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Late Night: A Familiar Diagnosis

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It’s a common gibe that anyone running for President has to be a bit mental to want the job in the first place, much less suffer the indignities involved in pursuing it.  Which may be why I find it odd when the candidates start diagnosing one another:

Speaking today in Fairfax, Virginia, President Obama finally came up with a way to describe Mitt Romney’s sudden memory lapse about the positions he’s taken in the six years the former governor of Massachusetts has been running for president….

“… He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will too.

I mean he’s changing up so much – backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve gotta name this condition that he’s going through.. I think it’s called “Romnesia.”

Now, I’m not a medical doctor but I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.

If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you’d sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work – you might have Romnesia….

If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be “delighted” to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases – man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia.

… If you say earlier in the year I’m going to give a tax cut to the top 1 percent, and then in a debate you say, I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks – you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia.

Then again, maybe it just strikes me as strange because I’ve heard it before, way back in 1992:

President Bush delivered his harshest personal attack yet on Gov. Bill Clinton today, reminding voters of Mr. Clinton’s experimentation with marijuana 20 years ago, accusing him of plotting huge cuts in Medicare and calling him a weak-kneed waffler.

“This guy couldn’t remember in detail that he didn’t inhale 20 years ago, and he can’t remember what came out of his mouth 20 minutes ago,” Mr. Bush said, describing a condition he called “Clintonesia” — “weak knees, sweaty palms and an incredible desire to say anything on all sides of any issue, depending on who you’re trying to please.

I understand the need to come up with some kind of gimmick to get your message on the TV news in the closing weeks of the campaign, but still.  Maybe Mitt’s got Romnesia, but Team Obama is stealing campaign tactics from George H.W. Bush, an incumbent president running against a tough economy who wound up getting only 38 percent of the vote.

And how sane is that?

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (