Romney Still Firmly in the Uncanny Valley: Exploiting the Dead for Political Gain
As part of the Romney Family’s reboot of the Mittbot’s campaign, he’s been trying to go all “real Mitt” and demonstrate that he can relate to specimens of Homo sapiens by choking up on cue on the stump as he recounts tales of his encounters with the inferior classes.
Surprise. It’s not working out so well.
The mother of Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, told a Boston TV station that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shouldn’t politicize her son’s death.
Romney told an Iowa campaign audience Tuesday about a chance encounter with a Navy SEAL during a Christmas party in San Diego, although he did not invoke Doherty by name. Romney owns a home in the California area and Doherty was stationed there, serving in the military. Romney cited the SEAL’s dedication to the Middle East and his commitment to foreign service as a way to draw a contrast with President Barack Obama’s response in the region, which Romney has criticized as lacking in leadership.
After Romney’s remarks, Barbara Doherty told Boston’s WHDH 7News that the GOP nominee shouldn’t invoke her son that way again.
“I don’t trust Romney,” she said. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
This is borne out by the memories of a friend of Glen Doherty:
Romney was visibly emotional during the story, and the video of the speech was repeated throughout the day on network and cable news.
But one of Glen Doherty’s best friends remembered Doherty’s impression of this meeting much differently.
Elf Ellefsen met Glen Doherty skiing in Utah when he was 19, and the two men remained friends for more than 20 years.
“A guy living life wise beyond his years. Always trying to be progressive as well as do the right thing. Always challenging himself to his greatest ability,” Ellefsen remembered.
He last saw Doherty a week before the final mission to Libya. “I stayed in his house (in California), we paddled out in the ocean together, spent some good quality time.”
Ellefsen said Doherty recalled meeting Mitt Romney years ago, but the account was much different from what the Presidential candidate retold in Iowa.
According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.
“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”
Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic.
“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
Ellefsen described Glen Doherty as a humble, non-political guy, and said it was ironic for him to be used during a presidential campaign.
“Whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, it doesn’t make a difference. Because this guy is using our great friend, our humble, and honorable great friend…who is truly larger than life…He has become part of the soapbox routine for politics in a presidential race.”
Ellefsen said he understands why people would want to link themselves with Doherty. “Of all people to tie yourself to for advancement in life, it’s not surprising that Romney or anybody else would want to tie themselves to Glen Doherty. Because he was incredible. And I can honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was the greatest person I have ever met in my life.”
I asked Ellefsen what he thought of his friend’s story being used on the political stump:
“Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it. He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
Even in death, Glen Doherty’s evidently a better person than I am. As for Mitt ...
The Yahoo! News story now carries this, before the Borg insist he was talking about a different, mysteriously untraceable SEAL and HOW DARE I?
[UPDATED: 2:40 p.m. ET] Mitt Romney’s campaign told ABC News it would stop citing the meeting with Glen Doherty.
Yeah, I’m sure you will, you fuckers. Now about those other touching stories ...