Does Mitt Romney Dream of Electric Sheep?

Androidism Is the New Birtherism: Mitt Romney Must Prove That He Is Human
A Voigt Kampff Machine
A Voigt Kampff Machine

In the 2008 presidential campaign, based on no evidence or rational foundation whatsoever, conservative extremists floated the idea that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, rather than his actual birthplace, the nearly as exotic (to them) locale of Honolulu, Hawaii. Right-wing media picked up the story and suddenly, and improbably, this bogus claim became a campaign issue.

Now, four years later, and despite assurances the president was born in Honolulu from Hawaii Republican officials, including the governor, and despite the release of the president’s birth certificate in both its short and long form, Birtherism lives on.

Given that, maybe it’s time we asked an even more serious question about Mitt Romney. Is he a human being?

The questions about Mitt Romney are out there. What’s with the too-perfect hair and the robotic laugh — “Ha! Ha! Ha!” And what sort of human being would think it is okay to drive 12 hours with an Irish Setter strapped to the roof of his car?

Andrew Sullivan has said that Romney makes plastic look real. He is frequently described as stiff and fake. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi recently referred to him as a “robotic Mormon financier.” Many top Republicans, including his opponents in the primaries, question what the they refer to as Mitt’s “authenticity.”

If you think it’s absurd that a replicant could run for high office and get away with it, consider the fact that a Skynet terminator android from the future, who was disguised (unconvincingly) as a movie star, was elected governor of California just nine years ago. In the seven years this non-human entity served as governor, he very nearly did California what his stunt doubles did to Los Angeles in the Terminator films.

But credit goes to Chris Matthews who, on his MSNBC show on Feb. 2, first suggested that Romney be given the android test:

MATTHEWS: You know, in “Blade Runner,” that great movie by Ridley Scott, when they try to find out if you’re a replicant or not, whether you’re a real person or not, and they start asking you questions. How did you feel when you watched that beetle die in the sun? You know, that kind of stuff. This guy — it’s almost like we’re all blade runners now! Are we really going to…

Instead of demanding a birth certificate, our demand is that Mitt submit himself to a Voigt Kampff test to prove, once and for all, that he is a human being.

The Voigt Kampff machine was invented by the author Phillip K. Dick in his book, Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep, which was subsequently made into the movie, “Blade Runner.” Here’s a how the machine works:

The test relies on the detection of involuntary emotional responses, such as pupil dilation, changes in the heart rate, and the blush response. The interviewer asks the subject a series of questions, and gauges the physiological response to the questions. Humans have an emotional response to them, causing physiological changes, whereas androids — replicants — do not.

When Mr. Romney is connected to the machine someone — maybe Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts — will ask him the following questions:

1. It’s your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?

2. You’ve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?

3. You’re watching television. Suddenly you realize there’s a wasp crawling on your arm.

4. You’re in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise. It’s crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t, not without your help. But you’re not helping. Why is that?

5. Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.

6. Last question. You’re watching an old movie. It shows a banquet in progress, the guests are enjoying raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog stuffed with rice. The raw oysters are less acceptable to you than a dish of boiled dog.

This is Androidism, the answer to Birtherism. The questions are out there. Let’s hope we get answers before November — before it’s too late.


  • j
    February 12, 2012 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    I have always thought he had no human feelings. In fact the only almost human thing I have detected in him during the last week was an air of panic.

  • Randall
    February 12, 2012 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    He displays one emotion – Greed.

    I can see a Parker/Stone animation of him as a golem, stiffly marching across an apocalyptic wasteland, picking up companies and “realizing their value” like a Cajun sucks a crawdad, then tossing their empty shells on the ground to be trod underfoot.

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