Well, we’ve been through quite a selection of nuts and…more nuts, but we’re nearing the end of our journey, and have finally arrived at a viable candidate. The only viable candidate, though almost paradoxically the one no one really likes. Yes, it’s time to
eviscerate review Willard Mitt “Mittens” Romney.
Will I confirm Republicans’ worst fears about Mittens if I confess that I, certified bleeding-heart liberal, find it hard to get up much enthusiasm to go after Romney? It’s not that I want him to be the next President of the United States – I absolutely don’t. But when I look at the various knocks on Romney, none of them resonate for me or inspire outrage. When the most objectionable anecdote about you involves your showing poor judgment in your stewardship of an animal almost 30 years ago, are you really that bad of a human being? Newt Gingrich, for one, has treated wives worse than that, and more recently, too.
I’m not trying to downplay the distastefulness of Romney’s behavior, which was covered recently on our site. I love animals, too. I’m just not sure what it says about Romney today, being that it happened so long ago. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of available, recent evidence that Romney is a total jackass!
One thing I do think the old story says is that Romney can’t read a room to save his life. He’s repeatedly shown that he doesn’t get what he did wrong when he strapped that poor dog on top of his car and went careening down the freeway. More recent examples of Romney’s out-of-touchness with…anyone normal include, but are not limited to:
- The $10,000 bet he challenged Rick Perry to during a debate in December. You could tell by the way that Romney offered the bet that $10K was to him what $20 might be to the average American – not a piddling amount, but not substantial enough to take really seriously.
- In January, Romney characterized his income from public speaking thusly: “I get speakers fees from time to time, but not very much.” How much is not very much? For Romney, a hair under $375,000 a year.
- Romney’s blithe statement that he’s not concerned with the very poor because “they have a safety net”, an assertion that as a Not Very Poor Person, Mittens may not be entirely qualified to make. Even more Marie-Antoinettish, though, was his assertion that if this vaunted safety net has holes, he’ll fix them. Well, problem solved! Why did no one before Romney think of that? (Aside to Mitt. Jesus – I believe he’s your god, too – is on record as saying “the poor will always be with us.” There’s no record of him following up with, “but no biggie, ‘cause I totes got it covered.”)
- Then there’s that quote about liking to fire people, which got Mitt in trouble way back…oh, I think it was sometime when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. (What can I say? It’s been a long campaign season). In Romney’s defense, this was in the context of talking about getting rid of a service provider who is not giving good service. Still, it came off a bit like he was saying he liked to pull the wings off of flies…if they got in his face. It’s one thing to do what’s necessary; it’s another to enjoy it. (It didn’t help that at the same rally, Romney claimed that he too had been in the position of worrying that he might get fired. Imagine. What would he have survived on? His small income from public speaking and his many, many investment dividends? Oh, the horror! Where is his safety net?)
- Mittens is really at his most obnoxious when he thinks he’s being cute and relatable, as when he told a group of out-of-work Floridians, “I’m also unemployed.” Seriously, Mitt. Stop. Just stop.
As you may have noticed, a lot of Romney’s gaffes revolve around the fact that he is Really, Really Rich, has apparently always been Really, Really Rich, and appears to relate to the non-rich the way a Martian might relate to a hedgehog. This isn’t really Romney’s fault, per se, but it would be ever so helpful if he could acknowledge it, acknowledge the gulf it creates between him and most Americans, and stop acting like it’s some adorable, slightly wacky foible that we should all find charming.
The other common knock on Romney is that he’s a flip-flopper and/or not a “real conservative”. It’s true that his positions have changed a lot since his governor-of-Massachusetts days, but I still feel like the flip-flopper label is a bit unfair.
We expect so much of politicians. We want them to have our own values and views on the issues. There seems to be less and less respect for someone holding a different point of view, or the idea that someone can hold a different viewpoint and not be crazy, or stupid, or evil. People never seem to quite get that a politician is serving a broad constituency – unless you are an alderman in a homogenous town with a population of 100, and even then, you probably have some variance in viewpoints amongst those 100 people. It would be great if politicians were honest about what they believed, but any politician that wants to get beyond the office of alderman has to make some compromises.
Romney’s front-runner status is further complicated by his Mormon faith – he would, of course, be the first Mormon president (bonus presidential trivia: do you know which two presidents were Quakers? The answer – at the end – may surprise you!). Just as President Obama’s campaign brought out prickly and defensive insistences that nobody cared about his ethnic makeup, Romney’s campaign has brought out those who swear up, down and sideways that anti-Mormon prejudice is a thing of the past. I’m not so sure, myself. What interests me is that some of the most fervent anti-Mormon prejudice of the past comes from those that Romney is going to need to win in November – religious Christians.
Ultimately, there is still a lot campaign left before the Republican convention, and then (assuming he’s still in it) there will be a few short months (that will probably feel endless) until November. Will we get to know the real Mitt Romney during that time? Probably not, if his advisers have anything to say about it. If he is somehow elected President, it’ll probably say more about voters’ feelings about President Obama than their enthusiasm for Romney.
Coming up next: Last, and quite possibly least, Rick Santorum!
Presidential trivia answer: Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon were both raised in the Quaker faith. I’m not sure it took, in either case.
About the Author:
Jennie has contributed to Imperfect Women since its inception in 2009. She writes about politics, celebrity news, and anything else that catches her interest. She can be reached at email@example.com.