did nothing to make it less weird; most of his jokes were about President Obama, whereas most of President Obama's jokes... were also about President Obama.

Melissa McEwen thinks this is because Romney is a terrible person, and I'm certainly not going to argue that point, but I was also wondering if it might have something to do with the fact that the Democrats are far and away better at branding their party and their candidate. In 2008 Obama's "hope and change" thing was endless fodder for comedians, and a lot of his jokes last night referenced parts of his stump speech as well. He's got a pretty solid public image as kind of the sober statesman, which he referenced. He's got a nifty logo and a nice one-word slogan.

Romney, on the other hand, has a boring logo, a slogan that I can never remember, and keeps referencing this 5-point plan thing that no one seems to have heard of. He doesn't have a consistent public image other than "rich guy" - is he the centrist former governor of Massachusetts, or the Super Businessman, or just kind of a confused flip-flopping out-of-touch jerk? He doesn't really tell compelling personal stories the way Obama does, and his surrogates are all over the place. So there's not, like, concrete, recognizable things about him that make for funny jokes without being actually sort of damaging?

This is my theory, anyway. Also, Mitt Romney might just be a jerk.

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