ROMNEY 'BALLOON AND STREAMER SPECIALIST' DESCRIBES PRIVATEMOMENT BETWEEN ROMNEY AND BALLOONS
Boston, MassachusettsNovember 7, 2012By 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 blueballoons and then install them in our custom Hisher deployment netting system40 feet above the convention floor. I also oversaw and inspected 20 streamercannons.
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, inlayman's terms, is when we shove as many balloons as possible against theceiling.
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 thishappened to you before - installing the system and then not being able todeploy 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 scaffoldingand 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 candidateloses?
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. Peoplewere drinking from bottles they found God knows where. Governor Romneyordered everyone to leave the Convention Center. He even asked that hiswife, "Disappear for a while." I was walking away when I felt a hand on myshoulder 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 minddropping 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 themiddle 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.
KH: The Governor began to shout in what sounded like Latin and he crushedballoons 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, "Everyballoon 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 sixweeks. I'm excited.