Sunday, September 30, 2012

Romney's Selling, Mainstream America Just Isn't Buying

Thurston Howell, III as played by actor Jim Backus
Let's just call it like it is; there's a growing sense pervading the collective 'culturegeist' of the American voter that we simply can't afford four years of a Romney presidency.

Even after his disastrous and possibly irreparable remarks about the "47%" (a group including retired veterans, retired workers living on pensions they earned, people working two jobs and members of the oft-forgotten long-term unemployed who can't find jobs because US companies are content to sit on huge cash reserves rather than expand hiring), Flipper found a way to seem even more like an affable-but-doddering scion of privilege totally alienated from mainstream Americans.

As detailed on numerous blogs and Websites including, Marriott chairman Bill Marriott
(#298 on the Forbes 400 with a net worth of $1.6 billion) introduced the candidate at a recent fundraiser by relating a story of how he pulled his boat up to a crowded slip at a dock on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and couldn't find anyone to help him. Mittens bravely stepped forward to tie up the line and secure the expensive craft of the head of one of the largest hotel chains in the world; and it's fair to observe, a fellow wealthy leader of the Mormon Church.

Nothing personal against Bill Marriott mind you, he's a decent enough man who's been generous with charitable support for organizations like the Boy Scouts of America for years. But during this time when millions of Americans are struggling to find jobs, stay out of debt, hold on to their homes and survive the ravages of an economic downturn that's decimated the middle class, offering up the public endorsement of yet another billionaire as a character endorsement does little to reassure voters who have no confidence Romney is remotely capable of identifying with the struggles of the bulk of the US population.

Increasingly, Mittens is perceived in the media more as a caricature to be lampooned; a walking symbol embodying the ultra-wealthy 1% who inhabits a different America than the rest of us. A man who comes off more Thurtson Howell, III from Gilligan's Island than seasoned business executive ready to lead the nation into long-term recovery based on some kind of suave corporate savvy and a decidedly non-specific agenda based on sketchy old Supply-Side economic theories that have never actually worked.

The media blame game isn't helping Mitt either. As much as some of the more extreme conservative media pundits would like to make the growing gap between Obama and Romney about abstract concepts like "liberal media bias" (or one of my favorite Sarah Palinisms, "the lame-stream media") the plain truth is the problem is simply Mitt Romney and his ultra-conservative budget-hawk VP candidate sidekick Congressman Paul Ryan. 

As Brian Knowlton observed on today's Caucus blog on the New York Times Website,  just this morning Ryan appeared on Fox News Sunday to complain about how 'Media Bias' is skewing the sagging poll numbers.

Of course his dip at the polls has nothing to do with, oh I don't know, Ryan having been the leader of one of the most unproductive and obstructive Congresses in modern history? Or his having quite recently been booed onstage at a recent AARP convention audience after telling them he wants to repeal the Healthcare Reform Act? And surely his dismal poll numbers are unrelated to his desire for draconian unrealistic cuts in government spending that would overwhelmingly affect the poor and middle-class?

The media, liberal or conservative, has nothing to do with Americans having already pegged Ryan as a heartless technocrat who's a one-trick political pony. Choosing him as a running mate was one of Romney's worst decisions of his campaign. It's not that Mittens isn't a nice guy or a decent family-man, but it's obvious he just isn't the kind of candidate for president at a time when America needs innovative ideas, the ability to connect with all Americans regardless of their income level and the courage to tell the American people things they might not want to hear.

Maybe it's just possible that Romney and his embattled campaign manager Stuart Stevens (check out Maureen Dowd's op-ed on Stevens and his role in the mismanagement of Romney's run) can change the tide at this Wednesday nights presidential debate but I wouldn't bet on it.

Okay enough politics and links for now, the Yankees just tied Toronto in the 5th, I've gotta head to the gym to be back in time for my weekly fix of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'; it's what television can be when it dares to combine excellent writing with a willingness to explore topics of substance. Sunday nights are all about Nucky.

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