Published On: Sat, Jan 7th, 2012

Mitt Romney – Poor Little Fool

Mitt Romney’s poll numbers in Iowa have not risen in four years. He earned 25% of the Republican vote in the 2008 Iowa Caucus and garnered 25% again this week. It was just enough to squeak past Rick Santorum by 8 votes but hardly a vote of confidence in Mr. Romney’s presumed Presidential bid against Barack Obama in 2012.

Republicans voters have been told by their ideological superiors that Mr. Romney is the only electable candidate in a showroom of lemons. Newt Gingrich has too much baggage (all those ex-wives), Rick Perry is too stiff (can’t win in a debate against Obama), Ron Paul is too libertarian (or just plumb crazy), and Michelle Bachman … well, she’s out of the race, thumbing it back to Minnesota and a hoping for a primetime slot on Fox News.

Is Mitt Romney the best choice? A man so bland and non-threatening, he makes boiling water seem exciting. Voter turnout will be a deciding factor in 2012 but Mitt Romney is hardly a Republican heartthrob. His wholesome demeanor is meant to evoke matinee idol Ricky Nelson, but his all-American good-looks have frayed over the years. They neither quicken the pulse nor pull the lever in the voting booth.

The conservative movement has been losing its game for a while, but never has the slump been so much in evidence as when Fox New, National Review and other conservative organs shoot down truly conservative candidates in favor of electable ones. Some call this pragmatism; others call it timidity or playing it safe. George Will opined that even if Romney loses to President Obama – no harm, no foul – since Republicans can win the Senate and that’s where real power resides. Oh, really? Filibustering in the Senate is as good as holding power in the Executive? Who woulda thunk? Thanks, George!

Republicans usually start out with a bull for a candidate. Then the mainstream media complains he’s too religious, too dump, or a warmonger. By the end of the primary, Republicans are left with a hogtied calf. Then Barack Obama can ride in swinging a lasso and yelp; “Yippee-hi-ho!”

Liberal progressives have mastered the art of turning things inside out. Take their latest spin on marriage: monogamy (optional), polygamy (only when it’s consensual and not religious), same-sex unions (it better pass or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your heterosexual house down!). Or the Arab Spring; “Even if the mullahs take over, it’s still a democracy, dammit!”

Mainstream conservatives have fallen for these hissy fits again and again. Liberals are like a tipsy wife – conservatives will agree to anything just to pipe them down.

But it’s not just that liberals are harridans. Mainstream conservatives have also developed an air of condescension toward Republican voters. The edict goes: we think, you vote.

This seems to be an influence of the neoconservatives with their think tanks and know-it-alls. They are focused more on winning than conservatism, which is part of the problem. Ronald Reagan was not born in a think tank, but birthed by experience and conviction. Neoconservatives are too enamored by statistics and instant polling to cultivate a true conservative candidate, so voters are increasingly forced to settle for less and less.

In their defense, they claim that Romney is an economic whiz who will revitalize our ailing economy the way he turned around failing companies. But is he prepared to make the draconian cuts that are needed just to right the ship, let alone turn it around? Given that he was governor of Massachusetts, known for its largesse and Romney-care, plus the fact that the federal budget has ballooned under both Republican and Democratic leadership over the past thirty years; it’s difficult to imagine a generic candidate like Mitt Romney having the stomach to administer radical surgery to government spending.

On other issues dear to conservatives such as immigration, tax reform and abortion, Romney has shown himself to be a flip-flopper.

His closest challenger, Rick Santorum, is an attractive candidate. His conservative bona fides seem in order and his religious values appear genuine, if a little altar-boyish. We are told, however, that Santorum will lose independent voters who don’t know him well enough and liberals who are turned off by all his children (he has seven in an age of one-and-half kids). At least Santorum has fire in the belly and aspires toward the presidency whereas Romney looks as if it’s due to him. If nothing else, Santorum’s challenge could pull Romney further to the right, perhaps earning a V.P. nomination in the process.

But Romney would still be a moderate. And that just what liberals want.

They defeated another moderate Republican, John McCain, with a candidate who got by with a teleprompter and an engaging smile. If Barack Obama rose to the presidency by telling liberals everything they wanted to hear; Mitt Romney is the kid born to be class president but never was. One has a thievish grin who always wins; the other a strained smile of a runner-up.

This raises a nagging question: Mitt Romney may be electable, but is he winnable?

It reminds me of how young girls were once told that “looks aren’t everything” when choosing a mate, “brains matter, too”. This was Romney’s strongest selling point – his economic brainpower. But with unemployment declining, it’s beginning to lose its appeal. Girls, like voters, rarely heed their mother’s advice and while Mitt Romney may be brainy, they know he is nowhere near as dreamy as say – Ricky Nelson.

About the Author

- Robert Maley has worked in publishing, banking and – as incongruent as it may seem – the theatrical world. After many years of living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he now resides in the more pastoral setting of Virginia. A playwright with an MFA from Columbia University, he has had several plays produced off-off-Broadway. Presently, he is a critic of the Cultural Marxism to which he once allied, especially as it pertains to the arts, faith and academia.