See Robert Stacy McCain, "Romney’s ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ Platform: Santorum’s ‘Act of God’ Moment?" (via Memeorandum).
And at the New York Times, "Shaking It Up With a Popular Low-Tech Toy: Etch A Sketch Becomes a Symbol of Second Chances":
THE United States is the great land of second chances. Change your name. Change your location. Change your life. If you’re a politician, change your ideas, and in so doing, change your prospects. It’s a deep-rooted American tradition that the Mitt Romney campaign has now given a colorful symbol.More at Pundette, "The Etch A Sketch candidate."
It was widely reported that Wednesday on CNN, Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, predicted a fresh start for his boss’s campaign after victory in the Illinois primary. “Everything changes,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
Mr. Romney’s political opponents seized on the image as a sinister expression of the candidate’s pliability. But to millions of Americans, the Etch A Sketch has offered a precious life lesson: No matter how badly you screw up, you can always make a fresh start. The past does not exist. The Etch A Sketch offers total deniability in a neat rectangular package.
The Etch A Sketch was invented in the late 1950s by André Cassagnes, a French electrician, and the first model was manufactured for the American market by the Ohio Art Company on July 12, 1960. The device is simple and ingenious: a framed plastic screen coated with aluminum dust on the reverse side. Two knobs move a stylus vertically and horizontally, allowing the user to draw pictures as the tip of the stylus leaves a dark line against a light gray background.
If the results do not please, the user simply shakes the screen, causing polystyrene beads to create a fresh surface by smoothing out and recoating the inside of the screen. History, with a flick of the wrist, vanishes.
Over the years, the company has added color and electronic features, but the essential appeal of the device has remained the same. No matter how bad the drawing, how distant the final product from the original intent, the clock can be turned back.
And the response at Astute Bloggers, "ROMNEY ETCH-A-SKETCH BROUHAHA IS BULLSHIT."