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Elliot: What exactly is Romney (not) taking credit for?

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

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Mosquitoes, Michael Specter cheerily tells us in the July 9&16 New Yorker, “have been responsible for half the deaths in human history.”

(He cites Researchers estimate …” — a bit vague, I agree with you — but he has been writing quite well about science for some time now, so I think we can accept it. He has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998, and you don’t hang around The New Yorker for that long if you don’t know what you’re talking about. The New Yorker is a bit stuffy about that sort of thing.)

You have to admit, being responsible for half the human deaths in history makes you a bit more than a mere pest.

Specter concentrates on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for spreading dengue fever and yellow fever. (No, I do not know how to pronounce the Latin name; Latin is Greek to me. I suspect “aegypti” has something to do with Egypt, but then, what’s going on in Egypt is also pretty much Greek to me, not to dwell on Shakespeare’s phrase in Hamlet.)

Specter also notes that Aedes aegypti probably arrived in North America by way of the slave-trade boats in the 1600s. 

Talk about history coming back to bite us.

I’ve been thinking about mosquitoes (yes, that’s the proper spelling; nice of you to ask) lately because of all the Republicans buzzing around.

No, I am not comparing Republicans to disease-spreading mosquitoes. Get your mind out of the gutter (although I admit, minds seem to love relaxing in gutters).

I would never denigrate mosquitoes like that.

But take Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor will be buzzing around us at the very least until November.

One of the interesting things about the former Massachusetts governor is that he runs away from so much that he did when he was the Massachusetts governor. Assault-weapons ban? He was for that then, against it now. Health care for just about everyone? For it then, against it now. Gay rights? For them when he ran against Ted Kennedy for Senate, against them now.

He also once famously said the Boston Red Sox won the Super Bowl in 2004, which, of course, is impossible, given that the Red Sox play baseball (some days) and the Super Bowl is a football thing. (Just trust me on this one.)

So, what are we to think? We can’t trust anything Romney says? It’s all just buzz, buzz, buzz?

The Mitt loves to talk about all the jobs he created as a businessman.

Well.

Romney cheerily takes credit for job creation at Bain after 1999, especially at Staples, but when it’s pointed out that Bain outsourced a bunch of jobs at companies it controlled after 1999, he says, Wait minute, my friend. I wasn’t there. I was off saving the Salt Lake City Olympics.

So he was there, but he wasn’t there. Was there, wasn’t there. Science fiction bumps into real life, such as any of us know it. Maybe we could ask Borges.

Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop — Romney sounds like a summer in downtown Iowa City.

Not to borrow (or steal — talent borrows, genius steals, as Mark Twain once famously said, not to suggest anything) another writer’s phrase, but to borrow from Gertrude Stein:

There’s no there, there.


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