It is difficult to say what is wrong with Mitt Romney. Outwardly he seems just fine. He certainly looks Presidential. Despite two runs for the Oval Office there has never been so much as a hint of any dirty laundry. He was immensely successful in business; heck he saved the Salt Lake City Olympics and managed to become Governor of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. By all accounts he is a decent, hard working family man who loves the baby Jesus. So why is it that he cannot seem to win us over…why is it that he is losing ground in his latest bid for the Presidency?
His supporters are called upon with increasing regularity for spin control. They have been telling us that Mitt has “evolved” on abortion, that health care reform in Massachusetts was a different issue than it is on a national scale, that he has changed his mind on assault weapons, Medicare reform, and General Motors. Lately much energy has been expended trying to convince an increasingly skeptical electorate that he is just a bit awkward and odd; that he sometimes makes “inelegant” remarks. No, they say, Mitt is a good guy who just sometimes has trouble saying what he means. So when Mitt says he enjoys firing people and has a long record of being quite good at firing people, we are supposed to hear “I’m a jobs creator and only I know how to make jobs”. When he touts himself as an “outsourcing pioneer” we are supposed to self translate that into “I know how to make jobs right here in River City”. When he says that 47% of Americans are no good-for-nothing loafers who believe that they are “victims” who are entitled to government hand outs….we are supposed to take that to mean:
“Of course individuals are going to take responsibility for their life, and my campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again.”
Oh, I get it, if I accept the campaign staffers’ explanations, Mitt Romney, like George W. Bush, can’t be taken at his word because he is apparently so limited intellectually that he cannot count on his lips to form the words that his brain has formulated. His mouth just goes all rogue, and can be counted upon to utter out of touch and politically suicidal remarks almost every time he goes off script. I really do get it….we should vote for Mitt because what he says doesn’t mean a thing and we can trust that he’s a far better CEO than he is a politician. I used to work for a guy who used to tell a story of a client who was caught cheating on his wife….the guy’s response when confronted with the evidence was to respond “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”
I have a slightly different read on the Mittster. I believe he is a well-educated elitist who is trying to be a populist. He is a tax and spend moderate, but cannot admit that to anyone in the present political climate. He is a gun control advocate, pro-choice, fiscal conservative who supports universal health care, and who would have lost in the primaries if he had the balls to tell the Tea Party who he really is. I do not use the word “elitist” as a derogatory term, by the way…no my friends I am fairly comfortable with an elitist serving our nation as President. Hell, I’d prefer that the President was the best person we could find and I don’t much care that he or she knew that they were special and better than the vast majority of Americans. We somehow got on this rather self destructive kick of wanting some regular dipshit to be President. I do not give a rat’s ass if my President has ever tasted a Schlitz beer, or done a keg stand as long as he or she can calmly and intelligently make decisions that will serve to benefit the republic. I wouldn’t trust George W. Bush to manage my 401K and never quite got the attraction that ole Dubya was that regular guy who you could sit and have a beer with…assuming for the moment that the idiot wasn’t a recovering drunk in the first place.
So I see Mitt Romney as being a lot closer ideologically to Bill Clinton than he is to Paul Ryan. Mitt Romney is an elitist billionaire who could probably have made a decent case for the job had he found a way to win the Republican primaries without selling his soul to the fringe elements of the Republican Party. As we enter the home stretch, Mitt Romney will likely lose this election because he cannot tell us what he really stands for and he can’t do that because he had to lie to get the keys to the Republican Party.
As David Brooks of the New York Times has said, “Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign.”
You can see the wear on Romney as he has had to reverse positions, and defend policies that cannot be defended by someone who knows better. For those of you old enough to remember the 1970’s horror film “The Exorcist” there is a scene where the words “HELP ME” spontaneously appear on the possessed kid’s stomach. Mitt is kind of like that kid, he is being possessed and his mouth just isn’t willing to cooperate…he is not saying “I will eliminate Planned Parenthood”, nah he’s saying help me.
The pressure to win is what drives the man. He cannot abide losing and the irony is that he likely sealed his own fate when he made the decision to get in line with the fringe elements of his party. Romney is not a believer the way that people like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum were….Mitt Romney is a Wall Street shark playing a Tea Party guy and the strain is really starting to takes its toll. Romney KNOWS he can do a good job…he just cannot tell us why. When pressed last week about his tax reforms Romney made a fool of himself by hemming a hawing through an interview…he had no “specifics available at the moment” because the specifics for fixing the tax code will mean elimination of tax deductions and credits. Offering to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction is a tax increase to most Americans and that dog just won’t hunt. So Romney is betting the house on the fact that he can win by being pro tax cut, pro defense spending and pro abortion without ever explaining how any of those positions can be reconciled with the current deficits. The strategy is so clearly defined that Romney’s convention became a Tea Party/Evangelical infomercial. Why would any candidate allow his party to insert a “No Abortion-NO EXCEPTIONS plank into the party platform? There is almost a Greek tragedy quality to the guy. He’s clearly an intellectual who didn’t just succeed in business…he was a “Master of the Universe” who is now compelled to cow tow to idiots and racists.
There was, of course, no way to win the nomination and then to disassociate from the aforementioned nitwits….or was there? It seems to me that Romney had one way and probably only one way out. Romney should have chosen New Jersey Governor Chris Christy as his running mate. Christy is a popular Republican governor in a largely Democratic heavily unionized state who is Pro Choice. Christy would have been a clear message to the independents who will decide this year’s election that Romney will have the will and the ability to think for himself, that he will be his own man. But alas poor Mitt…you overplayed your hand and likely screwed yourself right out of the one job you want more than anything else.
There seems to be a growing sense of inevitability to Romney’s political ruination. He cannot hope to do well in the debates because he is only parroting the party line of a party that has been captured by idiots. Save yourself Mitt…flip and flop like only you can and tell the American people that you are not with the “birthers” or the lone wolf abortion doctor assassins or the Medicare recipients who are against “Government health insurance” or the “Intelligent Design” morons.