10:58 a.m. October 16, 2012

How To Argue With An Alien

“He’s not a very notional leader. He is more interested in data, and what the data means.” —Romney spokesbeing, 2007

If the last debate between Obama and Romney taught me anything, it’s that I don’t like myself very much. Something about Romney’s manner of speaking had me in a constant state of low-level panic, as if I was being called on to apologize — for what I didn’t know, but instinct assured me I was definitely in the wrong.

I don’t think it’s anything Romney’s ever said, because hell, I can’t remember anything he’s said — it’s the tone, self-certain and impatient and dammed-up contempt which he hides behind that clenched smile. That’s the authentic Romney — the signals and messages he transmits to us chimps, signals that make it clear we’re wasting his incredibly valuable time. And let’s face it, we are wasting his time. We have to — it’s the only line of defense we’ve got left, and it's proven to be a pretty weak defense at that.

But that doesn’t make me feel any better about this situation. In my chimp of chimps, I have this awful sense that Mitt’s right about whatever it is he’s so sure about ... It’s shameful and disgraceful, but it’s in there, a Pavlovian peasant-reaction, and the sad thing is that I’m not alone. We’re all learning — and pretending not to notice — the sheer level of human debasement that this presidential campaign has turned out to be.

We thought so highly of ourselves, and so lowly of our candidates. For months leading up to that first debate, we were assured by our media that Americans rejected Romney because Romney wasn’t likeable. That narrative reflected well on us — it suggested we had some dignity. Mitt was turning out to be an arrogant jerk, and we Americans are too free and too brave to fall for arrogant elitist dickheads — at least, that’s what the TV pundits kept saying, and we liked hearing it too.

Turns out we were just playing hard to get. In fact, we have no dignity at all — we merely lacked the opportunity to debase ourselves. That changed on October 3rd: For the first time we were introduced to the “real Romney”— the self-assured contemptuous prick — and just like that, our defenses collapsed, and our dignity melted like Saddam’s army in Gulf War I.

Obama was the first to wilt before Romney’s full-spectrum dickishness. Just a few minutes into that scolding, the President was staring at his shoes, quietly agreeing with the angry old white guy screaming at him, fighting the urge to apologize, an urge I know too well, Brother Barry, and it's only now that I am able to admit to it. So I say, Brother Barry, you have nothing to be ashamed of — well okay, you do, a lot in fact. Let me restate it: You, Obama, are pathetic. (See, that’s one of the things about us peasants — when we’re feeling debased and degraded, there’s nothing like piling on the bully's immediate target, pointing our fingers and tossing in a few rocks, to make us peasants feel a bit better about ourselves. So if you want to spot the American peasants during tonight’s debate, just look for the loudest woofers piling on behind Romney’s attack.)

When I say we’re not alone in the orgy of Romney degradation, Brother Barry, I’m thinking primarily about women, our sisters in election-season shame. Until the debate two weeks ago, women were our guardian angels protecting us from a Romney Reich. That “gender gap” that the media played up was like some impenetrable moat, an impassible canyon cliff — a natural and unchangeable barrier to Romney's armies, for now and forever. If you recall, in the weeks and months leading up to October 3rd’s debate, polls showed that women voters rejected Rommney by an 18-point margin, and the reason women rejected him with their gender gap, we were told, was because Romney was "unlikeable."

That gender gap turned out to be our electoral Maginot Line; 18 percent of voting-aged women (or nine, I forget my stats) dropped their guns and joined me, Barry, and all the debased Americans who still can't admit that one exposure to Mitt Romney is all it takes to fall in line.

No one captures this degradation-by-Romney better than Joy Overbeck, who gloated in the Moonie-owned Washington Times:

"The gender gap died last Wednesday night and no wonder. To see Mr. Romney -- strong, smart and rational -- up against the most powerful man on Earth, who stammered, dithered and generally looked like he longed for his bunny slippers and his blankie, was a revelation. Women saw an alpha male who has spent his entire life applying his smarts and organizational talent to thorny problems. Women are drawn to alpha males because they supply exceptional genes for our future generations. In politics, that translates to this: The most successful and competent competitor will be the best national leader."

Said the Moonie about the Mormon...

