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Just Sit Right Back…

© Mario Piperni

I keep thinking about something David Brooks said about Romney — “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.” I think part of the reason Romney is turning out to be such a inept politician is because — even though he is clearly willing to say whatever people want him to say — the level of scrutiny that is applied to presidential candidates has made it painfully obvious to everyone that he doesn’t really believe most of the stuff he is saying, and he can’t hide that. He could get away with not believing what he was saying as a businessman, and even most of the time as a governor. Not just because the level of scrutiny was lower, but the demands required of him by today’s Republican party to toe the crazy party line is so much higher.

A key is the way Romney phrased it in the video: “My job is is not to worry about those people.” He justifies it as a job. It is a role he is playing, like an actor in a TV show. It’s not about what he himself believes. It is just a job and his boss is the Republican party. And if they believe that “All Democrats are moochers, and all moochers are Democrats” he’ll say his lines and tell them what they want to hear.

Michael Tomasky put it this way in a really interesting article:

In a way, it’s not even mostly Romney’s fault. It’s the fault of the party and movement that introduced and spread this toxic propaganda in the first place. When Romney is licking his wounds on Nov. 7, that party and movement will fire all its arrows at him. He’ll deserve a lot of them. But they will have buried him with the ignorance and rage they demanded he adopt. His chief crime will have been his weakness in failing to confront them.

Of course, Etch-a-sketch Romney would never have confronted them, which is why the right finally gave in and nominated Romney even though they definitely do not like him. Because they thought he was their tool — they could pull his strings and he would say whatever they wanted him to say. They did the same thing with Dubya.

And that’s what’s really sad. The movement conservatives are already trying to convince themselves that the reason Romney is losing is because he isn’t conservative enough. The National Review even applauded Romney’s comments in the video as the most expressly conservative thing he has said since entering the race. It is unclear if they will ever figure out that being hard-line hateful ideologues is not the solution, it is the problem.

© Kevin Siers



  1. Gerald wrote:

    Excellent summary. Mitt is a smart, very capable guy – it’s his party which is holding him back!

    Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    He should wait a few more weeks and then completely reverse course on every position. Start favoring universal health care, taxing the rich, gay marriage, etc. Make Obama look like the conservative. That would make for an interesting election day.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
  3. David Freeman wrote:

    Gerald – what objective evidence is there that Romney is “a smart, very capable guy”? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying I haven’t seen it. He may be smart in a very narrow manner but without the prestige that comes with wealth and privileged family, I really wonder if he would have distinguished himself in anything. Wealth and family took W a long way and he’s clearly an idiot. Romney only looks marginally better to me and with less integrity.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
  4. NOLABill wrote:

    You know, I just wanted to point out something that you said that I think is the real reason why Romney cannot connect with people: He sees this as a job, not a calling. He sees being President as the most important job in the United States not as to what it means to the people, but rather what it would mean to him to be “the most powerful man in the world.”

    You can disagree with President Obama and his policies, but anybody with any real grasp on politics and isn’t being sensationalized understands that he’s trying to do what he honestly believes is best for this country and its people. I honestly believe that, even if sometimes I don’t quite like the result.

    Romney on the other hand, I feel like would probably see being the President more as what he can do for himself and how important it is to be in power, while paying lip service to all of the other duties of being President.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink
  5. Arthanyel wrote:

    NOLABILL: Excellent point and well said!

    Friday, September 21, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink
  6. BTN wrote:

    I think Romney is just running to avenge his father’s own presidential campaign loss.

    Friday, September 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink