God Endorses Obama
Date posted: Friday, November 2, 2012
Part XIV of the Etch A President Saga, a satirical series on the 2012 election campaign.
—The Des Moines Register, endorsing Mitt Romney, Oct. 27
—Slate, Oct. 30
—Michael Bloomberg, endorsing Barack Obama on Nov. 1
—The Economist, endorsing Barack Obama on Nov. 1
Deep under the Boston Commons in the Romney/Ryan 2012 campaign’s secret headquarters, the presidential candidate has short-circuited, literally. RoboMitt, a cyborg built from the cryogenically preserved remains of the real Mitt Romney who was murdered by his dog in revenge for being strapped to a car roof for 12 hours, sits in a chair with its lifeless head slung over, its feet in a pool of water up to the calves, its beautiful hair still perfectly parted on the left side with a dash grey near the temples. The robot blew a fuse when water came rushing into the campaign headquarters amid a tidal surge from Hurricane Sandy.
The beam from a flashlight waves around the room before settling on Romney.
“Nooo!” yells chief campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, entering the headquarters for the first time since the hurricane hit at the end of October. “Undermined by the effects of climate change that we have tried so hard to deny!”
Also around the lifeless robot are Joshua Bekenstein, co-founder of the private equity fund Bain Capital, and Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Latter Day Saints, who teamed up years earlier in a bid to install a tax-slashing Mormon in the West Wing. Now, their chances at securing the election—just days away!—appear swept out to sea by Hurricane Sandy.
“God seems to have spoken in favor of Barack Obama’s reelection,” says Monson.
“We had finally designed the perfect presidential candidate: smart, yet down to earth, empathetic, yet not patronizing, authoritative, yet not combative,” says Bekenstein.
“We’ve lost our Mittmentum,” says Fehrnstrom.
“What we lost is our goddamn robot,” says Monson. “How do we campaign without a candidate?”
Before the hurricane hit the East Coast on October 30, Romney was riding a wave of newspaper endorsements, most notably from The Des Moines Register, which endorsed Obama in 2008 (along with every other Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976) but now applauded the Republican challenger’s Etch A Sketch strategy of tacking toward the center in the general election. But since Sandy barreled up the coast and left a trail of 74 people dead, millions of homes without power, and $50 billion in economic damages, Romney’s campaign has taken a backseat in the national conversation to the more pressing task of disaster relief, allowing President Obama to play hero with promises of federal aid and winning plaudits from non other than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had been a strong critic of the president and an early supporter of Romney.
“The hurricane sucked the life from our campaign surge,” says Fehrnstrom, placing a hand on the robot’s biconic shoulder. “Mitt? Mitt? You with us, Mitt?”
“The robot’s gone,” says Monson. “And just when we had finally won over the media with our flip-flopping on numerous social and economic issues from health care to the bailout of Detroit, whose newspaper The Detroit News actually endorsed us!”
Adds Fehrnstrom: “And the Democratic-leaning Des Moines Register said it believed the ‘real Mitt Romney’ is in fact a moderate and not the self-proclaimed severe conservative of the GOP primaries this year!”
“If only there ever was a real Mitt Romney,” says Bekenstein. “You know, our robot was so perfectly programmed, suddenly so empathetic and independent after we upgraded the Romney3001 programming, he seemed to have turned into a real boy.”
“So what do we do now?” says Monson.
“We send the backup,” says Fehrnstrom.
“The old gaffe-prone Romney3000?” says Monson. “We can’t it lose on America again!”
“We don’t have an option,” says Fehrnstrom. “We need a candidate—any candidate—stumping in battleground swing states from Florida to Colorado, because we’re now battling more than just Obama. We’re also up against several heavyweight politicians and newspapers that have suddenly come out in support of the president.”
“Bloomberg,” the three men hiss.
Monson continues: “Damn that Michael Bloomberg for not only endorsing Obama, but also digging at our campaign for flip-flopping! He said, ‘If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him.’ It’s almost as if he knew that we upgraded the RoboMitt programming in each of those years.”
“If only Hurricane Sandy had hit one month later,” says Bekenstein, “then Bloomberg could not have so forcefully stated that we need a leader fighting climate change and taking steps to reduce our carbon consumption. I guess he didn’t appreciate RoboMitt’s repeated statements about loving coal.”
“And how about Bloomberg’s bit about leaving a better world to his daughters, as if they’re less safe under Romney’s watch,” says Fehrnstrom.
“At least we still have Lindsay Lohan’s endorsement,” says Monson.
“It’s like we’ve finally been unmasked, with Bloomberg and The Economist both endorsing Obama on the day after Halloween,” says Bekenstein. “The Economist declared it ‘would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.’ At least they admit Obama is a devil. Problem is, we’ve been flip-flopping so much that now we’re not anything.”
“It should hurt Obama, and help us, that we just learned today that the unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 percent in October from 7.8 percent in September,” says Monson.
“But the rate still below the 8.1 percent rate in August,” says Fehrnstrom. “Voters are like shoppers, and no matter what they’ll respond much better to 7.99 than 8.00, as the political columnist Ian Cheney has noted.”
The lights flicker on, and a giant digital clock on the wall restarts the countdown to Nov. 6. The number 100 turns to 99 . . . just 99 hours until election day with Obama leading by three-tenths of a percentage point in national polls over Romney, 47.5% to 47.2%, according to RealClearPolitics.[pinit]