Dylan Byers at Politico is smelling a traffic breakthrough by burrowing after MSNBC and Andrea Mitchell about Wawagate. Byers wrote yesterday, and it's great bait for the wingers, that the cable net took Romney's comments marveling at the touch-screen technology at the Wawa out of context, because the full clip shows clearly that Romney was comparing private-sector innovation to pubic-sector torpor as experienced by a local optometrist.
That indeed Romney was. But even so, the tone of his voice sounds for all the world to me like he had just discovered this touch-screen technology for the first time. Listen to the sense of wonder in his voice. And anyway, there's this, too. I remember the first time I saw that technology, in a Sheetz probably 10 years ago (I'm quite a fan of Sheetz's breakfast sandwiches; elitist of me?!). I marveled that first time. Then the second time, I was used to it. Yesterday, Romney sounded for all the word like someone who had just seen this technology for the first time, and if that's so, it may be a small thing, but to me it says "out of touch."
Imagine if Obama had done that. We'd have been lectured a gajillion times on how honest working men, the kind of men who work with their hands, which liberals like Obama doesn't understand or appreciate, stop at Wawas every day and order their humble working-class lunches on those very screens that the Kenyan didn't even know existed.
So I'd swear that this was the first time Romney saw such screens. Mitchell is allegedly going to address this today on her show. I say stand tall!
But here's the more interesting point. What, exactly, are touch-screens in a convenience store supposed to represent? This is his symbol of innovation? Well, gee, Governor, let's see. I can pay for my parking space with my phone. Imagine that! Oh, wait--parking is a public function. And now, when I go to a government office to get something done, they have these amazing number and letter systems that move things right along--B63, D29, F33, whatever it is--they call your number and boom, boom, boom, you're up to the window and out of there in no time! This, too, is an innovation that's what, maybe 15 years old now, and I'd wager Romney's never seen it, either. But I remember even at the DMV in midtown Manhattan, back when I lived there, it was fast and easy and perfectly pleasant.
This alleged difference between the level and quality of service in the private and public sectors is a joke anyway. A few months ago, I went to some District of Columbia office to get my daughter's birth certificate. I'd put it off and off, dreading it. But it was the easiest thing I've ever done in my life. It took 10 minutes and everyone was as sweet as cream.
Conversely, at my quarterly journal, Democracy, we moved offices last September. We still don't have cable. Comcast and Verizon...well, it just got to the point of being a running joke. No one can do anything. We probably never will have cable. That's the private sector for you.