Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Meat Loaf for Mitt Romney

Meat Loaf for Mitt Romney

Photograph via

Editor’s note: This post is part XIII of the Etch A President Saga, a satirical series on the 2012 election campaign.

[quote]Obama may have won two out of three debates, but Romney walked away with something more valuable—a new image.


Deep down in the Romney 2012 campaign headquarters, the candidate is discussing the state of the race after losing 66% of the official presidential debates over the past month.

“A rousing success!” exclaims chief campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom.

“Indeed!” says Joshua Bekenstein, co-founder of the private equity fund Bain Capital. “The robot’s newly empathetic Romney3001 programming has successfully convinced the world’s most powerful nation that the Republican candidate is actually human!”

“A true miracle, if I ever knew one,” adds Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Latter Day Saints, which has teamed up with Bain Capital to install a tax-slashing Mormon in the West Wing.

“Shucks, thanks guys,” says Robo-Mitt, a cyborg built from the cryogenically preserved remains of the real Mitt Romney, who died under mysterious circumstances only known to have involved an Irish setter spiteful of being strapped to a car roof for 12 hours. “We had a close call after the first debate, when the old Romney3000 broke out of its cage and attached Bekenstein, huh? You guys actually couldn’t tell us apart!”

“Yeah, good thing Fehrnstrom remembered how the old Romney3000 suffered from post-traumatic cookie disorder,” says Monson. “A single pack of 7-Eleven generic cookies was all it took to scare the robot back into its cage.”

“I can’t believe we ever let that thing near people,” says Monson.

“We’ve certainly put this country through a lot and also been through a lot ourselves,” says Fehrnstrom. “But we’ve played my Etch A Candidate strategy to the hilt, tacking toward the political center once we’d secured the political right.”

“Have you seen what the pundits are saying about us?” asks Monson. “Everyone agrees that Obama won two out of three debates, but that Romney still won the war. Joe Scarborough said Obama’s victories were not enough to undo the damage done to the president by this year’s debate season. He even praised us for abandoning our previous hardcore conservative view and for flip-flopping on most issues!”

“I knew the media would come around to our way of seeing things,” says Fehrnstrom.

“Winning is relative,” quips Robo-Romney, giving his chief strategist a condescending heat-tilted smile perfected against Obama in the debates. “Polls and pundits may say that my opponent won the debate, and we may even agree, but none of that matters. What matters, as a relatively unknown political blogger for the online magazine Construction repeatedly attempts to hammer home, is swing state voters.”

“Still,” retorts Monson, “how in Joseph Smith’s name did you get fact-checked by the moderator Candy Crowley, a mere human, during the second debate?! With your unlimited memory capacity, how did you not know exactly what Obama said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya?”

“And your line during the second debate about binders full of women?” adds Bekenstein. “What’s that even mean?”

“Guys, guys,” says Robo-Romney. “None of that matters. What matters is that I was the more human candidate. I said that I like PBS and that I love Big Bird, but that I’d also still cut their government funding, because we need some tough love. Independents eat that up. What people saw in Obama that first debate was an interesting but arrogant guy, while I was the reliable father, a listener.”

“The robot knows what women want,” says Bekenstein, “and he’s quickly winning back their vote, despite moronic comments from other Republican candidates about pregnancy from rape being ‘something God intended.’”

“Just look at how Democrats are freaking out!” says Fehrnstrom. “The Daily Beast’s liberal blogger Andrew Sullivan says Obama’s been ‘flailing around’ since the first debate—despite winning both subsequent debates! Or take a ganter at columnist Ben Hoffman’s piece in Construction preparing for the five stages of liberal grief from an Obama-loss.”

Says Romney: “The only non-panicking Democrat out there is Jonathan Chait at New York magazine, who realizes that we’re ‘suckering the press corps with a confidence game.’ Ha! He’s the only one who also knows Karl Rove’s playbook, apparently!”

“But Chait doesn’t even realize our greatest asset: we’ve got a robot running for president,” says Bekenstein.

“Obama needs to sleep, unlike a robot like you! Obama has a job, unlike an unemployed former governor like you! Obama is worn down from traveling around the country campaigning in swing states. He’s losing his voice, he’s tired and hazy-headed from little sleep. The man is bound to collapse, or commit a gaffe. Obama only has one body, unlike a robot with interchangable parts like you!”

“It doesn’t matter that Obama has the wildly popular Bill Clinton stumping for him, while we’ve pushed George Bush as far away from the campaign as possible. It doesn’t matter that Obama has the backing of Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks, while we’ve just got crotchety old Clint Eastwood. It doesn’t matter that Obama has the support of Bruce Springstein, while we have that one-hit weirdo Meat Loaf.”

“Doesn’t matter,” satys Monson.

“We’ve got the Mittmentum,” says Bekenstein.

“And even if we didn’t, we’d say we did,” says Fehrnstrom.