I caught only a brief story about the Republican National Convention last night. The newscaster stated that it was going to be Ann Romney’s job to “humanize” her husband. I suppose, depending on your perspective, that is the work of either the liberal media or a Freudian slip. But in many ways it’s a fairly accurate commentary on the Romney clan.
The Romneys have somehow managed to make the Republican Party whiter and starchier. On an Osmond scale, these people are off the charts. It’s almost amazing that they can connect with regular folk at all. Granted, they’re a good looking bunch. No argument there. The boys with their chiseled jaws and pretty smiles would make a Hollister ad exec envious. But we’ve all seen pictures of Mitt trying to pull off the Wrangler Jeans look or the Carhartt jacket. It’s the near definition of awkward. And for good reason. Mitt Romney is not like most of us – or we’re not like him (parse it any way you like). He can roll up his sleeves all he wants. Heck, he can even shout at my kids and be a source of disappoint to my mother, but he and I will never be the same. Mitt Romney lives in a world as foreign to us as ours is to him. You don’t have to be a terribly deep thinker to realize this (and chances are you’re not if you’re reading this blog) . All you have to do is look at the guy.
Mitt Romney comes from a world where money is not only the yardstick by which one measures others’ value, but also the panacea to any problem. On a very fundamental level I don’t believe he understands that governance is not just about the mathematical exercise of cutting the national debt, or that the unemployment rate is not one massive balance sheet that you can fix by increasing revenues or moderating expenditures. Nor should he. His entire experience, tells him otherwise.
Frankly, I can come to terms with with the fact that he thinks he can fix all that ails us, but I’m troubled that so many buy into the hype. Which really is a sad commentary on the American voting public more than anything else. We’re always eager to embrace a candidate with great hair and a bag of magic beans and yet we’re always surprised that after he buys us dinner and has his way with us he breaks up with us via text.
Now, before you get all Anne Coulter on me, I’ll admit that the folks on the left are also prone to promises they can’t keep. But the crucial distinction is that the left at least makes promises that, if true, would seem to benefit society as a whole – expanding benefits, funding programs, health care for all, a chicken in every pot, a condom in every school. The right, on the other hand, can only peddle the snake oil of tax breaks and trickle down theory.
If you don’t know much about economics, trickle down theory is theory that the best way to raise your property value is to pay to put an addition on your neighbor’s house.
And so here is the illogical nature of the proposition. Put aside the flip floppery, put aside the faux compassion, put aside the “Massachusetts was 47th in job creation during his tenure as governor.” When you get right down to the chewy center, whether Romney wins or not, several million people will have voted for him based on the belief that strong business sense translates to the public sector or that we can shrink gubmint and still provide world-class services.
It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.