Bob Franken

King Features Column

(Given today’s Obama-Romney meeting at the White House, this column is somewhat dated thanks to the deal with syndicators requiring that my columns appear here a week after newspaper release. The current one appears in your paper. If it doesn’t, feel free to cajole the editors. Or harass them.)

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What a Thanksgiving Republican leaders had this year. Instead of the usual turkey, they were carving up Mitt Romney. Actually, come to think of it, they’ve made it clear that they consider him a bit of a turkey for losing the election to Barack Obama.
It’s hard to see why they’re such angry birds, since during the interminable campaign, Mitt tried to please each and every one of them. For right-wing audiences, he was the “severe conservative.” For the fat cats, who have no particular principles, he was the symbol of economic inequality. What more could the GOP want?
Apparently, the party wants to win. So the latest gambit is a stated effort to improve its image with the various demographic groups it antagonized during a hateful campaign: blacks, browns, gays, women, just about everybody but old, angry white guys. The last person they need is Malaprop Mitt.
He has quickly become “Mitt Who,” as everybody else in the party jockeys for favor. Marco Rubio, that non-Castro refugee, already is planning his Iowa trips. Bobby Jindal is making a lot of noise. Of course, there’s another Bush, Jeb, among those floating his own trial balloons.
Inevitably, we see Newt Gingrich and some of the others who messed themselves during the primary season popping back up in the “I told you so” frenzy.

The ultra-rightists are having their own orgy of recrimination. They’re arguing that Romney lost because he was too moderate. They want to double down on the narrow-mindedness. Is Paul Ryan their guy?
As for Mitt, it won’t be long before he returns to Bain Capital or another private equity firm so he can resume his career of making huge amounts of money by destroying companies and firing thousands of workers. It’s a pity another group beat him to the mismanagement of Hostess. I know I speak for TV reporters everywhere when I share the special pain we feel over the threatened loss of Twinkies. With our shared traits of empty fluffiness, we’re family.
A case in point is all the attention that’s been heaped on Petraeusgate. Is it really worth all the coverage we’re giving to a guy in his 60s who got it on with a younger groupie. Do we really need to pay attention to all the peripheral characters, like the twin social climbers who are squeezing every moment they can out of their 15 minutes? I mean, this is so vacuous that Gloria Allred has gotten into the act. For those few who don’t know, Allred is an attorney who takes only cases which get her on TV.
Actually, I’d better modify that, since she might find some self-promotion value out of suing me. Better to say that when there’s publicity, she sure seems to pop up a lot.
This is one of those cases where just about every one of the players in this little caper has hired a lawyer and/or PR person whose specialty is image repair. Isn’t that what the Republicans want to do.
In their case, the bad perception matches reality. It truly is the party of the wealthy and intolerant. As we saw in the election, billions of dollars from their wealthy patrons to the Karl Rove mercenaries for deceptive TV ads were not enough to hide the harsh truth. GOP leaders talk about “outreach” to all the segments of our population that are growing. What they really need is some in-reach to purge all those in control who stand for injustice.
If they really want to improve their standing they can start by reining in their most fanatic members in Congress who seem hellbent on destroying the government. The negotiations aimed at the “fiscal cliff” might be a good starting point. A change in their attitudes would give an added reason for Thanksgiving.

© 2012 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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