One of Mitt Romney's crucial flaws is that he appears to be a pretty stiff guy—unless you pay him $75,000 for a catered meal. Today the Times examines the phenomenon of Romney Unplugged: when he's validating rich people's fears about a permanent welfare state and making tasteful jokes about affirmative action, Romney's actually a pretty feisty guy! He apparently even "heaped praise" on Dick Cheney at a fundraiser in Cheney's home state of Wyoming, which would be brave if there wasn't a less popular VP pick than Dick Cheney: Paul Ryan.

Romney's secretly taped remarks at a Boca Raton fundraiser apparently were part of a pattern of candor for the candidate. The Times notes that he described Americans as "extraordinarily complacent" under an Obama administration, and said at another that "the president wants to make this a race about attacking rich people," at which point the donors all tightened their grips on their oyster forks and dug into their wallets again.

Compared to Romney, president Obama is bland, likely because he stopped clinging to his guns and religion the idea that he has to privately pander to the people who've already paid for their meal.

But why are these fundraisers necessary? Oh, right, that whole plutocracy thing:

By opting out of the federal campaign finance system, both Mr. Romney and President Obama have committed themselves to a relentless financial race that means holding more fund-raisers than public campaign events. Over the past seven days, Mr. Romney attended 11 fund-raisers, compared with five publicized events open to the public; Mr. Obama went to six fund-raisers and just five rallies.

So if we can just convince Romney that the next four years are just one giant fundraiser and replace the White House with a Radisson ballroom (or a Marriott) we'll be fine.