Mitt Romney’s Reality Distortion Field

Steve Jobs — to reference Apple a third time — was infamous for his ability to bend perception to his will. Whatever your conventional wisdom, whatever your reasoning, spend five minutes in a room with him, and he’d have you thinking otherwise.

It soon became known as his “reality distortion field”, and because Steve Jobs had World-Historical Instincts, he usually was right. Might have been the acid he dropped.

In preznidential politics, the closest we’ve seen to Jobs-quality reality-bending in living memory was Ronald Reagan. Had you watched his second debate with hapless Jimmy Carter, you would have immediately understood, as we did, that America wanted the charming charlatan to lead it, that Our Exceptional Nation preferred to live a lie rather than suffer in truth.

Reagan won by projecting confidence and optimism — never mind the reality — and successful candidates have followed his lead ever since. It’s not as easy as it looks. Reagan had decades of practice, shilling for one group or another. He knew how to work a room, and a crowd. Ronald Reagan was a natural.

Unlike Mitt Romney.

Watching Romney is like watching a Steve Jobs underling give a product demonstration. You see how they’ve studied the moves, the language, the cadence, even the clothing of The Master, but they’re missing the spark, the ineffable quality that made Steve Jobs who he was. You can’t just pretend to be Jobs or Reagan — as Mingus said, you better git it in your soul.

But the jury remains out whether Mitt even has one.

What remains on display is not a man, but a shell of a man, somebody who cannot speak in public without lying, because he has no interest in truth. All politicians lie, of course, but most of them consciously lie, or what we politely call “spin”. Mitt doesn’t spin. He doesn’t present facts selectively, or package them misleadingly. Mitt Romney is an unabashed fantasist. He invents worlds as casually as a lazy science-fiction writer.

And then he tries to pass them off as the world we live in.

Unlike Reagan, we’ve seen no indication that Romney believes his own bullshit. Instead, everything we’ve seen suggests that Romney believes that we’ll believe it, despite all evidence to the contrary. And that is a genuine accomplishment: Mitt Romney has created a Reality Distortion Field so hermetic, it includes only himself.


The thing about Reagan is that when the Gipper talked about personally participating in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps (something that was physically impossible for him to have done) he really believed it, so you wanted to believe it too: OK, senile old man who believes he served in WWII under Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, I’ll play your game if only because I too want to believe that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and Sgt. Rock are real!

But Mittens has a hollow core. There’s nothing in there but the silent vaccuum of space.

As Paul Krugman said of Dubya: It’s not that he’s stupid. It’s that he thinks we are.

When your base is mostly made up of the Teabaggers… it’s hard not to.

@ManchuCandidate: I think the teabaggers have figured out that he’s nothing but hair and teeth. I’m not sure what his base is, beyond the banks and insurance companies.

True. I was thinking more along the GOP in general.

But it shows how bad one must really be to not fool teabaggers.

Sarah Palin, Cain!, Perry, Trump, etc.

Meanwhile, in admitting that he pays about 15% of his income in federal taxes (unlike suckers like you and me), Mitones yet again gets his silver-plated foot stuck in his mouth:

Romney said during a press conference, “Because my last 10 years, I’ve…my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, whether ordinary income or earned annually. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speakers fees from time to time, but not very much.

According to his personal financial disclosure report released in August, Romney was paid more than $370,000 for speaking appearances in the 2011-2011 filing period.

emphasis mine

@SanFranLefty: To be fair, I’m sure that to Romney “more than $370,000” is “not very much.” Chump change, really.

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