It’s been one of those Mondays.
First, Bill Daley resigned. Bill Daley has been Barack Obama’s chief of staff during 2011, which ranks in terms of Enjoyable Jobs somewhere just below dentist. Dentists get to meet all sorts of fascinating people but never get the chance to listen to anything that they are saying. Daley had the reverse problem.
Being the chief of staff, at the best of times, is not an easy job. But last year was the year when, for the most part, Barack Obama’s approval rating compared unfavorably to plague germs, because people had the sense that plague germs would not come into their place of employment, force them to register for socialist health plans, and end Christmas.
I am not saying that Daley didn’t love his job, but generally when you say, “I’d rather go back to Chicago in January than do this a day longer,” you aren’t having a grand time.
(I hear from at least one person that actually Chicago is lovely this time of year, making that last joke just another tragic casualty of climate change.)
It’s a strange pattern.
First Rahm. Now Daley. Somehow, after a little while serving as President Obama’s chief of staff, you get the sense that there is something in Chicago that you should be doing instead. At first you ignore it. But then, suddenly, come January, you come bursting out of the Oval Office screaming, “I can’t take it any more!” Metaphorically speaking, at least.
Jack Lew, President Obama’s budget director, is taking over.
“Chicago is only a phone call away,” Barack Obama astutely noted, which is also true of literally every other place on this earth, except my apartment, which has very poor reception.
In other news, Chris Christie, stumping for Mitt Romney, managed to shut down a heckler at a rally on Sunday with the political equivalent of a Your Mom joke. She yelled something indistinct, and he shouted back, “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart!”
If he’d yelled, “That’s what she said!” I would have let it pass, because we can all agree that that would have been awesome.
I thought the Republicans had gotten all that sex business out of their system at the Saturday night debate. This seems rude and uncalled for. Then again, there’s a fine line these days between “authentic” and “rude and uncalled for,” and Christie made his name as the former. In fact, his camp seems pleased with his performance. I wouldn’t know about this had Christie boosters not posted this video on his official YouTube channel, which, as Torie Bosch points out, is not exactly what you generally do with videos where your candidate yells fellatio jokes at people.
The best part, by far, of this footage, is Mitt Romney, who stands there nervously through the entire exchange. Are you familiar with the supercomputer Watson, designed by IBM to compete on Jeopardy! at a human level? Watson was only able to come up with answers by a complex string of computations that placed him within an acceptable margin of certainty. Mitt Romney, deciding whether or not to laugh, appears to be undergoing a similar process.
I think someone once said that politics makes strange bedfellows, but I thought they were referring to whatever Larry Craig was up to. Now there’s Chris Christie, making sex jokes, next Mitt Romney, whose idea of a sex joke is probably to tell someone that he or she has nice gametes and chuckle to himself.
Watching Romney watch Christie is captivating. Everything that Mitt Romney has spent his life avoiding, Chris Christie does without blinking. He yells. He cracks jokes. He makes ill-advised retorts to hecklers. You have the sense that Mitt Romney is waiting for someone to come along and politely say, “Chris, you aren’t allowed to do that.” But no one has.
But by far the best moment this week was when Todd Palin endorsed Newt Gingrich.
Why? Who knows why! Todd Palin described him as not one of the “Beltway types” and said that he’d “burst out of the political arena and touched many Americans,” so, honestly, my best guess is that Todd Palin thought he was endorsing someone else. Fortunately, this won’t cause problems for too many. This endorsement matters to two people — one of them is Todd Palin, and the other one is not registered to vote and lives in a snowmobile.