Friday, August 31, 2012


For much of the fall of 2008, Sarah Palin seemed like the person at the top of the Republican ticket. But even then, the nominal presidential candidate, John McCain, had a strong personality, as well as a biography that was hard to ignore, and he had the ability to take the spotlight back from his diva running mate (although he did that mostly with loopy moves like suspending his campaign during the financial collapse, then botching his response to the collapse).

Mitt Romney is different. He can be upstaged by pretty much anybody -- Chris Christie, Condi Rice, Lyin' Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair.

We've had three emotionally reserved presidential candidates from Massachusetts in my lifetime, but the last two, like McCain, had compelling life stories: John Kerry as a Purple Heart winner turned anti-war activist (and, if you lived in the wingnut fever swamps, a gigolo and a guy who lied about his war record), Michael Dukakis as the son of immigrants and thus an embodiment of the American dream (even his flatness of affect in the face of a gang assault from Lee Atwater and outside Republican interest groups was oddly compelling).

Mitt Romney is different. I don't know if it's literally impossible to make his life story compelling or if he and his wife and campaign just refuse to do it, but they failed this week -- the supposedly humanizing touches in Ann's speech were mostly generic (if you have several young sons, they can be boisterous!); in Mitt's speech last night he was able to find some luminous detail about his parents' marriage (the daily rose from George), but he wasn't able (or willing) to reveal anything comparable about his own.

And he seems to be treating the plans for his presidency -- the specifics of his policies -- the way he's treating his marriage (and, for that matter, his tax returns): as something decent people don't talk about in public, and don't ask about.

So he was not compelling last night. He's one of the least compelling Republicans out there (even though many of them are compelling the way a train wreck is compelling).

"Good enough," said CNN commentator and GOP operative Alex Castellanos. "No silver tongue, but Mitt Romney gets job done," said Politico. And what was the "job"? Let Democrat-basher Howie Carr of the Boston Herald answer that:
He's not Barack Obama.

In the end, that's what it comes down to with Mitt Romney. He's running as the non-Barack Obama.

... this election will be about Barack Obama, period.... [Romney]'s just the vessel.
But he's a terrible vessel. So why don't the Republicans just send him home and let him hang out with his grandkids and play with his car elevator? We know he's the guy who'll be sworn in as president if Obama loses. He doesn't have to keep reminding us of that. And we also know he's not the (cankered, diseased) heart and soul of the party.

So send Ryan out on the stump. Send Governor Kramden of New Jersey. Hell, send Eastwood and the chair. Better yet, send the Kochs and Limbaugh and Grover Norquist, because they're going to be running things if Romney wins. Leave Romney at home.

Oscar Wilde wrote this about one of his literary contemporaries:
Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
Well, Mitt Romney campaigns as if it were a painful duty. So relieve him of that duty. This campaign isn't about him anyway.


Victor said...

Once he's elected - and he didn't do any damage to that last night, much to my chagrin - he'll only have ONE duty:
Walk out there, hit the mark, look handsome and Presidential, and read what's on the teleprompter.

The real duties of Presidentin' will be handled by the Koch Brothers via Ryan, and Grover and Wall Street will get the R's in Congress in line - even most of the current Teabagger members, who, like their supporters will, without a black Presdient, or a Democratic majority in either house, take off their tri-corner hats, do what they do best - which is follow - and don back their coats of 'good Republican cloth,' which will now mean Brooks Brothers. Nothing more flashy, lest the rubes get suspicious.

And the Teabagging rubes, their jobs done, will return to the basements and attics of their familes homes, securely locked away, to prevent further embarassment.

Sure, a few hard-line Teabaggers will stay out there. But they'll be marginalized to prevent further damage to Conservatism and the Republican Party. Quant relics of the 2nd American Revolution - when the Republican Party liberated America from the tyranny of the Democractic Party and representative democracy, and establised a Fascist Plutocracy - UNDER god! With liberty and justice - for the chosen.

The ones who go quietly into the night should get gold watches as thanks for a job well done. And, unlike the rest of us, SS and Medicare for life.

And Mitt will do his 1 duty for 2 terms, and hand off the franchise to Ryan, who will continue to rule for 8 years, until it's Rubio's turn to lead the permanent Republican majority - of the now way-Right-of Center-Right, whether most American like it or not.

Those that don't agree won't be able to do anything about it, since, by not going along with the program, lost their "privilege" to vote.

This is, of course, the nightmare dystopian vision that only a hard-core pessimist like me can have.

Hopefull, there'll be some people who come along later, who'll help talk me off the ledge.

Palli said...

Well, he does do it because it is his noblesse oblige.
The Romney existence is defined by money and he already has more than he can use so now it is his job to make it possible for himself and all the other nobles to keep their money from the serfs. And as president candidate (and if the election fraud goes according to plan) he can do that and also be provided with new ways of feeling important.
he is the black side of self-esteem. Believing you are important is an addiction and he's got it bad.

Never Ben Better said...

One tiny ray of light, dear Victor: It appears that even the stenographers in the media are getting sick of the blatant lying and just beginning to start to edge towards maybe possibly kinda sorta pointing it out.

A slander reed to cling to in the sewer explosion, I know, but I do sense a change stirring there.

Victor said...

From your mouth, to the FSM's ears - if He/She/It has any.

But, like Steve said in the earlier post, be careful what we with for.

It may be a case of "We ain't seen nothing yet!"

Next week, they'll parse EVERY syllable from EVERY Democrat, for even a hint of embellishment.

And then come down on them with the wrath of the FSM on them!

And this time, they won't parse it the same way they did the Republicans. They'll openly call them liers.

Remember - the first rule of modern journalism and punditry is, "Thou SHALL Equivocate!"

So now, it'll now be "He lied/She lied."
Even if they have to twist themselves up like DNA to do it.