Friday, February 24, 2012


You probably already know about Mitt Romney's latest Richie Rich gaffe, which came in a sparsely attended speech he gave in Detroit today:

Romney then listed the various cars he and his wife own.

"I drive a Mustang and Chevy pickup truck," he said. "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually...."

Now, I've said in the past that Romney ought to switch gears and boast about his wealth. That doesn't seem like a good idea, of course, when he's struggling with sub-$100,000-a-year voters even within his own party, and he digs a deeper hole for himself every time he says something oblivious like this "couple of Cadillacs" remark.

But I think if he can't talk about his wealth in a way that's big-pimpin', he could at least put it into a narrative with a hero and a villain. The hero would be himself and all the brave, beleaguered millionaires and billionaires. The villain would be all us evil commie liberals who don't want people like him to succeed, dammit!

You put your success in those terms and you can talk all day about Cadillacs and $10,000 bets and liking to fire people -- as lomg as the rubes also hear you say, or imply, "And I bet you'd like to be rich and fire people, too. And you know why you can't? Because the damn liberals tax you too much and are systematically destroying the free enterprise system! It's their fault you're not rich!"

Instead, Romney reminds you of his wealth in contexts that are 180 degrees removed from that message. Here, instead of couching a mention of his wealth in talk about how great capitalism can be, he says it as part of a passage everyone knows wound up in his speech because he feels obligated to sing the praises of Michigan, in a transparently phony way.

If he can't do swagger, he should at least do Randian rage. That's implicit when Trump talks, or even Herman Cain. And both of them won a lot more love from the base at their peaks in the polls than Romney ever has.


Danp said...

You just know he chose those four vehicles because he's running for president, for Pete's sake. The problem is Cadillacs suggest the old guy from Monopoly. Mustangs suggest pre-preppy "Biff", and the Chevy pick-up is Farmer Joe. None of them suggest he has crossed over into the 21st Century.

BH said...

Besides the stupendous tone-deafness of the remark itself, the setting was hilarious. A football stadium, for a crowd of 1200? Great optics, no? According to what I read, the Romney campaign denied having picked the venue for the "big speech" - which suggests the question, who DID pick it? Santorum? Axelrod?

Nothstine said...

>I've said in the past that
>Romney ought to switch gears
>and boast about his wealth.

Steve, I always thought you were right about this, and now -- maybe -- events on the ground have finally caught up with you:

"On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played the clip of Romney’s comments and asked Romney if he can see why people may be 'put off.' Romney replied indignantly: 'If people think there’s something wrong with being successful in America then they better vote for the other guy.'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top Romney surrogate, sounded the same note on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning."

Now the question is: Will Romney stick with this, or is it just another here-today-forgotten-tomorrow rhetorical gambit?