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Posted at 04:46 PM ET, 10/15/2012

Mitt Romney cancels on ‘The View’


It might have been even less comfortable! (Charles Dharapak - Associated Press)
Well, Mitt Romney is off “The View.”

The campaign claims there’s a scheduling challenge and is sending Ann Romney by herself. Is it really scheduling? Is he spooked by the group he once called “sharp-tongued” women?

Or, after President Obama had appeared on “The View” multiple times and Romney had gone on “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” did Romney suddenly realize it was unpresidential to appear on daytime television?

Difficult to say.

If he’s scared, it makes sense.

I have been a woman for more than 20 years, and I find the prospect of talking to myself terrifying.

If one prospect makes the boldest quail, it is the prospect of talking to “sharp-tongued” women. Especially on television. Bad enough that people keep forcing female moderators on the debates, as though women were qualified journalists, capable of asking thoughtful follow-up questions and keeping the discussion in check. Surely someone is getting them confused with some other group not currently being instructed on what to do with their innards by men in large chunks of the country. They seem so competent and rational that they cannot possibly be the hysterical wildebeests I keep hearing described.

One woman moderating a debate is bad enough. More than one starts to look like some kind of conspiracy. Sure, Candy Crowley can show up, but she’d better not try any funny business like asking questions. Both campaigns have strongly implied that this would be beyond the pale.

So a group of “sharp-tongued women”? Is “group” the term? Surely not. Surely “gaggle” or “coven.”

Let Ann handle this one. Ann has demonstrated her grasp of how Women work. You just have to shout “I love Women!” and fling buzzwords and platitudes at them. Women are a monolith, and all you have to do is shout certain words to get their attention and votes. Your idea of what these words are differs greatly depending on your side of the aisle. But no one really knows for certain.

Much of the War on Women concept relies on the idea that if you just locate the right high-pitched pipe and blow it loudly enough, all women will stop what they are doing and come follow you to the polls. But for a monolith, women seem to disagree strongly with one another on all sorts of things and weigh different issues differently. We’re almost like people. It’s disconcerting.

So really, any group of women is a high-risk setting.

But I think this is overstating the case. Maybe this isn’t a bad choice because they’re the Ladies of “The View.” Maybe it’s a bad choice because it’s Daytime Television.

The first law of talking is that anyone given a microphone and sufficient time will make a career-ending gaffe. And this tends to happen faster on daytime TV, somehow. For candidates, the scale is off. Discussing serious issues feels somehow overdressed. Discussing frivolous ones gets taken out of context later by the hungry media, and then everyone thinks you were throwing a press conference about Snooki. Also, you might wind up shouting at Whoopi Goldberg, and that would be unfortunate for all concerned.

The better part of valor is always to say nothing. But once you’ve agreed to appear, that looks craven. We already know what Romney thinks about Snooki. How much worse could it be?

Quite a bit worse, come to think of it. Mitt Romney and daytime television go together like geese and airplane engines. All in all, this was a sad day for the American Gaffe, as a massive vein of potential awkwardness was shuttered.

And the only thing worse than opting not to appear on “The View” lest you make a grotesque misstep is appearing on “The View” and doing just that.

By  |  04:46 PM ET, 10/15/2012

 
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