Petri grows up fast: In Saturday’s Washington Post, Alexandra Petri scolded Mitt Romney for the previous day’s birther-tinged remark.
To her credit, Petri scolded Romney for what he said. But somehow, she knew the remark was a joke—even though the audience seemed to applaud the remark more than it seemed to laugh. Somehow, she also knew this, expressed as she ended her column:
PETRI (8/25/12): This was off the cuff. The crowd liked it. Birther jokes are not new on the campaign trail. So it is easy to see how it slipped out. “Ha,” you can picture Mitt thinking. “The president’s birth certificate is a topic that people sometimes make jokes about! I, too, will make such a joke!”What made Petri think she knew that the remark was “off the cuff?” That the remark “slipped out?”
Birtherism itself is a joke. And not a particularly amusing one. It’s the kind of embarrassing joke you wish people would stop telling.
Was Romney's remark off the cuff? Like the all-knowing columnist, we don’t know. That said, it didn’t look or sound off the cuff to us, although it may have been.
Why would Romney deliberately make that remark? Surely, Petri can think of possible reasons. We can think of several reasons, starting with Todd Akin.
(The base doesn't like the dissing of Akin. Let's throw a bone to the base.)
The youngsters really do grow up fast, as we recall on back-to-school day. They may grow up especially fast when they’re being paid good fough and being made part of the club.
They know which things they’re supposed to say. They know which things they mustn’t.