A Tale of Two Candidates(The Al Smith Dinner)

I really wasn’t going to write about this, I thought that my support for President Obama had me overreacting just a bit. Also, my reluctance to flex my rhetorical biceps on the subject was colored by everyone on the cable landscape treating the whole affair as a momentary cease fire between two men who don’t really like each other all that much. A lighthearted gathering where two people running for the highest office in the land got a chance to show off their barely seen comedic side. But you know, something kept bugging me about that Al Smith dinner a few nights back – the same way that having a winning retort two days too late bugs you.

If anyone has ever seen these Alfred E. Smith dinners, the New York based fundraiser for Catholic charities, both candidates get up there and perform stand-up routines to the best of their abilities. Sure, shots are thrown at each other but they are of the pedestrian nature at best. Most of the routines delivered are more self deprecation than anything. That’s what bothered me about Mitt Romney’s routine, he knew all of that and decided to go all in regardless. His act felt like he just took parts of his campaign stump speech and simply added punchlines. Where the President playfully chided Mitt Romney and took most of his allotted time making fun of himself, Romney felt the need to make cheap political points disguised as humor.

Listen, we all know that Mitt Romney is a dick. Hell, you can’t find a member of Mitt Romney’s family who isn’t a dick. But those routines were truly a window into who these men truly are: One, magnanimous, secure in himself to be mercilessly self deprecating. The other, a craven political opportunist, willing to take a healthy shit on decorum just for the sake of cheap political point scoring. I have to ask, why is this thing close again?

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