At the beginning of Impromptus today, I have a little item on excitement in a politician. A lot of people are saying that Romney’s not exciting. I’m saying, “Whoop-de-do.” Or even “Good.” Have a sample:
. . . Bieber Fever is for pop music, you know?
There was a lot of excitement surrounding Barack Obama in 2008 — the Messiah, the One. People regularly fainted at his rallies. Remember?
I think the public might be ready for a solid, honorable, sensible man who can tackle some of the country’s formidable problems. The president doesn’t have to be a cult figure. In fact, it’s preferable that he not be. Let the president do a good job, and the rest of us get on with life.
A reader writes,
In 1976 I was the state deputy director for Scoop Jackson’s Michigan primary campaign. As you are doubtless too young to recall, there was a lot of talk about “charisma.” We had an ad campaign planned, which never got off the ground because before our primary Scoop dropped out, one theme of which was “The Charisma of Competence.”
Another little squib from Impromptus:
Romney’s critics and enemies on the right say two things about him: a) he’s a squishy, big- government RINO; b) he’s a heartless, ruthless, dog-eat-dog capitalist.
Maybe these guys can sit down and coordinate a plausible Romney attack?
A reader writes, “Isn’t this something of a variation on the old quip about the two main reasons for anti-Semitism — a) international banking and b) international Communism?”
I also mention the announcement by the Mercedes-Benz chairman in front of a huge image of Che Guevara. The good Mercedes people had put their company’s logo on Guevara’s beret. I write, “Has Mercedes ever buddied with totalitarian killers before? I can’t remember . . .” Well, I do remember, and so do others. Some are talking boycott. I’m not saying I’ll boycott Mercedes, but I am saying, “How gross.”
Actually, my boycotting Mercedes would be somewhat like my boycotting Tiffany, if you know what I mean. (Freddie Mac never asked me to dispense advice as a historian.)
Some readers aren’t happy with me for ripping Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.), for ripping on our First Lady’s derriere. The biggest butt in the whole episode is the congressman, as I believe he acknowledges.
I mention President Obama’s disgusting, soul-brother handshake with Hugo Chávez and his even more disgusting name for him: “mi amigo.” That’s what our president called this anti-democratic brute, his friend. A reader writes, “For a long time, I kept the famous photo of O and C in my office, with ‘Mi Amigo’ penned underneath. Got tired of looking at it, put it in the trash, where it belongs.”
Well, let’s close with something nice. At the end of Impromptus, I have a poetic thingy, in which I talk about being in South Carolina: On a cold, sunny day, I walked around some ballfields as an American flag waved in the breeze and nearby church bells played the “Ode to Joy” theme. A reader writes,
While serving in the Navy, I was stationed at Pearl Harbor (rough duty, I know), and every day at 8 the base conducts “morning colors,” the raising of the flag, during which they play the national anthem. During colors, all traffic on the base stops, and everyone turns to the nearest flag (or toward the music if you can’t see a flag) and salutes. Sometimes this is an inconvenience: You’re trying to get work done and have to stop and stand there with your arm growing tried. Sometimes, though, it’s an incredibly moving experience: the crisp red and white stripes billowing against that pure blue Hawaiian sky, “The Star-Spangled Banner” echoing across the harbor.
When I think about my time in Hawaii, I almost always remember those moments first, proud to live in this great country, and proud to have served her.