The Dog Days of Romney

It’s August, and the doldrums of summer have set in like barbecue stains on the chin of Rush Limbaugh in the days following a prolonged Oxycontin and Buffalo wings embargo.

Because our news media, in the Year of Our Lord 2012, have the attention span of a microcephalic ferret, every daily tracking poll, every minor gaffe, and every fleeting mini-scandal will momentarily be given the kind of attention that was once reserved for epic events like the Kennedy assassination or the network television premiere of Animal House. And then, before you know it, they’ll move on to the next flatus of inanity.

That’s why it’s best to ignore what’s happening on the national front before the conventions commence (Aug. 27 for the GOPsters and Sept. 3 for the Dems). It’s like the NFL exhibition season. Once the real bullets start flying, those cotton-candy days of summer will soon be forgotten. Unless members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir start showing up under the floorboards of Bain Capital covered in perfectly shaped, Anglo-Saxon bite marks and vintage "Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Ford" bumper stickers, nothing will really be decided until after NBC cancels at least three of its must-see hits of the fall season.

That said, there’s no reason we can’t enjoy the circus.

Following are five things I’m looking forward to before it all comes to a gruesome conclusion on Nov. 6. Just don’t ask me to forecast the final result.

1. I look forward to the debates, when Mitt Romney will be forced to denounce his own successful health care reforms while embracing the economic policies of George W. Bush. Alas, such is your fate when you dance with the Tea Party.

2. I look forward to the next Mitt Romney super-gaffe. He’s already regaled us with tales of his wife’s two Cadillacs and all the NASCAR team owners he rubs elbows with, but I just know there’s another big one slowly burrowing out of his brain that will make him sound even more out of touch. Indeed, there are times when Romney sounds like he’s completely unaware that he depends on the votes of regular working people who average just one Cadillac per family member.

3. I look forward to pundits and politicians overreacting to poll numbers. In the summer of 1988, Americans were apparently convinced that George H.W. Bush was a wimpy milquetoast silver spoon who couldn’t hold the Gipper’s jockstrap. Michael Dukakis, whose head appeared to shrink in relation to his eyebrows on an almost daily basis throughout the campaign, was 17 points ahead before Lee Atwater essentially made Willie Horton the Democrat’s running mate. The big blow, however, came when Dukakis put on that tank helmet, which instantly transformed him into an H.R. PufnStuf character. The rest, of course, is history.

4. I look forward to the Republican National Convention, when Ronald Reagan will be mentioned approximately 8,253 times and George W. Bush will be listed somewhere in the official program between the thank-you to Barry Goldwater’s daughter and the 2-by-3 Applebee’s ad.

5. I look forward to the spin machines of both parties absolutely butchering the facts until the truth looks a little like Bruce Jenner’s face after his plastic surgeon started operating on him with the help of a funhouse mirror, a pair of Play-Doh scissors, and a quart and a half of Peruvian mescaline. Hey, it’s still the truth but ¦ ugh.

Of course, a lot of the political spin will be focused on the economy – namely who’s to blame for the slow recovery, who’s best suited to put us on a more prosperous path, and which policies are the most likely to win the future.

To that I can only say, watch the movie Inside Job if you haven’t already. Now there’s a nice summer homework assignment. Enjoy, and see you in September.

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