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Of Twits, and the Brilliance of Romney’s Withdrawal Announcement

“Oh, well played, your Lordship.”

Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington, known as “Twit” to his chums at The Club, looked up from the Washington Post he was reading by the fireplace in the library of his estate as he enjoyed a fine scotch after dinner. “Very well played indeed!”

Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington II, known as “Two,”* looked up at his father and asked “Who are you talking about?”

“Mitt Romney, of course,” said Twit I, with a gleam in his eye.

“Mitt Romney?” said Twit II, shocked. “After that unpleasantness three years ago — I still can’t believe you did that! — I thought you didn’t like him.”

Twit I laughed. “Then you misunderstood that whole episode, Two. I do like him — a great deal — but his holier-than-thou attitude around The Club just got to be too much. As you noted back then, he is one of us. He just needed to be reminded that he’s not above us, but simply one of us.”

Twit II struggled to remember the details of what he said to his father three years ago, then gave up. “Well, what did he do that you’re so pleased with?”

“He withdrew from the race for the GOP nomination for president.”

“So you don’t like him, and you’re glad he gave up before failing?” said Twit II. “I’m confused.”

Twit I sighed, and Twit II settled into his overstuffed chair, knowing that the sigh meant that Father (with a capital F) was getting ready to pontificate. Twit I picked up the paper again. “No, I like him, but it’s the way in which he announced his withdrawal that was so very well done. Listen to this:

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said.

“Do you see what he did there, Two?” said Twit I. “Do you see how, in a single sentence, he oh-so-politely rubbed the noses of every single one of the so-called leaders of the Republican party in the mud? Priceless!” Twit I raised his glass in a silent toast, then took a sip.

Twit II opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He closed it and tried again. Still nothing. Twit I laughed again, sipped his scotch again, then smiled. “Let me walk you through it.”

Inwardly, Twit II groaned, but there was no escape now.

“Listen again, Two: ‘I have decided . . .’ He was not pushed or powerless, but made an active decision. He’s saying ‘I have supreme power in this’ and no one else. Then he announces how he has chosen to use that power: ‘ . . . to give other leaders the opportunity . . .’ In describing his withdrawal from the race like this, he paints himself as the benevolent lord, who deigns to allow his lessers a chance to lead. He’s telling all of them, ‘I could have won this nomination for myself, but in my beneficence, I have decided that you may fight amongst your (lesser) selves for this prize.'” Twit I smiled broadly. “Very very well played.”

Twit II still felt confused. “But Father, won’t that make everyone else angry with him?”

Twit I shook his head. “There might be a little anger, particularly from those uppity Bushes, but they know deep down that he’s right. They are his lessers, and before the echo of Romney’s words had disappeared, they were prostrating themselves at his feet, praising him as a selfless leader, in an effort to gain favor from him and money from his supporters. They are showing themselves to be leeches and hangers-on, proving the truth of Romney’s phrasing in his withdrawal. They are not in our league, Two, and Romney gave them a brilliant reminder of that. So brilliant, in fact, and a fair number of them don’t even realize they’ve been called out as inferior leaders.”

Just then, Twit I’s phone rang. He looked at the display, then laughed. “Oh, hello your Lordship. Two and I were just talking about your brilliant withdrawal statement . . . Have you gotten any interesting calls from some of the candidates who are running? . . . No, he’s not one of us. Not even close. But for that matter, none of them are. . . .”

*Twit I once said to his chums at The Club, “Let the Bubbas and Billy Bobs call their eldest sons ‘Junior’; our sons are ‘The Second’. Their sons are lesser versions of lesser men; ours are the next generation of brilliance and a tribute to our glory.” The Chums replied “hear, hear!”


h/t to fronx for the photo, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.