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Toys R Our Politicians

If Mitt Romney is like an Etch A Sketch, what toy is Rick Santorum like?

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

March 28, 2012 - 12:00 am
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So Mitt Romney has a problem with people thinking his political views constantly change, and then his own campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom comes up with the perfect analogy by comparing Romney’s campaign to an Etch A Sketch.

By the way, if you need a spokesman but are on a budget, I know one who is going to be available for cheap for a while.

I realize, though, that some younger readers may not even know what an Etch A Sketch is, as it’s rather pointless in the era of iPads and Xboxes, and it wasn’t even that great before. It’s this toy where you draw on a screen by turning two knobs, one moving the cursor up and down and the other moving the cursor left and right. I, like most children, could only ever manage to draw stairs on it. The only real fun was resetting the screen, which you did by shaking it really hard, but there were other toys that were much more fun to shake, like the one I made myself by putting cats in a burlap sack.

So is Romney like an Etch A Sketch? Maybe. But to reset him, someone would have to run up and shake him, but he already has Secret Service protection, and it’s their job to make sure that doesn’t happen. So maybe his resetting is not really a big concern.

Anyway, all this talk about the Etch A Sketch made me realize what dumb toys I had as a kid. You see, I’m from probably the last generation to play with stupid toys like the Etch A Sketch and Lincoln Logs and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, because this was during the dark ages before the days of sophisticated video games that you can basically spend your whole life playing. I did have video games as a young kid, but they were on the Atari, which had pixels as big as your fist and boring, repetitive gameplay. It wasn’t like Skyrim, where you fight dragons and join the Thieves Guild and the like. Instead, it was jump over a guy. Then jump over the next guy. And then the next guy. And you and whatever you were jumping over were weird, blocky shapes you couldn’t even really make out. So eventually you’d get bored of Atari and choose between playing with dumb toys and playing outside. So obviously dumb toys.

Since these toys were stupid and pointless, they do make good metaphors for politicians. I don’t know if Etch A Sketch would be my choice for Romney, though. Obviously, he’s been compared a lot to a Ken doll because he’s so plastic-like, but he reminds me most of Pick-Up Sticks. Pick-Up Sticks were never anyone’s favorite game. But if all your other toys were broken or your parents took them away because they were weird or dangerous, then Pick Up Sticks was a perfectly serviceable game, and you’d go ahead and play it… though you’d rather play with something much more exciting.

As for the other candidates, Rick Santorum makes me think of Bible Trivia. It’s good to know your Bible, but sometimes you want to play something else. And sometimes you think you’re getting that with Santorum, but he always ends up back at Bible Trivia.

Newt Gingrich… well, he doesn’t remind me of a kid’s toy. He makes me think of a modified version of Russian Roulette. You put one bullet in the chamber of a revolver, spin the cylinder, then point it at your enemy and pull the trigger. Then you point it at yourself and pull the trigger. Then you point it at random passersby and pull the trigger.  With Newt, you know he’s going to eventually go off and take someone out, but you just don’t know whom. Maybe he’ll launch a great attack on Barack Obama. Or he’ll go after some moderator at a debate. Or maybe instead he’ll attack Paul Ryan and his budget. It could be anyone! What an exciting game… one your parents really don’t want you playing.

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