I am convinced that Mitt Romney must have, as a kind of special power, the ability to make people drunk. Oh to be sure he drives me to drink, what with all the lies and half-truths, the waffling and the bullshit, all the sycophantic flip-floppery. But how else to explain how this hologram can cling to a dead heat in the polls, how else does he hold the interest of half the people in this country? It has to be a narcotic effect, composed of flimflam, snake oil and smoke. All that’s left to do is determine what sort.
I thought at first that he’s like one of those pre-made drinks that come in a can, an insta-margarita or faux-mojito, whose makers would have you believe that making a thing from scratch isn’t worth the effort, that what you really want is a pre-packaged dose of predictability, whose flavors, having inhabited a lined can for weeks or months, come off, inevitably, as vapid and flat.
But in the end this concept didn’t really get to the heart of the man’s blandness.
And really, he’s phonier than that; he’s more like a maltini, interchangeable malt beverages developed not in back bars but in labs with vague anesthetizing approximations of taste, like lemonades without lemon, daiquiris without rum, sangrias without wine.
Mitt Romney isn’t just a faux-mojito, he’s a Bartles & James mojito-flavored beverage. He’s not presidential, he’s pretend presidential, like a Jack Daniels Hard Cola – for those select few who are too lazy to actually make a Jack and Coke – a malt beverage which contains neither Jack Daniels nor Cola.
Still, I’m guessing that drinking enough maltini beverages would only make you sick, it couldn’t possibly make you blind enough to vote for the guy. For that you’d need something with more of a wallop. That’s why I think the beverage that comes closest to the essence of Romney is Everclear: a stiff, colorless, flavorless, cipher of a spirit, distilled for one thing and one thing only, to stupefy, to blur vision, to weaken resolve, to make whoever imbibes see double and forget that there’s absolutely nothing of substance there at all, except whatever you add to it.