WashPost Humorist Winds Up Feminist Pal to Rip Romney As a 'Terrible, Terrible Date'

On Saturday, The Washington Post published several letters from readers who were upset by Philip Rucker's report last week on how Mitt Romney was tending his loser wounds in his "moneyed and pristine enclave of San Diego." Even when Republicans crawl away and stop criticizing Heroic Barack, they can't lay off. On Sunday, Washington Post humorist (and former Style section editor) Gene Weingarten penned a nasty column in which his feminist friend Gina Barreca ripped into Romney for creeping out single women voters, who preferred Obama.

Romney, we're told, is a "terrible, terrible date" who would be "abusive to the busboy" and grow petulant is you didn't order what he urged you to try. "I would sooner go out with Gilbert Gottfried," she insisted. As if a feminist who sizes you up as a creep from afar is a dream date? It was a rant, and it wasn't funny -- unless you're a Romney-hater:

Gene: The big issues were abortion and contraceptives.

Gina: That was the public face of the big issue. The real big issue is that Mitt Romney is a terrible, terrible date, and single women, who are forced into the perpetual ghastly state of potential date appraisal, sensed that immediately.

Gene: He is rich, handsome and genteel!

Gina: Yep, he is the guy your mom sets you up with. He looks fine on paper. And he cleans up real good. When he’s wearing a tux, no one would mistake him for a waiter. And he’s solid. You’ll never get called up in the middle of the night because he’s drunk. So, yeah, Ma approves. And you go out with him, and then you have to spend an agonizing hour trying to explain to her why it didn’t work and never will, and she is disappointed in you, and you cry. I would sooner go out with Gilbert Gottfried.

Gene: Wow.

Gina: Danny DeVito. Alan Greenspan. Flounder, from “Animal House.” Marcus Bachmann, Michele’s verrry suspiciously gay-hating husband, who at least would dance with me. I would sooner go out with Mr. Dithers, Dagwood’s boss. I’d sooner work for Mr. Dithers.

Gene: He kicks people in the rump!

Gina: At least he’s in touch with his emotions. I’d take him over Romney in the conference room and the bedroom. All you had to do was watch Romney discussing “binders full of women,” and you understood, intuitively, where women stood with him: We’re a category of thing to be held in containers and accessed when needed, roughly the same as pistachio nuts or lock washers. Romney is the guy who takes you out to his club, because he’s comfortable there. Then he either orders for you or tells you what’s good and then gets petulant if you don’t order it, because he’s already TOLD you what’s good, and it’s the chateaubriand, it is NOT the pasta primavera. He’ll be chummy with the maitre d’ — he respects status — but abusive to the busboy. With you, he’ll be extremely chivalrous. He will pull out your chair. He will elaborately walk to the passenger side door, open it, seat you and close the door before getting behind the wheel, even if time is short.

Gene: What’s wrong with good manners?

Gina: Nothing, but chivalry is the opposite of good manners. It’s infantilizing. It’s contempt masquerading as politeness. The chivalrous guy is establishing roles; he is the protector, you are Limoges [porcelain]. Your job is to let him be masterful. In my experience, when you are standing on a pedestal, there’s not much room to move around. That’s by design. 

Apparently, Gina prefers dates who treat her like dirt, perhaps leave her behind to hail a cab ride home. The column ends with her joke [?] that single women voters' dream date in 2016 will be "Elizabeth Warren."

Weingarten was one of those jokesters who simply could not locate anything mock-able about Obama. When conservatives complained in September when he ripped Romney in a column titled "The returns of the zombie," he wrote a column mocking the conservatives who wanted to get at Obama's college transcripts (the way the Post published a story on Mitt's alleged high-school haircut bullying.)

In the original column, Gene imagined what Romney was hiding in his undisclosed tax returns, like: “He owns an orphanage full of children with the same organ-tissue types of all his family members.” And: “His household staff includes a jester, a food taster and, for Ann, a lady-in-waiting. He deducts the cost of whips for flogging the servants.”

This is as close as Weingarten came to an equal-time Obama joke in 2012 in remembering the elections of his lifetime:

2008, Obama  vs. McCain. In this election, America broke a barrier once thought insurmountable, as people from all walks of life transcended their differences and came together to elect a president who has dunked a basketball.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis