…and if that post title doesn’t generate hits, I don’t know what will.
Yesterday, a friend who watches politics very closely proposed the following unified field theorem of the GOP nomination race: The GOP is Elizabeth Bennett. Mitt Romney is Darcy, wealthy and powerful – on paper, he’s not just highly marriagable, he’s everything the family needs in a match for one of their daughters. But he’s boring and off-putting. Could she really be happy with him? Gingrich is
Willoughby Wickham [oops]; superficially he comes across (at least to some) as exciting, intelligent and someone who really understands her and what she wants. But he’s irresponsible and dishonest. Marriage to him would certainly be a disaster. His chief role is to remind Elizabeth how boring and off-putting Darcy is by comparison.
I offered a countertheory. Gingrich as the irresponsible Wickham, yes. But to my mind, Romney is Mr. Collins. Just like Darcy, Collins is a very attractive match on paper; just like Darcy, Collins comes across as boring and off-putting at first. The difference is that Darcy’s social ineptitude masked depths that Elizabeth would later delight to discover; with Mr. Collins, what you see is what you get. Remember the BBC version, where Elizabeth’s friend who married Collins describes how she’s very well taken care of, things are very pleasant, and oh by the way, she arranges every aspect of her home life to minimize the amount of time she sees her husband? Yeah, that’s what a GOP marriage to Romney would be like.
I think this has the makings of a great parlor game! Here’s my next contribution: Mitch Daniels is the early Darcy, the Darcy of the first half of the story. He’s overwhelmed with an ardent desire to propose to Elizabeth, but dutifully restrains his passions because of a prior restraint imposed by a domineering and possibly somewhat unbalanced family member. The difference is that Daniels hasn’t manned up and proposed (yet).
The possibilities are endless. Possibly Rick Perry as Bingley, who looked good on paper (Texas economy growing explosively) but turned out to be a tongue-tied amiable dunce? But Bingley is a pushover, and no one calls Perry that. I’m still working on it!
How do we fit Ron Paul and Rick Santorum into this equasion? Who represents, say, Mr. Bennett?
Is my political nerdiness showing? At least the humor value distracts me from the depressing reality, which Bret Stephens sums up devastatingly in his column today arguing that the GOP deserves to lose. I find it difficult to resist the conclusion that he’s right.