Friday, September 28, 2012

Mitt Romney's Theme Song: The Way We Weren't

Losing is tough, huh, Ann?
As Ann Romney -- I won't call her whiner-in-chief -- recently and, unfortunately, famously said in response to criticism of her husband, "Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring." No thanks, Ann. It's you who wanted to get in the ring. Live with it.

After Mitt's 47 percent remarks caught on tape, the trajectory of the race changed, as it should have. Of course, it started back at the Republican National Convention, though Romney hasn't really led in this race at all, period.

Looking at all the reasons can be a daunting task. I'd hate to be inside the Romney camp about now, trying to suss out of the polls either a polling conspiracy theory that would make the team feel a little less dyspeptic or would offer a glimmer of a hope that there's a way forward that doesn't lead to Loser Gulch or Has-Been Corners.

Was he ever really this guy? If not, is he who he is now?

Greg Sargent of WaPo this morning wonders yet again why Romney is losing, given the tough economy, Charlie Cook -- highly trusted election observer at the National Journal -- starts talking about donors ditching Romney a la Dole in 1996, and Ron Brownstein writes a detailed description of why it's not how you thought it was American-Dream-wise and how that explains everything Greg Sargent, and maybe all of us, mistakenly thought about 2012.

As I've said before, do yourself a favor, Mitt, and don't read the papers this morning. And please, don't watch this new web ad from the preznit:

As long as I've been watching Mitt Romney run for president -- and watched all the recycled video from his prior two elections in 1994 and 2002 -- I, like many, have never been sure who he is and what he stands for. Sure it's easy to say Willard's problem is that he's a lousy candidate, as one of his own advisers apparently said today. But there's both more and less to it than that.

As a stand-out-there-in-front-of-people-and-open-yer-yap person, he is better in front of rich people: They get him, and he knows the drill. He may also know his way around a boardroom, and he does have that patrician tone of voice. In front of the hoi polloi, though, he actually is a cardboard cut-out. These kinds of things can be overcome, quite simply, with a compelling message.

Sorry, Mitt, you just don't have one. With all the material out there, one has to wonder why. I think I know.

To forge a compelling message, you have to have principles, convictions. One would think that a successful man like Mitt Romney must have needed them to become successful, but that's obviously not true. All Mitt Romney needed to succeed were opportunities, which he certainly had.

And which opportunity he chose, private equity, is the big tell. The private equity game doesn't require that you have or demonstrate empathy. To win whether your marks win or lose requires that you set aside your convictions, assuming that one of them is that you shouldn't crush humans like bugs. Sorry, Mitt, few people can see that you give a damn about anybody except your buds. If anyone had, they changed their minds with the 47 percent video.

Watching Willard Mitt Romney etch-a-sketch his way through several campaigns based on the demographics of the situation also let us know that principles were rarely if ever involved in his policy decisions. Now, I think he did Massachusetts a solid with his health-care plan, but that might have been an accident. It polled well at the time, so he did it. It doesn't poll well now, so it's "Romneycare, what's that?"

No, the fair-weather candidate did okay and escaped his vacuousness because of his patrician voice and his perfectly graying sideburns, right up until he ran into today's Republican Party. Romney's challenge was to find a way through the Tea-Party weeds to the Republican nomination without collecting a whole lot of burrs and thistles. Sorry, Mitt, no way.

You had to run with the demographics of angry white Christian blue-collar males and all that entails, and it didn't matter who you were or who you weren't or whether or not you ever had a sincere bone in your body. You were owned, or pwned, or outright bought and sold to the highest, wingnut bidder, today's toxic Republican Party. After the purchase, they put you into a pretty little box and sent you out for delivery. How's that working out, Mitt?

It's not, and it's your fault. Like your perfect wife Ann, who's a little miffed at how hard it is, you sit and stew and connive and ponder how to get out of the box. ("Obama's lying about me." Right.) It is hard, and there are three debates and 45 days and everybody knows the race isn't over until the angry, white male guys sing, but you'd better get on it. Nobody knows what exactly you stand for. Hope it's not too hard to let them know by November 6. Good luck.

The Ryan pick: It's not so funny anymore, huh, Mitt?

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