Mark Steel: So what's Romney's next trick?

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The Independent Online

Phew... The US election is exactly the same as a night I had watching Crystal Palace play football. Palace were dreadful, but the opposition were even worse, a goal slid slowly between their goalkeeper's legs into the net, and the man sitting behind me said to his mate, "This is marvellous. I've always said football's much more entertaining when BOTH teams are s****."

Obama has blown most of the enthusiasm that won him the Presidency, but Mitt Romney is a genius at finding new ways of being s****, declaring that 47 per cent of voters will always back Obama, because "they think they're entitled to healthcare, food, housing, you name it." Surely these sponging pigs can't want ALL of those things? Even well-off people have to choose between them, maybe opting for food and housing, but dealing with gallstones by cutting them out with scissors without an anaesthetic, as we can't have everything.

And he has to be admired for adding "you name it", as if once someone on welfare applies for food or healthcare, you can be certain they'll also demand anything else you can name. "Now you've given me some soup," they say, "I also want a powerboat with a live orchestra on the back seat, and a go on a rocket and a panda."

Republicans can't work out what they're supposed to say, all they know is they're supposed to cheer at rallies. So they cheered Clint Eastwood mumbling to an empty chair, and cheered when he said the war in Afghanistan should end immediately, which is the opposite of their policy, and they'd have cheered if he muttered, "I tell you who would be a good president – Trotsky. Is he still around?"

Or maybe Romney's just magnificently useless, and this will carry on. Next week, he'll announce a plan to squash all kittens, then he'll run over Sidney Poitier, then declare he'd like to punch Jesus in the head for making the lame walk, feeding the thousands and praising a Samaritan, or promising healthcare, food, housing, you name it. And Obama will just scrape in.