Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Etch-A-Sketch(r) is far beyond Mitt Romney's skills.

   Much has been said about the Romney campaign worker who said something to the effect that his candidate could adapt to the general election, once nominated, and change from right-wing extremist to a more main-stream conservative, just like an "Etch-A--Sketch"®.

   For those of you too young to remember, Etch-A-Sketch® was a toy usually given when a kid was about 11 or 12 years old in the 1960s and into the 1970s. It was a lot like an iPad in shape, only thicker. It had a gray screen bordered by red plastic. The screen was gray because of some substance under the screen. Also under the screen was a stylus. A white knob on each lower corner of the tablet controlled the stylus: one knob moved the stylus vertically, the other horizontally. The stylus interfaced with the panel to "sketch" with the gray substance. Presumably one could draw pictures or spell words by maneuvers of the knobs. After each use, one needed only to flip the tablet and whatever one had drawn or written was gone; the screen ready for a new drawing or phrase. 

   The comparison of Mitt Romney to an Etch-A-Sketch® is inaccurate. I understand the thing about flipping the pad and whatever was written or drawn disappears. The inaccuracy of the comparison lies in the fact that it was damn difficult to "draw" or "write" with an Etch-A-Sketch®. I received one for Christmas when I was 12. I never was able to control the stylus sufficiently to draw anything of a regular shape. Words were impossible to form. After several hours of effort, the Etch-A-Sketch I received joined items from other Christmases past, never to be used again. They would find their way to Goodwill.

   Mitt Romney might flip and blank out issue stands more frequently than Lindsay Lohan goes through drug rehab, but comparison of this phenomenon to Etch-A-Sketch® is a disservice to Etch-A-Sketch®.  Etch-A-Sketch® was tough to use on even a beginner level. Romney seeks his party’s nomination for President of the United States. From what I have read and heard of Romney’s positions on issues, he gave less thought to the new issue—after the flip and re-boot—than any of us had spent as kids trying to work those damn Etch-A-Sketches®. (I don’t know if the plural is trademarked, but I’ll be safe.)

   The man has skill sets of a certain order. When I was a kid we called those skills sets "rat smarts." He knows how to acquire, pick apart, and profit from the destruction of small businesses. He has six sons, and none had to enter military service or face hostile fire in Iraq or Afghanistan. He has homes in ten states. He has so much money that he does not know how much money he has. He built an elevator for his cars.

   However, I have not discerned that he has the ability to handle the controls of an Etch-A-Sketch® on a minimal level to form words, or to handle principles of politics or economics (that benefit more than just a few) on a level competent to serve on a local school board. Until then, people should can it with the Etch-A-Sketch®. I still have nightmares of those things.

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