The 2012 campaign may have already reached an apex of agape anticipation at what Mitt Romney is about to subject himself to.
In an economy run into the ground by Bush’s $2 trillion tax cuts, after the unrelenting arrogance of Speaker John Boehner’s sole recovery strategy to continually tweet “Where are the jobs?” he has an answer: about 2 million more of them in the last six months, according to the latest jobs report.
It gets worse for the corporate raider that made mountains of money from firing people at other companies. The most talked about moment from the Super Bowl today is not Madonna or Manning but Clint Eastwood, and his Oscar-winning skills waxing a thank you from Detroit to Obama for keeping the auto industry (and its jobs) alive. So stirring and inspiring was this Republican filmmaker’s ode to Obama that Karl Rove, the master of anonymous attack ads and Super PAC media saturation, scoffed that he was offended by the Chrysler spot. Clint Eastwood and Halftime in America were trending the next morning on Twitter over anything else Super Bowl related, including the hash tag “#SuperBowl.”
It’s bad enough that Romney has to make repeated remarks about how weirded out he is about poor people. His handlers know that just looks bad, but it’s not like they’re losing any poor people’s votes.
But the reason Team Romney is walking off a pier in concrete wingtips is because his campaign represents the most clueless padded elite, at a time when most Americans are so desperate, they are devoid of the “fall back” mentality of automatically forgetting recent history, blaming whoever is in power and voting for the default alternative.
In the wake of Romney’s resurgence after the South Carolina primary, much attention was paid to the boost he received from his debate performance, where he embraced an angrier tone, imitating Newt Gingrich’s successful indignant white man outrage. Too much attention was apparently paid to Romney’s debate coach, Brett O’Donnell, because he was dumped from the campaign after receiving media recognition, according to Politico. Romney staffers chaffed at the credit, and O’Donnell was not invited on to continue with the campaign as had been expected. Romney himself wanted to be emphatic that he could come up with his own comeback, not anyone else.
And here is the abject failure of leadership in not just Mitt Romney, but of the interests he represents, the vultures who prey on society under self-righteous claims of capitalism, but whose innovation is the exploitation of their workers. Whereas free markets purportedly offer a justice and balance to the universe akin to karma itself, and successful ideas are rewarded with elevation, here we see the same shark-like, short-sighted sensibility that is the real Mitt: Where someone succeeds at their job, rather than reward, they are fired, so that Mitt can reap their rewards. At a time when people are struggling for jobs and being shoved the tired Republican tripe of letting rich people keep more money as a solution to your own problems, Mitt Romney is firing the one guy doing his job well, because he’s viewed as a threat. Anti-competitive practices are how he rolls. Romney and the rich giants influencing our legislation didn’t get rich by competing on an open market with a level playing field. They got rich by takeovers and consolidating their competition so that they can monopolize.
Here’s the problem with Romney: even Republicans don’t want to vote for Romney. Many conservatives hate Obama based on conjecture or manufactured misinformation or basic policy difference. But they know why they dislike Romney. He oozes insincerity as he seeks to empathize with the struggles of the nearly half of America that is near or below the poverty line. Inherent partisan diversions won’t work in his favor. Mitt Romney lacks something in common with pretty much everyone else in America: what it’s like to look for a job.
It was epitomized in the moment where Romney was campaigning last year and spoke to a Florida unemployed man and commiserated that he, too, was also unemployed. Romney’s tin-eared joke about his own presidential aspirations to a representative of the millions of struggling Americans kind of says it all about what he’s in this for. Romney’s only offering over the other Republican candidates for president is that he can speak without specs of spittle flying from a frothy rage venting at immigrants, Muslims, or debate questioners. That, and his quarter billion dollars taxed at half what you pay on your income.
All of this is not to assure Obama this is his to play safe, down the middle. If one has ever had an opportunity to lead in American history, if there has ever been a president with the wind to his back and his foes flinching in their petulant obstruction, that time is now. Obama knows what Romney will learn, that you don’t get to be president by default.