Political Animal


June 19, 2012 1:19 PM That Big Confidence Fairy in the Sky

By Ed Kilgore

We’re having some fun today with silly media coverage of limited news. Along the lines of Paul Waldman’s explanation that the “WaWa story” reveals something significant about Mitt Romney that MSM coverage largely missed, I have another example: a New York Times piece by Ashley Parker about Mitt Romney’s often clumsy efforts to conduct small talk on the campaign trail. Here’s some Romney chatter that Parker found amusing:

At Mr. Romney’s pancake breakfast stop, more than a thousand people braved the stormy weather, lining up hours in advance with their umbrellas and waterproof trash bags for protection. Thunder clapped periodically, but when Mr. Romney finally took the stage, the rain slowed to a light spit and the sun crested, prompting him to reflect on the improving weather.
“But it looks like the sun is coming out, and I think that’s a metaphor for the country,” he said. “The sun is coming out, guys! Three and a half years of dark clouds are about to part. It’s about to get a little warmer around this country, a little brighter.”

Whatever this passage indicates about Romney’s rhetorical powers, it really is a pretty accurate reflection of his economic message: relentlessly unspecific, focused on framing the election as an up-or-down referendum on how people feel about Life Under Obama, and implicitly offering himself as a non-ideological Mr. Fix-It whose reassuring presence will make the clouds part. Romney does, of course, have a specific economic agenda, much of it encompassed by his endorsement of the Ryan Budget and his various pledges to reflect his party’s hostility to regulation, progressive taxation, workers’ rights and fiscal or monetary stimulus. But what he seems determined to convey is that there’s a great big confidence fairy in the sky who will make the economy boom at the very sight of his rugged visage and fine posture. And while his weather forecast at the pancake breakfast may not truly be a “metaphor for the country,” it’s definitely the metaphor for his campaign message.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on June 19, 2012 1:46 PM:

    Maybe next time, he can sing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie?"

    Nah, he's more like Daddy Warbucks.
    No - THAT was Dick Cheney.

    How about Daddy Bigbucks?

    'Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow,
    You're only a rigged, caged, suppressed, Election DAAAAAAY AAAAWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!"

  • boatboy_srq on June 19, 2012 1:46 PM:

    Wow. This is "Morning in America" rehashed for the folks who didn't catch the three-and-a-half years of cloud seeding God's Own Party did to make it rain all that time.

    Romney really cannot come up with anything original - never mind anything remotely specific.

  • rathmone on June 19, 2012 1:48 PM:

    "Three and a half years of dark clouds are about to part. It’s about to get a little warmer around this country, a little brighter.”

    and, of course, a little whiter.
    dark clouds w/ caucasian linings...

  • Josef K on June 19, 2012 2:01 PM:

    What's next?

    "McMansion On A Hill!"

    "Mr. Obama, tear down this veteran's center!"

    "Message to non-Republicans everywhere: you can run, but you can't hide!"

    "We're not keeping you from voting. We're relieving you of the burden of the ballot!"

  • T2 on June 19, 2012 2:17 PM:

    "dark clouds"....not a particularly adept word choice, Mittens. I guarantee, though, that in some bowling alley bar in Alabama, there's some laughing out loud going on. "hey Billy Bob, d'jew hear what he called 'em.......dark clouds!"

  • boatboy_srq on June 19, 2012 2:29 PM:

    @T2: I'm sure that Mick Jagger is laughing his a## off.

    Romney keeps looking for the New Pale he can go beyond.

  • N.Wells on June 19, 2012 2:34 PM:

    What Romney said was vague to the extreme (and mmisrepresentative in that his sunshine will be designed to fall only on the one-percenters), but I don't see it as clumsy. It seems to me that talking about sunshine and the like is his best way to get run-of-the-mill voters to see him as not scary.

    Still, it leads to an equivalent counter-attack: "We've been through a financial storm, but Romney is planning that he and his rich buddies alone will be at the end of the rainbow."

    That can be rounded out by noting that Romney wanted to let the car companies go bankrupt so that they could be picked apart by vulture capitalists. Failing that, his next suggestion is that he wants to sell off government-owned car company stock as soon as possible, even if the nation takes a loss, meaning that his vulture capitalist buddies will still get their windfall, at the taxpayers' expense.

  • ckelly on June 19, 2012 2:58 PM:

    Well, I'd agree with the "warmer" assessment. What with Global Warming and all doncha know.

  • meady on June 19, 2012 3:12 PM:

    Honestly, I have never understood this style of narrative. John McCain used it when he basically said by virtue of his POW status, he knows how to win the Iraq war. But that information will only become available if he is elected President. If not, well to quote Tommy Freidman "suck on it". It strikes me that Mitt Romney is offering the same bargain. He knows how to get this economy moving again, but only if he's elected President. If not, well blah blah blah. Such patriots we have in the GOP.

  • @the_dan on June 19, 2012 3:22 PM:

    Does the fact that 1,000 people waited in the rain for this pancake breakfast worry anyone besides me?

  • Skip on June 19, 2012 4:07 PM:

    As heavenly rays of divine approval from a Monty Python God beams down down upon this wealthy insenitive fork-tongued man, back in the cave of ARRRRHHHGGGHGHGHGHHhhhh a cute white bunny sits in anticipation of a delicious return on it's campaign contributions.

    the_dan, Real American Patriots always line up in a downpour for free bloviating. Don't you! /snark/

  • umph on June 19, 2012 4:23 PM:


    Does the fact that 1,000 people waited in the rain for this pancake breakfast worry anyone besides me?

    Nope. Did you see where they were?

    Me neither. Puff piece. By those standards, I see nearly 1,000 people a day give or take 900...

  • SecularAnimist on June 19, 2012 4:52 PM:

    Romney said: "It’s about to get a little warmer around this country ..."

    Actually, it is already getting HOT AS HELL around this country, and it is going to get A HELL OF A LOT HOTTER if we keep on burning more and more fossil fuels the way Romney's owners, the Koch Brothers, intend.

  • JR on June 19, 2012 8:23 PM:

    But this is the true WTF???

    "At the breakfast, Mr. Romney introduced two of his sons, Matt and Craig, in a slightly unusual fashion. 'I love them,' Mr. Romney said. 'I love them like they’re my own. And they are! Craig!'"

  • Sara on August 16, 2012 9:03 AM:

    Reminds me of Reagan's campaigns. He was all smiles, all "aww shucks, ain't America great" smiling, then a speech full of jingoistic platitudes, and then some more Hollywood smiling, enthralling the rapture-ready crowds. Behind the grinning was an ideology of resentment, fear, greed,and selfishness that still dominates our politics today. Beware of smiles.

  • Mary Watson on October 18, 2012 7:19 AM:

    "Dark clouds".....??? not exactly for Mr. Obama for sure. People in Mr. Obama's era are not so badly treated that they are gonna see a bright sunshine now. Life under Obama is not that bad. Weather report by former Massachusetts Governor Romney is not really true at all. This media coverage is silly by the way. The view of 3D maps of U.S. is already hot with Sun rays.