Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Look Out Below
Some, including Dana Milbank at the Washington Post have begun a not-so-flattering comparison of Mitt Romney to Al Gore. Gore, you may remember, was treated with the utmost contempt by the Washington press corps for being a phony. Remember all the "lies" that Al Gore said? Inventing the internet? Exposing Love Canal? Being the inspiration for Love Story? Of course, even a marginally careful reading of those lies within the context of the whole thought showed that he didn't say any of those things.
It didn't matter. The Press hated Gore and their coverage showed it. They even thought the "Kiss" at the convention was fake. His sighing during the debates when he was flabbergasted by the nitwit standing next to him on stage was blown out of all proportion. And so we got eight years of an idiot man-child "C-Plus Augustus".
It got so vehement, that some of that contempt rubbed off on John Kerry.
Well, now it's the Republican's turn.
By all accounts, the press hates Romney as much or more than they hated Gore. Here's a taste from Michael Kinsley.
Mitt Romney is now the de facto nominee. He may or may not win South Carolina, but the GOP are - as they so often do - falling in line. But the stunning lack of enthusiasm for their presumptive nominee is really troubling for them.
Romney will struggle to move to the center, since his base is already up in arms. If he moves too far to the middle, he's all but guaranteed a third party challenge to his right. If he doesn't, he stuck in this weird position of having to be Multiple Choice Mitt, bouncing back and forth from what he said in the past and what he says today.
But most interesting of all is the fact that the GOP once thought that a long primary season would benefit them, because they felt Obama had an advantage over McCain due to the long primary fight with Clinton. The long Democratic primary worked, the thinking went, because it kept Obama in the news, it honed his campaign skills and it gave him exposure in almost every state.
The problem for the GOP is that Mitt has a glass jaw. Oddly, most of the debates have been about the Not Mitt's attacking each other to become the Sole Not Mitt. When they did train their sights on Mitt, he got whiny and prickly. As Kinsley says, he acts like he's owed this job and is tired of having to justify it to these pesky voters.
In other words, he has all of McCain's aggressive irritation with debating without McCain's reputation or resume. And remember how smooth Obama was compared to McCain? The race was probably won shortly after McCain tapped Princess Snowbilly Caribou Barbie as his running mate (if not before), but the debates sealed the deal.
Romney is not really loved by anyone. Conservatives don't trust him, the press hates him and his dog would rip his throat out if he had half a chance. He's also alienated the fastest growing ethnic group in the country.
If the economy tanks again, he could win. Given events in the Straits of Hormuz and the constant peril of the Eurozone, anything is possible.
But it will be tough to win if he pooches the debates, because he's not going to get a free ride from the press the way McCain did. ("Not being able to remember how many houses he has is good for John McCain.")
Buyers remorse should hit hard by early spring if it hasn't already.
UPDATE: And now we have the "Romney Rule", a play on the Buffett Rule, where Mitt admits that he pays a tax rate of about 15% and no payroll taxes. That will play extremely well with working class voters...