Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen interview Mitt Romney for Politico and find that he is the most self-pitying major-party presidential candidate since Richard Nixon (although that's not how they put it):
Mitt Romney conceded President Barack Obama has succeeded in making him a less likable person, but he offered a defiant retort to those hoping he will open up this week: "I am who I am."(Yup -- it's all Barack Obama's fault!)
Romney quoted that Popeye line three times in a 30-minute interview with POLITICO about his leadership style and philosophy, swatting away advice from Republicans to focus on connecting with voters in a more emotional, human way at this convention....Yeah -- the popular kids get away with everything!
"I know there are some people who do a very good job acting and pretend they're something they're not," Romney said. "You get what you see. I am who I am."
"I don't think everybody likes me," Romney said. "I don't believe that, by any means. But I do believe that people of this country are looking for someone who can get the country growing again with more jobs and more take-home pay, and I think they realize this president had four years to do that. ... He got every piece of legislation he wanted passed, and it didn't work. I think they want someone who has a different record, and I do."That's right -- Obama faced absolutely no resistance from Congress! Gitmo is closed, the Bush tax cuts are history, the DREAM Act is law, cap-and-trade is in place -- and he gets away with asking for more because he's a BMOC, unlike Romney!
... during the interview, Romney made plain he is tired of the criticism that he is stiff, distant or not broadly liked by voters.This guy is more Nixonian than Nixon. Nixon didn't tell interviewers he was a quivering mass of resentments and grudges -- we had to learn that from journalists and historians. Romney just flat-out admits it. No wonder he's losing!
Again and again, he argued that he was likable enough to bring together people of divergent views to rescue the Olympics, pioneer profit-making ideas at Bain, govern a Democratic state and even to win over peers in school.
"I was voted the president of my fraternity," he said. "They don't call them fraternities at Brigham Young University. They're called Service Clubs. It was the Cougar Club. But you don't get voted to be head of your group if you don't get along with people, if you don't connect with people."
The issue seems close to the surface for Romney....
Except it's not at all certain that he's losing:
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Romney at 47 percent among registered voters and Obama at 46 percent....And that's before any convention bounce.
I'm starting to think Romney's going to win this thing. It's the economy, obviously -- but it may also be that, after being asked repeatedly to show us who he really is, Romney is actually doing that -- and the real Romney is a guy with everything who nevertheless feels very, very sorry for himself, and very, very angry at all the mean people who won't leave him alone. (Um, yeah, he did volunteer to run for president, but he seems to think he has a right to do that and not expect scrutiny.)
And maybe his supporters like that about him. Who's going to vote for Romney? White people, obviously, particularly white men. I wonder if they actually relate to Romney in his self-pitying, put-upon mode. Some white men in this country haven't screwed by the economy but think they're victims nevertheless (the rich who whine about lack of respect from Obama even as their wealth increases, the upper middle class). Other white men are screwed by the economy, but they're in the habit of blaming non-whites, women, the media ... pretty much everybody Obama is reaching out to, and pretty much everybody except the fat-cat bosses who use them up and toss them on the trash heap. Struggling white men relate to the people who screw them. So maybe they relate to a guy like Whining Willard.