ROMNEY 'BALLOON AND STREAMER SPECIALIST' DESCRIBES PRIVATE
MOMENT BETWEEN ROMNEY AND BALLOONS
November 7, 2012
By Michael Mitnick
Karl H. Hisher of Yankee Inflatables, LLC. is the man responsible for installing the balloon netting and streamer cannons above the Boston Convention Center floor. These celebratory accoutrements were to deploy upon Gov. Romney's potential win Tuesday night. As history spoke and it was clear that President Obama would take the night, Mr. Hisher knew that his hard work would not be paying off that evening. Karl H. Hisher spoke with us early Wednesday.
MM: Thank you for taking a moment out of your busy schedule to chat.
KH: Not so busy anymore
MM: Would you briefly describe your role at the convention?
KH: Sure. My job was to inflate approximately 11,000 red, white and blue
balloons and then install them in our custom Hisher deployment netting system
40 feet above the convention floor. I also oversaw and inspected 20 streamer
MM: Are there different levels of balloon packages to-
KH: Oh sure.
MM: So, did Gov. Romney-
KH: He purchased what is known as, ironically, "The Presidential." Which, in
layman's terms, is when we shove as many balloons as possible against the
MM: Were you at the convention at the time of concession?
KH: Oh sure. I don't trust anyone to deploy the balloons but myself. Nothing ruins a celebration more than when the nets won't retract and you just have thousands of people having to create their own joy. You buy a Hisher system, you get Hisher himself. That's a dealbreaker.
MM: As we now know, Governor Romney did not win the election. Has this
happened to you before - installing the system and then not being able to
deploy the balloons?
KH: Oh sure. In fact, I think
I think I could be bad luck! I was in charge of the balloons for Senator Kerry's unsuccessful campaign in 2004. It's not the same level as the Kennedy Curse, but there has been some talk and finger pointing in my direction. I understand it, of course. People are upset and they're looking for answers.
MM: What happens to the balloons and streamers if they are not dropped?
KH: Well, you gotta drop them. We're not going to put back up the scaffolding
and carefully pull down each balloon. That's a waste of my damn time.
MM: My goodness. So you're saying balloons are dropped even if the candidate
KH: Oh sure. How else do you think we get them down?
MM: Isn't it intensely depressing to watch the balloons fall, as though they are almost mocking the failure of the candidate?
KH: I don't look at it that way, though I suppose that is definitely true.
MM: So what happened early Wednesday morning?
KH: Well, as it rolled around to 2A.M., the place was cleared out. People
were drinking from bottles they found God knows where. Governor Romney
ordered everyone to leave the Convention Center. He even asked that his
wife, "Disappear for a while." I was walking away when I felt a hand on my
shoulder and I turned, expecting it to be a police officer or a drunk Republican woman just looking for a companion. Instead, it was the Governor himself. His eyes were red, but he wasn't sobbing or anything yet.
MM: And then what happened?
KH: He held both of my hands in his and quietly said, "Karl, would you mind
dropping the balloons on me?"
MM: Excuse me?
KH: So I did.
MM: Wait. Can you go back a moment and-
KH: Sure. Governor Romney, alone in the Convention Center, stood in the
middle of the expansive floor. He raised both arms out, like a crucified Jesus, and shouted, "Nothing matters." Then I cut the Hisher rope and the balloons fell in a magnificent flurry.
MM: And he just stood there?
KH: Well, that's when the crying began.
MM: And then what happened?
KH: The Governor began to shout in what sounded like Latin and he crushed
balloons with his feet. He fell many times, but he got right back up. I believe that's the kind of man he is.
MM: Do you have any idea what the Latin was?
KH: Actually, I do. I majored in Classics at Swarthmore. He was saying, "Every
balloon here is a person who didn't believe in me and my genuine desire to make America better."
MM: Oh my God.
KH: Yes. It was ugly and sad. Then I shot off the cannons, even though he didn't ask.
MM: Do you have any more jobs coming up?
KH: Oh sure. Yankee Inflatables is doing a carwash opening on Route 128 in six
weeks. I'm excited.