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Tell it like it is

If Mitt Romney really wants to build a bigger armed forces,
maybe he could start with encourage one or two of his five sons to enlist. He could even probably pull some strings, and them to the Iraq theatre. That way he can say his family is really getting revenge for 9/11, since he feels that is why were there. Oh yeah I forgot defending America is for guys beneath the patrician class. Good Luck Mr. Hairdoo, this veteran won't be voting for you.

Hustveit

Nice comment, Lance. I've read that many Beltway Dems did see Romney as a potential GOP Clinton, in that he was charismatic (though seemingly less engaging in this aspect than Bill), had an image of competence, and was electable in a blue-state. If the GOP were anything like the Dems (in that Dems several times in a row has to pick the less exciting but electable choice) Romney would be the nominee.

I still think Romney will take the nomination through hard work, networking and diligence (much like your descriptions of Reagan compared to, say, Rudy in this post - OR FRED), but at the same time I have a feeling that we will see dramatic changes as we close in on Iowa in a few months (a huckabee perhaps, or a McCain comeback?).

Anyway, I rambled on here, but nice post, Lance. I love it when you analyze the political scene.

Hustveit

Just wanted to add, I disagree in that a Romney would be easier to beat than Rudy. That's not to say that I don't fear Rudy, but I actually think that Romney could potentially be the strongest general election GOP nominee despite right now it would appear that this distinction belongs to Rudy.

In fact, I think Rudy might very well turn out to be a weak nominee in many respects (though that's not to say he couldn't end up a ferociously difficult nominee to beat.)

joanr16

Democrats---well, most Democrats---have an advantage when they walk into diners.

Several advantages over Republicans actually, among them: 1) they've most likely actually eaten in a diner before; and 2) they probably know how it felt to work for below-minimum-plus-tips.

Maybe it's because the late, great Ann Richards sometimes reminded me of a salty old diner waitress that I'm remembering this: "Poor George [or Mitt, or Rudy], he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Ken Houghton

John Travolta, interviewed iirc on the publicity tour for Primary Colors, was asked about Bill Clinton. He said he hadn't expected anything but that Clinton, without his mentioning it, immediately said something about trying to get Germany (where they take their religions seriously) to recognize Ron Hubbard's Poker Bet as a Real Religion. "He knew exactly what I wanted!" said the amazed Travolta.

If I hear about a woman with two daughters one of whom doesn't have health insurance because she's out of school, I immediately think "This diner has no health plan." And, especially if I'm Mitt, I tip VERY well.

derek

I'm all for being mean to Mitt, but even if he were another Clinton, he couldn't do what Clinton does, because making the conversation all about the waitress helps a Democratic candidate, but hurts a Republican one. He needed to shut her down and move on.

If he'd found a small farmer who was in danger of the Death Tax (not that any such have been shown to exist), then he could have eased back and let the farmer talk.

grasshopper

Great post, Lance. It's difficult for me to imagine people taking Guiliani seriously, though. In NYC, I'm not alone, but probably not among major Republicans, whom I really don't get.
Still, it's difficult to think he wouldn't self-destruct long before winning the Presidency. If past is precedent, he's apt to divorce and remarry at least once during a long race demanding self-discipline and vigilance. He'll certainly behave savagely toward poor and struggling people, opening the door for the privileged to indulge their loathsome aversion.
But he's has out-sized personality that won't makes it across the necessary lines free from sticky, gross humiliation. A Catholic who has never taken his religion seriously might fly; one in all-out, unconscious revolt is begging for martyrdom, which means you die first, and only then become eligible for sainthood.

CK

Here is your Mitt showing his depth and perspicacity:
http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=3958
Oh wait no that's not Mitt ( well except for the part where he butts in irrelevantly ). That's the republican candidate who could win in 2008.

jello

so genius is making people think you care about them when you really don't.

Democrats---well, most Democrats---have an advantage when they walk into diners.

the worst real life example i've seen of this was during the 2003 primary campaign season in iowa. kerry was approached by a recently laid off verizon work who pleaded with him to do something about outsourcing. kerry couldn't run away fast enough. he had no empathy whatsoever. the verizon worker literally followed him from one corner of the room to another pleading to be heard and begging for solutions.

catherine

I just don't see Mitt as viable because the religious are skeptical of his religion and a religion that he refuses to discuss. Kennedy had to discuss his religion -- remember people would think that he take orders from the pope.

Michael

Ah, hell. Crohn's is nasty. My daughter has Crohn's, and I make good money, but I thank God I live in Puerto Rico where the insurance company is state-regulated and can't turn you down. Making minimum wage? That would hurt.

But hey, it's not Mitt's daughter who'll have to learn to live without intestines after a few months of excruciating pain and diarrhea twelve times a day because she can't afford medicine the next time she has a flare-up, eh? That waitress should have made better decisions and then she wouldn't have been in that pickle!

(Yes, I loathe conservatives when it comes to health care issues.)

Deschanel

Your post reminded me of what Bill Clinton has that Mitt Romney lacks.

Many many charismatic people have an absolute talent for making the person they're speaking with feel like they're the Most Fascinating Person in the World.

JFK had it; so did Jackie. Bill Clinton absolutely has it. It's quite a skill, theatrical as it is.
Decades later people still thrill to the memory of JFK turning on the charm tractor beam, saying his attractiveness on television was a mere sliver of his actual charisma when he was working a room. When Jackie was an editor taking an author to lunch, she'd be utterly aware that the rest of the restaurant would be abuzz and gawking at her, but she would never once break eye contact with the author, making the writer feel that she found them utterly fascinating.

It's seduction, and one can doubt sincerity, but with someone Like Bill Clinton, I'm certain it's reflexive and natural- he's truly skilled at making someone feel special, even for the fleeting moment of his time and attention. Romney's clumsy handling of the waitress underlines the old saw about charisma: you either got "it" or you don't.

Michael Fahey

What has Mitt Romney done to make you think he is a decent human being. It is obvious that he is a total and complete opportunist who will say whatever he thinks is necessary to get elected. I don't consider that "decent" behavior.

Lance

What has Mitt Romney done to make you think he is a decent human being?

Michael,

A fair question, especially considering that since he began running for President, Romney's done everything he can to reverse my marginally good opinion of his character.

Two things, though. First, I called him "relatively" decent. I meant compared to somebody like Rudy Giuliani, Romney is not a villain, a cad, or a monster. He's a good husband, a loving father, as far as I know he was an honest businessman, he works and plays well with others, and once he helped save a family from drowning. I don't like his politics, but there are people whose politics I agree with who are far worse human beings. But the second thing is, and I should probably write a post about this, I don't think being a decent guy is the same as being a good guy, and I don't think being decent is much of an achievement. It's the bare minimum required of all of us in life.

Then, there is the whole question of how much sin and averagely human lapses into bad behavior any of us is allowed before we lose our claim to being "decent."

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