Rasslin’ villains want to be booed.
So did Mitt Romney in Houston Wednesday — at least according to Nancy Pelosi.
Well, sure, the looming Republican presidential nominee had to figure he would draw vocal disapproval from that particular audience when he said: “I’m going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare.”
And that was enough to prompt this accusation from House Minority Leader Pelosi on Bloomberg News TV: “I think it was a calculated move on his part to get booed at the NAACP convention.”
But Romney has repeatedly vowed to dump Obamacare. If he hadn’t mentioned it at the convention, he could have been fairly accused of ducking a crucial issue. If he had suddenly shifted into backing the ludicrously titled Affordable Care Act, he could have fairly been accused of a colossal flip-flop.
And if Pelosi hadn’t said as the House debated that 2,700-page legislation, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” she might have more credibility. As for what we’ve found out about what was in that bill, its first-decade cost is now projected at $2.6 trillion — nearly three times what its backers claimed when they rushed it into law.
That, however, doesn’t mean Romney wasn’t looking for boos in Houston. After all, drawing the ire of an NAACP convention while sounding a conservative theme is a sure-fire way to rally the Republican right-wing base. Some non-conservatives also admire Mitt’s moxie in telling the NAACP what it didn’t want to hear.
South Carolina’s senior senator, aka “Lindsey Grahamnesty,” has earned similar credit for telling Tea Party gatherings we need comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship.
Yet when it comes to “calculated” provocation of a crowd’s verbal wrath, politicians are amateurs compared to professional wrestling’s dastardly bad guys.
That exciting inciting tradition lives on with Alberto del Rio, a supremely arrogant Mexican grappler who plays his wealthy, conceited character to the infuriating WWE hilt.
Del Rio’s entrance alone triggers mass contempt. He’s so full of himself that he has a “personal ring announcer,” Ricardo Rodriguez, who begins a lengthy introduction to a fanfare of Alberto’s mariachi-style theme song. As Ricardo’s voice and the music rise toward a crescendo, Alberto rolls into the arena, usually driving but occasionally chauffeured in an ostentatiously expensive automobile.
Last week on “Monday Night Raw,” it was a 1995 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
And you though Romney had a rich-guy image problem,
Anyway, as Alberto emerges from those excessively costly vehicles and begins his self-adoring strut toward the ring, Ricardo finally hits his roaring peak with extraordinarily extended rollings of the “r’s” in “Al-berrrr-to del R-rrrrrrrrrreee-o!”
Compared to what the spectators are screaming by that enraged point, the catcalls Romney heard before leaving to a standing ovation Wednesday in Houston were a mild murmur.
The stirring spectacle is reminiscent of the high-decibel indignation Nikolai Volkoff routinely triggered starting in the 1980s when he would, before his matches, boom out the Soviet national anthem in his resounding baritone. Volkoff’s longtime tag-team partner was the Iron Sheik, alternately introduced as being from Tehran, Iran, or Baghdad, Iraq, depending on the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy.
Maybe you don’t care about the Iron Sheik’s nationality — or that del Rio is challenging world champ Sheamus, aka “The Celtic Warrior,” for the title tonight at the WWE’s “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view in Phoenix.
Maybe you think this column’s detour into the squared circle is a waste of Commentary page space.
Maybe you’ve forgotten that Jesse “The Body” Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998 — or that “Nature Boy” Ric Flair endorsed Mike Huckabee for president in 2008 and Ron Paul this year.
And maybe if Charleston Mayor Joe Riley wants to fire up his base by drawing some boos of his own, he should cruise into Coastal Conservation League and Preservation Society functions with tag-team partner Jim Newsome.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.