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    Romney mocks Newt on Letterman, really

    Romney mocks Newt on Letterman, really

    Why do Republican politicians go on Letterman?  I know it’s good exposure, but it’s exposure that always comes with a price.

    Letterman always makes the Republican look bad and weak.  I said it when Rick Perry went on Letterman, but at least in that circumstance Perry was poking fun at himself as a means of rehabilitating himself after his debate brain freeze.

    Mitt Romney was on Letterman last night, and true to form Letterman made Romney look bad.  This clip doesn’t show it, but before Romney took the stage Letterman made fun of George W. Bush (calling Kim Jong Il’s son the “idiot son Kim W. Jong”), Michele Bachmann (showing a tape of her talking over an interviewer) and Newt (repeating the false claim that Newt wants to arrest judges he disagrees with).

    When Romney took the stage, Letterman asked “how’d you do on the back 9,” mocking Romney’s country club look.

    Romney then launched a Top 10 list, which was self-deprecating until he came to number 2, in which he said:

    Newt Gingrich, really?

    It was a cheap shot before a hostile liberal television host and crowd, who all laughed.  The joke was on Romney, who belittled himself as well as Newt.

    Update:  This is part of a bigger problem I see with the Romney campaign and supporters.

    They have so demonized Newt on such a personal level that they not only have left themselves no face-saving way to support Newt if he is the nominee, they also have given material to the Obama campaign.  I can see the clip of Romney saying “Newt Gingrich, really?” being run endlessly, perhaps alongside the National Review martian cover and some choice words from Ann Coulter calling Newt crazy.

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    . . . become, that is. I stand corrected. By me.

    “When Romney took the stage, Letterman asked ‘how’d you do on the back 9,'”

    Wouldn’t the logical comeback be something along the lines of, “Gee Dave, unlike your hero Obama, I don’t have time to play golf.”

      The the “logical comeback,” as you put it, is not necessarily something that would instantly occur to even the smartest of folks.

      And, I don’t think Mitt would want to risk turning golfers against him by suggesting that he’s somehow too busy or good for the game.

      It’s quite another thing, I think, to poke fun of the President for obsessively playing golf while the nation’s business is sitting on his plate, going undone. And that Mitt has done. But even that, some have suggested, risks a “man-law” violation.

      In addition, willy-nilly attempting to trade wit with a professional comedian — one who has survived peer wars and who you are quite certain despises what you stand for — seems to me like it might be a fools errand.

      The French have a lovely idiomatic expression — “l’esprit de l’escalier” literally meaning “the spirit of the staircase”, or “the ‘wit’ of the staircase,” accurately describing the feeling one gets of thinking of the perfect comeback, but alas, just too late — i.e., either as you are either descending the stairs of the place where the original remark was made to you, or perhaps while ascending your own stairs, just after the guests have left.

      According to Wikipedia, the phrase is originally derived from “French encyclopedist and philosopher Denis Diderot’s description of such a situation in his Paradoxe sur le comédien”.

      In the article they note that the “phenomenon” was played out in a Seinfeld, episode, entitled The Comeback. Though the Wiki article had no citation, here is a clip I found of the intro to the show. George becomes the butt of a joke at work, and only thinks of a comeback while driving home. He then goes to great lengths to recreate the circumstances of the insult in order to deliver what he perceives as the perfect “zinger.”

      Naturally, of course, it backfires badly on poor George.

    Not exactly sure why the link to the intro to The Comeback — the Seinfeld episode about “l’esprit de l’escalier” [or, should I say “… de la maison disque” — “… of the drive home”] didn’t “take” correctly, but here it is again . . .


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