Recently Mitt Romney‘s own communication director, Eric Fehrnstrom, had an unintentionally candid moment that lead to full disclosure. Political comedian, John Fugelsang, who is part of Stephanie Miller’s hilarious Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour was a guest contributor on CNN and asked Fehrnstrom “Is there a concern that the pressure from Gingrich and Santorum might force the Governor to tack so far to the right that it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?”, to which Fehrnstrom replied “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all of over again.” A simple anaology that has to be the single biggest gaffe of the Romney camp’s campaign yet!
I actually believe his explanation, that he was referring to the fact that the hyperbolic political theatre used in pursuit of the nomination gets replaced (or erased, as in the shaking of an Etch-a-Sketch) with a different approach when it comes time for (presumably) Romney to take on President Obama in the general election in the fall. I’m sure he’s trying to get people to quote him now, saying “Wait! I didn’t mean that as it sounded, and certainly not as you are quoting me!” Too late, the horses are out the gate and stampeding. Santorum has seized on this with full show and tell, actually carrying around an Etch-A-Sketch to illustrate his point. Okay Rick, we know you don’t stray far from your talking points, you just correct your mumbling and poor grammer after the fact with bogus explanations like “I didn’t say ‘black people’ I’m pretty sure I said ‘blah people’.” Oh, and staying on message was SO effective in Puerto Rico. Romney beat you like you had stolen something after you told the people of Puerto Rico that if they wanted statehood they need to ‘Speaka da English’ first. Santorum and Gingrich too, have seized upon this and are milking it for all it’s worth.
The verbal gaffe using an Etch-A-Sketch to make a point isn’t even the most fascinating part of this equation. See if you can follow the fuzzy math behind the iconic toy itself:
Ohio Art first introduced the Etch-A-Sketch in 1960. The little red box that looked like a minature TV screen with two white knobs, proved to be hours of fun for gifted budding artists. For those of us relegated to stick people at best, it’s entertainment value lasted all of 10 minutes. The simplicity of the design was sheer genius; the toy makers managed to keep the same basic makeup of the toy consistent for over 50 years. Too bad prices don’t remain consistent for that long. It was originally manufactured in Bryan, Ohio. The retail price back then was approximately $3.99. According to The New York Times, if it had kept pace with the consumer price index over the years, today it should sell for about $23.69. Despite the march of the electronic age, sales and demand for the little toy has remained consistent. This is, no doubt, due to my generation’s fond childhood memories; we want our little ones to experience the seemingly endless hours of fun (or moments of sheer frustration, depending upon artistic ability) that we enjoyed.
Here’s where it gets “You can’t make this stuff up” weird: To keep pace with the demands of major sellers like Walmart and Toys R Us, the manufacturers eventually had to shutter the operation in Ohio, laying off the unionized workers who, by the year 2000, had collectively bargained their way up to the generous hourly wage of $9.00. The jobs were shipped overseas to China. Workers there tried to strike against the slave wages of .24 cents an hour, exhausting work schedules and horrid living conditions, hoping to gain at least the minimum wage of .33 cents an hour –they were promplty fired. The good folks who distribute the toy here in the U.S. say they feel bad about the way workers are treated in China but they are responding to pressure from their major buyers, who demand low prices.
One of their major buyers is Toy R Us.
Toys R Us is now owned by Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney still has a large financial stake in, but no longer runs, Bain Capital.
How can Romney, who in the private sector has been responsible for shipping so many American jobs overseas, EVER say he can fix the economy or create jobs?
No matter how many times I try to figure out that equation, the math just doesn’t add up.
Not one to miss a chance at follow up, John Fugelsang, the comedian who asked the question that lead to all the shake up, said that an Etch-A-Sketch isn’t the toy he would have chosen to draw an anology of how politically flexible Romney is, he personally would have chosen a Transformer.