The Real Slim Shady
In 1956 a new game show was launched called To Tell the Truth. The format had a moderator welcome three guests who were all introduced with the same identity. A panel of career television personalities would question the guests and try to deduce which one was telling the truth and which two were impostors. Finally, at the end of the questioning, the moderator looked at the guests and said, “Will the real ________________ please stand up?”
This became a trendy catch phrase that ranked with “Where’s the beef?” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Marshall Matters, aka Eminem, had some fun with the phrase in 2002 and again in 2005 in his anthem “The Real Slim Shady.” The character was the rapper’s alter ego who disses the world of manufactured pop songs. He says that all the fashion trends are due to his success and everyone is copying him. He declares, “I’m the Slim Shady, I’m the real Slim Shady, all the other Slim Shadys are just imitators.” Then he borrows from the old catch phrase: “Would the real Slim Shady please stand up. Please stand up.”
I was reminded of these things upon watching the third presidential debate between President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. That night it seemed that the soul of the previously hawkish Romney had morphed into a Peter, Paul, and Mary-styled peacenik. I could only conclude that the essence and aura of the late great Vietnam War critic and 1972 presidential candidate, George McGovern, who had shed his earthly coil only the day before, had miraculously made its way into the inner being of the previously swaggering, bomb throwing, rebel arming Mitt Romney. What else in the world could account for such a transformation in such a short time?
Retired General Colin Powell, in his recent endorsement of President Obama, said that Romney had agreed with the President “on every issue with some nuances,” but “this is a quite different set of foreign policy views from those he held earlier in the campaign.” “He is a moving target,” said the good general.
Powell’s observation is quite accurate. If you follow Mitt’s career, you will see more identities than at a Peter Sellers film festival.
In 1994, Romney ran for the senate against Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. He said then that he would be a better candidate for gay rights than Kennedy. But the candidate for the 2000s opposed “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell,” gay marriage, and gay adoption. Another time Romney told a very personal story of a family member who had to endure an illegal abortion, and he vowed form that day forward that he would always support a woman’s right to choose. Today’s Mitt says he would like to see Roe vs. Wade overturned, and he would appoint the judges to do it.
Moderate Mitt was for forms of gun control before Severely Conservative Mitt was against them. The Boca Raton Mitt behind closed doors said a two state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not, could not, should not work. Don’t even try. However, Open Mic Night in Boca Raton had the Republican hopeful favoring a two state solution. Then of course there was the tax cut that everyone was going to receive, then in the debates it turned out it wasn’t for the wealthy—well, not really. Then when it came to pre-existing conditions, there was an internal struggle in the Romney camp that concluded something like yes, no, maybe so, certainly not.
What is the casual voter to do? Look those Mitt Romneys in their collective eyes and say, “Will the real Mitt Shady please stand up? Please stand up!”
Davy Brooks, teacher