Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mitt Zelig

Both Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert were entranced last night with the latest Romney transformation—-into a grits-eating good ole boy down South—-in his road show revival of “Zelig,” Woody Allen’s classic about a human chameleon.

The new version has a twist. Instead of a poor immigrant boy who wills himself into becoming like people he sees in newsreels because he has no life of his own worth living, the Mitt protagonist is trying to move in the other direction, downscale to dialect territory.

It didn’t work with the governor of Alabama, who voted for Santorum today, and like everything else he does, Romney’s y’all act was clunky enough to inspire his tutor Jeff Foxworthy to caution.

When the candidate pandered a joke at his own expense ("I’m looking forward to going hunting with you sometime and you can actually show me which end of the rifle to point"), Foxworthy responded, "That sounds even more dangerous than Cheney if you ask me. We may start with a BB gun and work our way up to a rifle."

As the campaign moves on, we have many more Romneys ahead: In California, Mitt in a “Treasure of Sierra Madre” sombrero to remind Latino voters he was born in Mexico. In New York, to eat pizza with a knife and fork like his new best friend Donald Trump and drive Jon Stewart crazy. In Texas, to fall off his horse while trying to rope voters away from Newt Gingrich and his new best friend (and possible running mate) Rick Perry.

For a “Zelig” finale, Woody Allen’s character flew across the Atlantic in a small plane upside down. Start the propellers!

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