We try to avoid ripping on the mayor merely for the sake of ripping on the mayor. Like, he can't really help that he looks half-asleep all the time -- think there's something not quite right with his eyelids -- and the six-foot fence he's erecting around his mansion isn't that bad, especially after its shrubby, airy, less block-ish redesign. (You'd be worried for your safety, too, if you collected $240,000 in taxpayer moneys per year and didn't even have the cajones to pay off your own conflict-of-interest fines. Oops; there we go again.)
But sometimes our fearless leader makes himself look so ridiculous that we can't help but call a guy out. This morning, Antonio Villaraigosa held an impromptu press conference on the pressing matter of...
... Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, which took a turn through the Valley today.
So, out of sheer curiosity, against our better judgment, we called in to hear the mayor out. Here's what happened:
After joining the call 15 minutes late, Villaraigosa dove into a heated two-minute rant on Romney's hypocrisy, lies and general awfulness of character. (Heated meaning the mayor's monotone robo-statement was uncharacteristically spruced with one italicized bit and pair of sarcastic air quotes, much to his own self-satisfaction.)
What, you ask, could possibly inspire such passion in Sir Vanishing Veracity? Why, the economy, of course! Or, more specifically, kissing some black Obama ass as the mayoral term runs out and his own mysterious political aspirations protrude ever more awkwardly.
See, Romney's speech in North Hollywood today was themed anti-Obama -- hinging on the idea that, instead of the "audacity of Hope," the POTUS has shown only "the audacity of indifference."
Oh no you didn't, Romney. Not on the mayor's watch!
"We need jobs," said Villaraigosa in his noontime rant. "Not failed politicians!" (Burrrn.)
"The fact that Mr. Romney is using L.A., and I emphasize 'using' L.A., to blast what he sees as the president's failed economic policies I find appalling,'' Villaraigosa continued. "Unfortunately, like much of the country, we're dealing with high unemployment rates, but we need to be putting people back to work, not just pointing the finger and playing the blame game.''
He called Romney's beliefs "completely out of the orbit of what rational people are talking about" and finished with the stunner: "I just dont get where someone like him has the gall, frankly, to come out to Los Angeles and use our city as a backdrop for his failed record and ideas."
Considering Southern California is the cash cow for Republican campaigns across the nation, we kind of get it. Romney collects more campaign funds in California than any other state.
The worst part of the whole (unobserved) mayoral spectacle was the moment when, after speaking, he waited for what he expected to be a long line of questions. Villaraigosa graciously suggested that the Los Angeles Times go first, as that's his hometown paper, and Times reporters might be peeved if they didn't get front-cuts.
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Not a single question. We're not even sure anyone else was on the line. (What were we supposed to ask? How much, exactly, quantifiably this time, do you hate Mitt Romney, Mayor V? And wait -- which one do we need again, between jobs and failed politicians? We forget.)
This isn't the first time we've seen the game-less Villaraigosa practically beg media outlets to turn a mic toward his bland, middle-of-the-road Democratic drivel. He's an expert at playing "hard to get" in times of public outrage toward his own shady office, but whenever there's an opportunity to spew some PR diarrhea on some overwrought blue-state talking point, the mayor is first in line.
OK, Antonio -- roast is over. Back to work. And for the record: We agree. This Romney dude is ridiculous. So is his hair. But we aren't going to call a freaking press conference about it.