Mitt Romney has often been compared to Thurston Howell III, the upper-crust castaway played by Jim Backus on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island.
But I think Romney more closely resembles a different fictional millionaire. Howell enjoyed his wealth, but he also realized he was dependent for survival on Gilligan and the Skipper, the blue-collar sailors who crewed the S.S. Minnow. A better analogue to Romney is Judge Elihu Smails, the uptight president of Bushwood Country Club in the movie Caddyshack. Judge Smails truly believed he was superior to everyone who could not afford greens fees at his golf course, and it showed in his manner toward caddies, waiters …and even fellow members who didn’t meet his standards of decorum.
(Actor Michael O'Keefe, who played Danny Noonan in Caddyshack, agrees. "Romney is the Judge Smails (Caddyshack) of Presidential candidates," O'Keefe Tweeted Tuesday. "And I should know cuz I'm the original Noonan.")
To prove our point, we’ve collected quotes from Judge Smails and quotes from Governor Romney. See you if you can tell who said what. (The answers are below.)
1. “It’s easy to grin / When your ship comes in / And you’ve got the stock market beat. / But the man worthwhile, / Is the man who can smile, / When his shorts are too tight in the seat.”
2. “Middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.”
3. “Ten thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?”
4. “Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.”
5. “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”
6. “Oh Porterhouse, look at the wax build up on these shoes. I want that wax stripped off there, then I want them creamed and buffed with a fine chamois, and I want them now. Chop chop.”
7. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I'm going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.”
8. “Don’t you people have jobs?”
9. “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.”
10. “There are 47 percent who … are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
11. “You’ll get nothing, and like it!”
ANSWERS: 1-Smails; 2-Romney; 3-Romney; 4-Smails; 5-Romney; 6-Smails; 7-Romney; 8-Smails; 9-Smails; 10-Romney; 11-Smails
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.