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A little night music

Michael Zucker

Last week they were back in Las Vegas for their glorious return engagement at the Trump International Hotel. Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, the political version of the Sunshine Boys, reprised their show before adoring big-money fans.

They had first appeared on stage together last February.

“It’s my real honor and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney,” the real estate tycoon said then. “By the way,” he continued modestly, “this is a great couple!”

“There are some things you can’t imagine happening in your life and this is one of them,” replied the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee. “Having his endorsement is a delight.”

(Music up and over. “Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair? Me here at last on the ground, you in mid-air. Send in the clowns.” Thanks, American composer Stephen Sondheim.)

The two complement and compliment each other well. Romney likes to fire people; the Donald, the political apprentice, likes to pretend to fire people.

The act continues. Romney has insisted that “(President Obama) is way over his head. He doesn’t understand what it takes to get America working again. And I do.” Oh, yeah? During Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor the state ranked 47th in job growth. In contrast, a widely published bar graph using Bureau of Labor Statistics information illustrates that from the beginning of Obama’s term, private job losses nationally began steadily decreasing until March 2010 at which time there began an unbroken string of monthly job increases.

In February, Trump falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office announced that unemployment is going up to 9.2 percent by 2013. In fact, the office projected that the rate would remain above 8 percent this year and next year before slowly declining further. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figure is 8.2 percent, a significant decrease since its late 2009 10-percent peak.

While the right wing is still vainly trying to tie President Obama to Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, people with whom the president has had zero relationship since before he took office, Romney is palling around with the off-the-chart egotist who ridiculously continues to stoke the long-debunked claim that Obama was not born in the United States.

Valiantly pushing birtherism while insisting he’s not a birther, Trump told reporters that he was sending a team of investigators to Hawaii to study Obama’s birth certificate and that they could not believe what they were finding. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked him what they found, Trump replied “We don’t have to go into old news!” Asked who the many people were who Trump insisted did not accept the certificate’s authenticity, he answered, “Many people. I don’t give names!”

(Sondheim: “Making my entrance again with my usual flair, sure of my lines, No one is there…”)

The Trump-Romney act will move closer to Broadway later this month when they play a dinner engagement at New York’s Trump Towers.

(Sondheim: “Isn’t it bliss? Don’t you approve? One who keeps tearing around, One who can’t move. Where are the clowns? Send in the clowns.”)

Romney was asked this week why he has been cozying up to this weirdo. “I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people,” he answered. There were no policy statements, no reference to any specific plans to benefit the American people, just whatever it takes to win a few more fringe votes.

Tom Davis, a Republican former Congressman, attempted to explain Romney’s pursuit of Trump. “This is a money game and he’s behind the eight ball and I think that’s the only rationale.” Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson was more pointed: “What he is doing here is (playing to) the lunatic fringe. So now we combine paranoia, lunatic fringe and deep pockets. We see that he’s attracted, that is Mr. Romney to Mr. Trump, like a moth to a flame.”

(Sondheim: “Where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.”)

The 2012 presidential race stands now as a contest between Barack Obama, the serious leader who has demonstrated a continuous commitment to sound public policy with fidelity to the Constitutional principle of providing for the general welfare, and Mitt Romney, the venture capitalist with a seriously-flawed record as a public executive who has been catering to the country’s far right fringe personified by Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump. The nation needs statesmen, not clowns.


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