Believe me - Mitt Romney is the perfect man to lead America
A good president needs credulity. And a man who believes the Book of Mormon will believe anything
WHAT'S the main thing we want from the President of the United States? Not what America wants. Never mind that. Those buggers get a vote. I mean the rest of us, the 99.6 per cent of the world who don't get to vote for the man who has the power really to screw things up for everyone.
Here's my vote: credulity.
That's what the President of America needs, above all. Never mind decisiveness. Never mind moral principles, political skill, the low cunning of a weasel and the self-belief of a ratsnake. What he needs is credulity. He needs to believe stuff.
In particular, he needs to believe nonsense. While everyone else is sniggering behind their hands, the President needs to be nodding seriously.
He has to nod seriously while the Israelis tell him they're going to bomb Iran because they're making nukes and they're going to push all the Israelis into the sea and dance as they watch them drown.
He has to nod seriously while the Palestinians tell him that it's all the Israelis' fault and every time an accord has almost been reached, the fact that a bunch of missiles and human bombs has zoomed across the border is just a coincidence.
He has to nod seriously while China postures, while bankers lie, while lobbyists shill. He has to listen to slit-mouthed porkers talk horseshit about the advantages of private healthcare provision, to thin-lipped economists too pussy to admit they haven't a clue, to fundamentalists and revisionists of every kidney, to racists and pro-lifers and pro-choicers and hawks and doves and crooks and frauds and, all the while, nod seriously.
And he has to do this for at least four years of daily ear-bending from people who in, any decent society, would be dragged beyond the city limits roped to the fender of a Jeep.
Imagine if the President of the United States stopped being credulous and started behaving rationally: for example, asking the IMF to name him one case in which their intervention had actually worked?
Disaster would be only a matter of time.
One day, he would simply find that he had had enough. And he would think "Well, fuck you," and press The Button. Boom.
Presidential credulity keeps us from annihilation. That's how it is.
So now, as the USA political system screws itself (and its electorate) up to choose a new president, I offer them a fine if underrated tool to help identify the most credulous man for the job.
That tool is: textual analysis. Not of their speeches. To hell with their speeches. Their speeches are all ad and no product. Far more useful is analysis of stuff they believe. And by that token, my man is Mitt Romney.
Yes, he is, as Alexander Cockburn wrote this week, fundamentally unlikeable. No, Super Tuesday was not a triumphant Republican landslide. Yes, he did make himself look silly by telling his competitors to throw in the towel. Yes, he has an MBA, was a management consultant, yes he advised Monsanto, yes, he has a son called Tagg, and, no, he hasn't the faintest idea what life is like for most people.
But he's a Mormon.
He's apparently quite a serious and devout Mormon. This means that he has read the Doctrine and Pearl of Great Price and, of course The Book of Mormon, which is the most important of the lot. Mark Twain said it was "like chloroform in print" but Romney, we must assume, believes it.
Now is not the time to argue about respecting other people's sincerely-held religious beliefs, except to say that holding sincere religious beliefs should be an immediate bar to holding public office.
Now is, however, the time to point out that The Book of Mormon is a fraud, repeating mis-translations and interpolations from the King James version, long since subsequently corrected (e.g. 3 Nephi 12:27, dudes). It begins with a rambling transplant from Isaiah and then, when Smith gets into the swing of it, continues as a barking parody of 17th century formal English larded with solecisms and anachronisms. The English it pastiches was designed for clarity. This is designed to obscure.
In other words, it's even more bollocks than the Bible, and I speak as an agnostic Catholic semi-Jewish atheist, so no stranger to mutually incompatible positions.
But The Book of Mormon defeated me.
You have to admire these people. Despite everything - despite even Joseph Smith's forgetting to mention in his diary at the time that God had paid him a house call (which even doctors don't do) - they believe it.
That's the sort of credulity we so need. A President of the United States who can believe stuff that even Christians can't.
After that, the Middle East, China, the world economy, nuclear proliferation, the EU, bankers, all of it, are a piece of cake.
Romney. He's the man. You can believe me. God says I'm right.
- The Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0143105534