Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mitt Romney's Long Goodbye

Mitt Romney pauses to think of something smart to say.
There are many ways to put this, and I've always liked Raymond Chandler's with the title of his novel, The Long Goodbye. If you've never read it or seen one of several film versions -- I like the one with Elliot Gould -- look for them on Amazon or NetFlix.

It's guaranteed to be more entertaining than trying to figure out why Mitt Romney has chosen such a long, drawn-out way of political demise, a suicide by a thousand cuts. Which begs the question: How many mistakes, missteps, and misstatements can one candidate make on the way to oblivion? Mitt's involved in his own version of Let Me Count the Ways.

Frank Bruni of the NY Times put it well with his "Mitt's Mortification." Wordsmith as I am -- well, I studied Latin! -- I detect in the word "mort," as in death. Snarky Maureen Dowd might have thought of calling our petrified candidate Mort Romney if I hadn't thought of it first.

So, as they say to the tape. Bruni first:
That bloodied appendage? The one riddled with holes?
It belongs to Mitt Romney, and we now know that his onetime support for gun control was all that was keeping him from shooting himself in the foot.
Throughout this campaign, he has misfired so repeatedly and phantasmagorically that his wounds make those visited upon Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway at the end of “Bonnie and Clyde” look like paper cuts.
But that’s been noted, and there’s a bigger discussion beyond it. How did someone so politically maladroit — a cardboard cutout crossed with an Etch A Sketch — get this far?
Don't sugarcoat it, Frank. On to Dowd:
Sometimes in the course of human events, we must ask, as Hemingway did in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” what is that leopard doing at this altitude?
As a candidate, Mitt Romney is awkward, off-putting and hollow, so bad that if he were a Bain company, he would shut himself down.
Lest you think our wrath is limited to the "liberal" NY Times, how about some bottomscaping from WaPo's Michael Gerson, former Bush speechwriter:
Yet a Republican ideology pitting the “makers” against the “takers” offers nothing. No sympathy for our fellow citizens. No insight into our social challenge. No hope of change. This approach involves a relentless reductionism. Human worth is reduced to economic production. Social problems are reduced to personal vices. Politics is reduced to class warfare on behalf of the upper class.
A few libertarians have wanted this fight ever since they read “Atlas Shrugged” as pimply adolescents. Given Romney’s background, record and faith, I don’t believe that he holds this view. I do believe that Republicans often parrot it, because they lack familiarity with other forms of conservatism that include a conception of the common good.
But there really is no excuse. Republican politicians could turn to Burkean conservatism, with its emphasis on the “little platoons” of civil society. They could reflect on the Catholic tradition of subsidiarity, and solidarity with the poor. They could draw inspiration from Tory evangelical social reformers such as William Wilberforce or Lord Shaftesbury. Or they could just read Abraham Lincoln, who stood for “an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.”
Instead they mouth libertarian nonsense, unable to even describe some of the largest challenges of our time.
 At least Gerson claims Romney can't, in his heart, believe this nonsense. It's all the more damning, then, that he mouths it along with the rest.

Why quit now, in this survey of Romney oops!? Here's the NY Times editorial board (h/t dkos):
Asked about the government’s responsibility to the 50 million Americans without health insurance, Mr. Romney said they already have access to health care: in emergency rooms. That, of course, is the most expensive and least effective way of providing care, as someone who once advocated universal care has reason to know. But it also reeks of contempt for those left behind by the current insurance system, suggesting that they must suffer with illness until the point where they need an ambulance.
Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.
 And a little more editorial board, this time WaPo, citing still more reasons why Mitt Romney should avoid interview shows like CBS's Sixty Minutes (also h/t dkos):
NOW WE GET IT: Mitt Romney’s refusal to specify what tax breaks he proposes eliminating is not a matter of dangling tantalizing goodies in front of voters now, before the election, and postponing the painful part until later. No, Mr. Romney’s dodging is, he claimed in an interview broadcast Sunday, an example of his strong leadership skills. [...] This is leading by ducking. Mr. Romney is right that the American people do not benefit from intransigent, my-way-or-the-highway governing. But his answer ignores the difference between maintaining flexibility and hiding your cards from the people whose votes you seek. If leadership means never having to get specific, why then does Mr. Romney identify a particular number — 20 percent — for the amount he wants to cut rates? The answer is obvious: voter appeal.
 "Leading by ducking." That's rich. As long as we're looking for phrases that decimate the Republican who's crossed the Rubicon into the land of FUBAR, let's look to another former Republican speechwriter turned pundit, Peggy Noonan:
But: The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant "rolling calamity."
If a picture is worth a thousand words, let's end this symposium on destroying the Republican brand by hiring the wrong guy -- Romney could turn this around by hiring Donald Trump to say "You're Fired!" -- with, if not a picture, then a graph:

Lest you think it's all schadenfreude, let me assure you, it is, a bit. But there's a larger purpose here: Call out the man and those of his ilk. We ain't buying this bunk, and we don't want the rest of America to do it either. You can call us the 99% or the 47% or just the rest of America that can figure out who's screwing who. You can cry out that Obama belongs to the "man" just as much as a Romney or a Ryan do, and I'll say hold on a sec. I know the difference and so should you. Need a little more convincing? Over and out with this vid:

See what I mean? Just this past Sunday, on Sixty Minutes, he gets a chance to be sincere and truthful. Does he do it? How should we know? Which is which and when? Then, now, next week, next year? One thing we can count on is that whichever, whatever, whenever, he'll do it Romney-style. And, friends, that ain't a picnic.


  1. Republicans campaign on generality rather than specifics. And any detail they do offer is by example of shifting blame to certain demographics. I'm sure it was said above, but this has always been my thoughts.