There's a concept in robotics and computer simulation known as the "uncanny valley," which asserts that when robots imperfectly mimic the look and behavior of humans, the response is one of repulsion rather than empathy.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, each attempt at portraying a human American has left him tumbling into an uncanny Grand Canyon. Such was the case in New Hampshire, where Mittbot tried to get past the awkwardness of a $10,000 bet he offered to Rick Perry during Saturday's Iowa debate, with a charming anecdote about his struggle to maintain basic robotic hygiene in the midst of smelly Frenchmen…
Rushing to fend off the sudden strength of Newt Gingrich — a candidate who usually avoids delving into his own personal story, and has vulnerabilities there due to his two divorces — Romney has engaged in a humanizing effort. He's casting himself as more personable, connecting with the economic struggles of the voters despite his own multi-million dollar fortune, and even taking a new route to talking about American exceptionalism.
"Most of the apartments I lived in had no refrigerators," Romney told a crowd of 300 at a VFW hall here Sunday afternoon, launching into a long anecdote about life as a Mormon missionary in France that touched on the difficulties of shopping before every meal and living in buildings without a shower.
"If we were lucky, we actually bought a hose and we stuck it on the sink and we’d hold there with the hose and the big bucket underneath us in the kitchen and wash ourselves that way," Romney said. "And so, I lived in a way that people of lower middle income in France lived and said to myself, "'Wow, I sure am lucky to have been born in the United States of America.'"
So far, so good, but then…
"A number of the apartments I lived in when I lived there didn’t have toilets," Romney said. "We had instead the little pads on the ground, okay? You know how that works, all right. There was a chain behind you with a bucket — it was a bucket affair. I had not experienced one of those in the United States."
Damnit Mitt, TMI! No one in the Republican primary electorate is interested in hearing your stories about pooping into a hole, unless you back it up with a policy of forcing working-class schoolkids to clean up after you.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: France, Mitt Romney, Money, New Hampshire, Primaries, Republicans