Quiet daze in cliché

BY BEAU ELLIOT | APRIL 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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So who knew Mitt Romney was an expert on cookies? I'm pretty sure most of us had the idea he was an expert on air-tight dog kennels perched on car roofs and firing people, then bragging about it.

But there was the Mitt recently in suburban Pittsburgh, according to the New York Times' Michael Barbaro, perched (there's that word again; it's beginning to get a bit fishy) at a picnic table that was not air-tight, given that it was outside. But from the looks of Romney, it was most certainly hair-tight.

Romney was doing one of those "moments" — often derided as photo-ops by the media who participate in them, giving rise to the question, Why are you media even there? — which leads to Gertrude Stein's famous observation, "There is no there there," probably the only famous quotation with three "theres" there.

(She was writing about Oakland, Calif., and never had the luck to encounter Mitt Romney. I think the same could be said of him.)

Meanwhile, back at the neither here nor there, Romney was sitting at the picnic table with a group of regular Americans to demonstrate that he is a regular guy. You know, the regular sort of guy whose wife owns two Cadillacs. The regular sort of guy whose father once ran for the GOP nomination for president, and was governor of Michigan, and was a major exec in the auto industry. That would be the same auto industry that the Mitt accuses President Obama of saving.

You know. Just regular. (We'll just ignore the $12 million addition to the second or third home in Southern California. Any regular American could have a second or third home in Southern California and want to plop a $12 million addition on it.)

(I know that if I had the money, I'd want two Cadillacs, just so I could use the second one if the first one had a smudge on a tire or something.)

So, according to the Times report, Romney looks at the array of snacks spread out on the picnic table — you know, chips, pretzels, cookies — and says to one of the women, "I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven, bakery, or whatever."

You know, we regular guys insult women about their cookie-baking ability all the time. Women love that sort of male attention.

The bakery that created the cookies — Bethel Bakery of, you guessed it, Bethel, Pa. — was incredibly amused. As owner John Walsh put it, according to the Times, "I thought, oh my God, how can this guy actually make that statement? He needs to be educated about the quality differences."

Walsh was referring to the 7-Eleven comment. And I can understand his being upset — we regular guys never buy cookies at 7-Eleven. We go to Deluxe in Iowa City.

(Actually, we regular guys never use the grammatically correct "his being," because it sounds East Coast or French or something. We say "him being.")

The Romney picnic coincided with the Mitt deploring the closing of a drywall factory in Ohio under Obama's watch.

The only problem here was, according to many, many reports, the drywall factory shut down during President George W. Bush's term.

We regular guys may not know much, but we know the difference between Bush and Obama.

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