WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 — The latest flap-a-doodle of Etch-A-Sketch and Mitt Romney reveals just how shallow the GOP primary race has become. In case you’ve been asleep and just woke up, wondering what all the noise is about, here it is in a nutshell:
One of Romney’s trusted advisers, a man on the inside circle of the campaign, Eric Fehrnstrom, was asked on CNN about Romney shifting back from the Right to the center after the primaries are over.
Fehrnstrom said, “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
This incited the media, such as the likes of the Wall Street Journal, to begin tsk-tsking, “The remark puts in stark relief exactly what most Republicans fear about Mr. Romney’s political convictions, or lack thereof.”
It even inspired Rick Santorum to wave around an Etch A Sketch like he had just found the smoking gun, uttering such historical nonsense as: “Imagine, had Mitt Romney been around at the time we were drafting our Constitution,” he said.
“He would just shake it and just shook it up after it was approved to rewrite it. We’re talking about big things here folks, this isn’t a joke or a game. We’re talking about important things in our society. Freedom is not something that you go out and give nice lofty highbrow speeches about and then turn around the next day and say no, when we have to go out and work in a general election, I’ll go back to my government control approach.”
And his campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart dashed to the nearest Toys R Us to buy 20 Etch A Sketchs to hand out at a Maryland town hall for Romney, making sure the media got theirs too. Certainly would give them something to do while listening to Santorum drone on about the evils of contraception.
Of course, Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist flashing his Etch A Sketch, saying, “You could not have found a more perfect illustration of why people distrust Romney than to have his (adviser) say that the Etch A Sketch allows you to erase everything in the general election,” Gingrich said Wednesday. “This highlights for everybody why we distrust Romney, I think he couldn’t have done a better job.”
Mercifully, Ron Paul has so far been silent on this earth-shattering event, obviously having more serious things to do with his time than play with his Etch A Sketch.
So what exactly is Mitt’s crime that it has provoked such over the top reactions? His advistor admitted what is necessary for all serious candidates to do after a primary is over, especially one as divisive as this one. The campaign then goes back to the drawing board, revamps, and then the nominee runs to the middle. If a candidate doesn’t run to the middle, he will not win. It’s as simple as that for a very obvious reason, that’s where the voters are.
They are not sitting out on the fringe with the Rick and Newts of this world. GOP primary voters are not the real world, no matter how much chest thumping they do. And by chasing the moderates off stage, the Right Wing is about to crash and burn the Grand Old Party.
Of course, Mitt had to do some damage control now that everyone, including gleeful Democrats, had a Romney prop to hold up. So he came out with this:
“The issues I’m running on will be exactly the same,” said Romney. “I’m running as a conservative Republican, I was a conservative Republican governor, I’ll be running as a conservative Republican nominee, excuse me, at that point hopefully, nominee for president. The policies and positions are the same.”
All of this is good news for Etch A Sketch. By the end of the day on Wednesday, the little Ohio company had become Amazon’s big surprise as people gobbled up the childhood favorite. Plus the phone has been ringing off the hook as the media floods its lines, asking for comments on the “Mitt gaffe.”
Etch a Sketch’s marketing director, Martin Killgallon was very savvy, pointing out that the toy had two knobs, one on the right and one on the left and saying the company would stick to the business it knows best and would stay out of the business of politics.
Would it be too much to ask if the candidates could just stick to the business of politics and discuss the issues before the American people such as the economy, Iran, Afghanistan, health care reform, and Paul Ryan’s recipe for disaster, his latest budget plan. Ahhh, but it is so much easier to wave around an Etch A Sketch and call it politics.
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