I never did understand why the Republicans chose John McCain in 2008 instead of Mitt Romney. Mitt just looked so much more presidential. They finally did the logical thing in 2012, ignoring all of his past sins against “conservative principles”. They ignored his flip flopping and his weird cult. They rationalized his rather questionable business practices and tried to overlay their values onto his blank slate.
Romney could have been engineered by a Hollywood casting director. He is very tall ,very handsome, very rich, and very … flexible. He smiles easily and is willing to tell every audience whatever it wants to hear. If he needs statistics to support his argument of the day, he just creates some and then obfuscates when the fact checkers come knocking. His sunny optimism allows supporters to believe him when he says he will create 12,000,000 new jobs [without any plan whatsoever].
What if he looked like this
or was as boring to listen to as John Kerry. Mitt Romney is like a borg – a half human, half robot, programmed to look and sound like the perfect candidate, but completely devoid of principals or real plans. The last time America picked a President purely based on looks it elected Warren Harding, then deemed to be the best looking man/politician in the country. Most historians agree that he was the worst President in American history.
If Mitt were less attractive or less well spoken then more would be demanded of him with regard to policy ideas. He would have to know more and flip flop less. Like George Bush the 2nd he is a legacy candidate – the progeny of a famous politician from an earlier time. He is therefore assumed to carry the same commitment to public service and to possess the same concern for the average citizen as his father. Like an Ivy league application from a legacy – less is expected and required.
The problem with being so attractive and substance free is that we are all forced to attach values and beliefs without really knowing if any of them apply. Since 1920 we have not had such a candidate who is so close to winning. Will he cut taxes on the rich or decide it’s fiscally imprudent? Will he attack China for currency manipulation or become an advocate for outsourcing like he was at Bain (and when he was Governor of Mass)? Every Romney voter must carry with him a feeling of trust based on absolutely nothing but the unsupported assertions of polemicists and the endorsement of the party.
As I watch the debate tonight there will be one question on my mind – what would the polls say if Romney were a short fat bald man with a squeaky voice?