The Washington Post

Mitt Romney self-deports

Holler! (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

I don’t want to spend all my time making jokes about how Romney needs to upgrade his software. There are better things to joke about, like Newt Gingrich’s whole life. But Romney keeps walking into these things.

First there was the memorable, “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in.  That's the America I love.” What was that, a recursive function?

And the bar is not high. This is a guy who showed up at his victory speech in Iowa and recited the verses of “America the Beautiful.” “Just one more verse,” he kept saying. He got through three before anyone managed to stop him.

And then Romney started talking about self-deportation.

This probably makes sense from Romney’s perspective. Illegal immigrants, realizing that they have broken the law and cannot get work, begin calmly and quietly removing themselves from the country. It’s what he would do in their position.

No wonder Bain was able to achieve all those savings! Say what you will about self-deportation: It’s very cost-effective. You don’t have to use a single border agent. You just have to calmly explain to people that it is irrational for them to remain in the country, and they will nod politely and head back whence they came. It’s completely logical.

Just wait until he unveils his other initiatives. The Romney self-arrest plan will get those criminals off our streets! “They have to realize the error of their ways, number one,” Romney will explain, “and then, number two, we have to be able to get them the handcuffs and the equipment that they need, and number three, they have to be committed to making America the America that Americans believe is the real America again.”

He’s got a self-education program ready for kids. Once students realize that they aren’t learning anything, they will have to take schooling into their own hands! “Get them out of the classrooms with our struggling teachers, number one,” Romney will say. “O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years, number two.”

He’s got a self-paving program for roads. (“All you have to do is encourage them, and you’d be amazed!”)

That’s Romney all over. Creating efficiencies, trying new things, putting the odd supernumerary soul out of work. Who needs humorists? Romney’s even got a self-parodying program underway.

More on the Florida debate from PostOpinions

Stromberg: Romney lands his punches

Rubin: Gingrich falters without a cheering section

Bernstein: An awful night for Gingrich

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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