Mitt Romney: King of the Underpants Gnomes
When Mitt Romney “won” the title of presumptive least worst GOP presidential nominee of 2012, many of us were downhearted that the candidate who on the face of it was the least snarkworthy among the unsavory but risible mob on offer had finally bought the prize, leaving us with the prospect of long summer months of processing his tiresome bilge and trying to wring some humor out of a painfully tiresome personality even those who’ve rubbed shoulders with in his own party hold in disdain.
As it happens, so far he’s given us quite a few easy pickings, as some of the flurries of posts below bear out. What he lacks in natural humor, he and his ridiculous campaign staff have more than made up for through sheer effort.
It was evident from past form, and especially during the GOP primaries, that here is a pitiful bully of a man who has proven himself quite happy to dish copious dirt on anyone who stands in his way—preferably at arm’s length, organized and financed by his inconceivably rich backers, abetted by some useful idiots who’ll parrot it abroad so that he can virtuously disclaim responsibility for it—who has a glass jaw when it comes to criticism or what he perceives as lack of respect for his self-importance.
Faced with the no doubt infuriatingly calmer temperament of President Obama, the prospect of an uberpatrician blow-up in the later stages of the campaign was something to look forward to with anticipation.
In the end, all it’s taken is a simple demand to share financial details that every other candidate for the office of President of the United States has made public—a demand echoed by many within his own party who’re tiring of his constant shifty evasiveness—which, coupled with the dropping of the word “felon,” has so wounded this shallow blowhard’s pride that his campaign now declares that “the gloves are off.”
So presumably this means that no longer will Mitt Romney hide behind the likes of the dreadful hacks at sites like Breitbart.com when he wants to benefit from personal attacks, innuendoes, and shady rumormongering about President Obama—he’ll get down in the dirt and own them fully? That would be the first brave political move I’ve ever heard of him making.
Except that apparently the plan is that Mitt Romney’s still going to rely on the hired help to do his dirty work for him:
“[Romney] has said Obama’s a nice fellow, he’s just in over his head,” the adviser said. “But I think the governor himself believes this latest round of attacks that have impugned his integrity and accused him of being a felon go so far beyond that pale that he’s really disappointed. He believes it’s time to vet the president. He really hasn’t been vetted; McCain didn’t do it.”
Indeed, facing what the candidate and his aides believe to be a series of surprisingly ruthless, unfounded, and unfair attacks from the Obama campaign on Romney’s finances and business record, the Republican’s campaign is now prepared to go eye for an eye in an intense, no-holds-barred act of political reprisal, said two Romney advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the next chapter of Boston’s pushback—which began last week when they began labeling Obama a “liar”—very little will be off-limits, from the president’s youthful drug habit, to his ties to disgraced Chicago politicians.
“I mean, this is a guy who admitted to cocaine use, had a sweetheart deal with his house in Chicago, and was associated and worked with Rod Blagojevich to get Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate,” the adviser said. “The bottom line is there’ll be counterattacks.”
Such bravery. Even his own staff are so ashamed of what they’re proposing that they only “spoke on condition of anonymity.” Just like so many of the trolls who populate online forums from Powerline to Weasel Zippers to Big Journalism and beyond. None of this is going to be new. What will be new if these threats are carried out is that they will bear the Romney brand, overtly if not proudly.
A while back, it was mooted that the main reason the Romney campaign wouldn’t go full-throated in personifying attacks on the president—and why Romney himself has tended to characterize him as “a nice guy,” just not up to the job—was fear of a backlash because Obama’s personal approval ratings totally eclipse those of Romney. According to polling, even Republicans who are very unlikely ever to vote for him find Obama as a person quite likeable, certainly more so than the candidate they’ve been saddled with.
But the new cunning plan is a rerun of the tactics some elements of the media and the more feverish among the blogosphere, channeled by Sarah Palin, tried and failed with in 2008. It goes like this:
Dish the same old dirt that’s been doing the rounds for years and carry on making shit up.
Mitt Romney is outsourcing his campaign to the professional arm of the Breitbart left-behinders, those who covertly send out those emails some of your family may sometimes forward to you for goodness knows what reason, the fringe who’ve been jabbering since 2008 about Obama’s Muslimitude, his unenvettened state, his murderous ways, no doubt if Donald Trump has anything to do with it, his birth certificate, his academic records, and any other old shite that may just grease the wheels to power.
No longer can Mitt Romney hide behind others. These attacks now have his imprimatur. He owns them.
Crazy as the US presidential electoral system seems to an outsider (and some of you may agree), one thing it seems to do quite effectively through its sheer gruelling length is to test the temperament of the candidates. By that standard, Mitt Romney has already lost.