The recently revealed and formerly secret comments by Mitt Romney about the supposed 47% of "moochers" out there so dependent on government hand-outs that they would not dare vote for him is one of those great and rare moments when a liar and professional bullshitter gets caught revealing his true self. The revelation of Romney's plutocratic leanings, unadulterated and uncut, has accelerated his campaign's meltdown. This isn't the first time a public figure has embarrassed themselves by showing their true colors or just plain imploded, so here's a compilation of my favorite real and fictional meltdowns and 47% moments.
A Face in the Crowd
This is one of my favorite films, and stars an atypically malevolent Andy Griffith as Lonesome Rhodes, an itinerant, boozing guitar picker who gets catapulted to fame via television, where he morphs into a Glenn Beck-like reactionary messiah. He uses downhome charm and aw shucks earthiness to conceal the fact that he's carrying water for wealthy reactionaries. Rhodes is undone, however, when another character, so disgusted with his transformation, turns the mic on during the closing credits of his show as he denigrates his audience for being a bunch of easily lead, naive rubes. Although Romney is about as folksy as a silver salad fork, he has tried to affect a concern for the little people that has been entirely debunked by his Mr. Burns-esque pronouncements.
Bill O'Reilly Wants to "Do It Live"
It's before his career at Fox News, but it's fun to watch this out-take of a preening prat who effects a tough-guy personae acting like a crying baby.
Lee Elia Rant
This doesn't quite count as a 47% moment, since Cubs manager Elia went on this tirade at a press conference in the early 1980s. However, it's a true artistic masterpiece in the annals of public meltdowns as well as a masterful display of profanity. The audio of this clip will live on longer than any knowledge of the Cubs' performance during Elia's tenure.
Denny Green Loses His Shit
Since I'm a Bears fan I remember well the game when Green's Cardinals improbably lost to a Chicago team that had no right winning that game. Obviously frustrated with his team and the usual barrage of stupid questions at the press conference, Green lost his shit. "If you want to crown them, then crown their ass" was a personal catchphrase for me for a couple of months afterward.
Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy Goes Gonzo On the Media
Three years from now I will walk around screaming "I'm a man, I'm 40!" on my birthday because of this clip. When overly testosteroned masculine authority figures like football coaches shout in front of people with twice their IQ, I always have to chuckle.
LBJ Talks About Pants
Listening to the most powerful man in the world needle a pants manufacturer about needing more inseam room while burping into the phone and saying words like "bunghole" is about as surreal as it is hilarious.
Richard Nixon Drunk Dials His Chief of Staff
Might as well close this out with one of the few modern politicians who has Romney beat when it comes to mendacity and lack of scruples in pursuing power. Nixon set himself up as the representative of the "silent majority" and a figure of moral forthrightness, but in this phone call, when he's drunk dialing Bob Haldeman, he sounds like the pathetic, slimy liar that he truly was.