Joy lays the self-debasement on thick, like a wall of mud rushing over a Brazilian slum — and she rolls around in it for good measure, squealing with glee. I say, “Good for you, Joy! Don’t hide your shame, embrace it! Embrace your degradation!” And if you can’t embrace the shame, then try numbing it with a gallon of antifreeze ... or a Mossberg 590 in the tonsils.

As hopeless as it looks — we peasants outnumber you uprights in this country, like it or not — there is a way out. There’s always a way out, as any Hollywood movie will tell you. The key is focusing on Mitt Romney. Don't give in to self-examination and self-loathing here — just try and figure out how to do battle with this extraterrestrial Hair Bug.

The first thing to understand about Mitt Romney is that he’s nothing like us. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks deep down a series of Romney/Mormon rabbit holes, and one thing is clear to me now: Mitt Romney is nothing like you or me. To understand Romney, we start by correctly classifying his kind: an extraterrestrial among mere earthlings. Romney, you may recall, comes from Kolob; we're from earth. Romney’s a Nephite; we’re earthlings.

I don’t meant that necessarily negative either — if anything, that's a compliment to Romney, as well as facing facts. Let’s face it, we earthlings are feckless, cloudy-headed fuckups compared to the Kolobite Mitt Romney. Hell, an argument could be made that we earthlings might benefit from being ruled by a superior extraterrestrial being from Kolob — and if I wasn’t an earthling myself, if I was viewing our situation from an intergalactic perspective, without any skin in this game, I might even agree with that perspective.

But I am an earthling — a mammal from one of the great ape species. And my instinct is to preserve my kind from the superior alien being (unless you count my counter-instinct to grovel to this greater being — but like I said, let’s drop that for now, no time for psychology).

And the only way to contain or defeat the Nephite Mitt Romney who hails from planet Kolob is to adopt the winning strategy from Starship Troopers, a strategy I’ve quoted many times: “To defeat The Bug, we must know The Bug.” (Although as Bugs go, Mitt isn’t so much the “Brain Bug” as he is a "Hair Bug.")

Then again, I can see a problem with this analogy — because a Romney could easily turn the Starship Troopers analogy around and use it against us earthlings, in which we play the role of the Bugs, with Romney as the Perfect People from Buenos Aires. For one thing, Mormons are a factor in the movie, identified as Mormons — and those Mormons are humans, missionaries who offended the Bugs when they set up a mission outpost on the Planet Klendathu, sparking the whole gory war.

So by a strict reading of Troopers, if the Mormons are the humanoids, then that makes us who oppose him the Bugs. And the sad truth is, looking at this from a Mormon perspective, that’s a lot more accurate: If you’re one of the 14 million Perfect People from Kolob, then we seven billion Gentile savages must look like those swarms of Klendathu bugs. Disgusting, dumb bugs who can’t be reasoned with — which is why Mitt gets so impatient with us, and why he’s so contemptuous. I mean, put yourself in Mitt’s shoes: Can you imagine trying to win the Bug vote? Trying to get Bugs to grasp the math behind his tax cuts and closed loopholes?

So you can see why he’s got so little patience for us, and why he can’t wait for the day to come when he can finally relax that fake smile he’s forced to wear around for our benefit, so that he can get to work “restructuring” and “turning around” this poorly-managed dump of a planet.

As I’ll be demonstrating with my series of articles about Romney’s World, Mitt starts to make a lot more sense when you look at him as a species from another planet, with largely superior qualities, yet who poses a grave threat to our kind for the simple reason that we’re better off screwing up our own world than letting a superior extraterrestrial try, and fail, to whip us into shape. Surely "The Kolob Man's Burden" will end us as disastrous here as similar missions in the past.

This will all become more clear shortly — but for now, for tonight, it will be interesting to see if Barry’s figured out he's dealing with an extraterrestrial, and adjusted himself accordingly. One thing we’ve learned from Hollywood is that we inferior earthlings can still defeat superior alien beings, once we understand what we’re dealing with. Obama’s people are sending out signals that he’s coming out to fight tonight — and I take that to mean he’s going to do the debate equivalent of what Sigourney Weaver did in Aliens: arrive wearing a protective exosuit cargo loader, and go on the attack that way.

There’s no other way to resist and defeat Mitt Romney. Without the protective exosuit, we’ll find ourselves back where we were two weeks ago: apologizing, groveling, and gloating about our degradation in a Moonie rag.

Back channel chatter

There is a scribble about this dispatch in the backroom, with seven contributors.