As if things weren’t already bad enough, what with most people not being able to figure out who he really is, and those who have deciding that they don’t like him and people making fun of him on the internets with things like this:
…now comes word that, after the Bataan Death-March which this year’s GOP nominating contest has become, following a divisive and dispirited convention in which Dog-on-Car battles Man-on-Dog to the preordained Pyrrhic victory, both he and Republicans in general face an astounding 55 point gap* with the President and the Democrats among Hispanic/Latino voters. Add that to the pre-existing gap with women, which has grown into a chasm in the midst of a quixotic national slut-shaming campaign by conservatives (slut = any woman who ever has, or has ever had, sex – or thought about it) and it all adds up to no way this guy can win, probably not even with the assist of the most aggressive attempts to stop the wrong people from voting that we’ve seen since the days of Jim Crow and unlimited superPAC funds.
In a way, you almost have to pity Romney. He seems like he’s not a horrible guy, just one who’s very out-of-touch with the daily realities and concerns of people who aren’t quarter-billionaires. Unfortunately, the only principle he seems to be able to hold firm is that he should be the president, and this opens him to a world of ridicule. There’s just something unseemly about a guy with that much wealth debasing himself with awkward greetings of “Mornin’, y’all” and visibly insincere paens to “cheesy grits” (note, Mitt – they’re cheese grits, not “cheesy” grits).
Even in a Republican party not gone insane, Mitt would still be a less-than-compelling candidate. But he has the misfortune of having his turn come up at a time when the party faithful will accept nothing less than barking lunacy in a candidate, and to his discredit, he’s tried to accomodate – which has earned him a slight plurality in the nomination race. The Beatles were right all those years ago – money can’t buy you love, but it can certainly insulate you from those who don’t love you – if only you’ll let it.
On second thought, maybe Romney’s as crazy as the rest of the bunch – he’s sought this out, when he could just be hanging out around the pool at his 11,000 sf seaside mansion, playing with his grandkids and secure in the knowledge that his fortune will keep them wealthy to the end of their lives. Instead, he spends his time on the road, sleeping in motels and probably eating fairly crappy road food, to pander to people who don’t really like him under the pretense of being a fellow Wal-Mart shopper.
In the larger sense, Romney’s tragedy is the tragedy of the Republican party.** As I noted elsewhere, back in the Reagan era, Evil drove the conservative bus; Stupid just paid for the gas. That’s completely reversed now; Stupid is driving the bus, and it’s being funded by Evil in the form of the Koch brothers and folks like Sheldon Adelson, Gingrich’s pimp daddy. Reagan had to pretend to be smarter than he was to win; Romney has to pretend to be dumber than he is to secure the nomination. I remember thinking back at the beginning of the whole teabagging thing about Churchill’s quote: “Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” I thought then that encouraging the expression of sheer id the party had appealed to for the past 30 years was probably not a very good idea; but encourage it they did. It now appears that the 2012 election will be one where we witness the tigers feeding upon the entrails of their former riders.
One can always hope, anyway.
*This is a Fox News poll, so it doesn’t have any of that icky liberal media bias on it.
**For all values of “tragedy” which fit the Mel Brooks definition (paraphrased): “Comedy is when you fall down a flight of stairs and break your neck. Tragedy is when I stub my toe.”