Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Humanizing Mitt Romney

Ann Romney's speech at the Republican Convention made me cringe. Not just because of its contents, but also because of the idea. A week before the convention, news media from everywhere on the political spectrum claimed, it's her job to humanize Mitt Romney. 

Errrrrr.... Ummmm... The very notion of a successful politician is one who is relatable, with whom the public can identify, and see a streak of humanity within. Mitt Romney is unable to "humanize" himself in spite of the 24 hour newscycle which follows him to Home Depot or the Grocery Store where he buys "stuff". So, the Romneys tell us in a very hard hitting interview that Ann Romney shops at Costco. In case you wanted to know, she says the trick is to shop around the outside starting at the back of the store. Also, Mitt loves him some Kirkland shirts - the world of which Ann has recently opened up to him. And it still ain't working. People aren't buying the fact that Mitt is human. 

Anyway, there's the convention. And Ann Romney has to make America like Mitt. She has to present him to the American public as someone they can identify with, as someone they can see as President, as a common man, as someone they can see in their own shoes. But here's the flaw in the plan. 

He's not a common man. He's not relatable to most Americans and most Americans don't think Mitt Romney can survive one day in their own shoes. 

This "please like me" syndrome is nothing new. Everyone does it - its part of politics. Being like-able is the first page of the politicians handbook. If you can't get people to like you, you better give up. Or, you better have amazing policy ideas, which will completely bowl people over and tell them that you ARE the person to do the job right. However in this case Mitt Romney has done neither. And since he hasn't - its everybody else's job to make people like him. 

Ann Romney's Convention speech and the CNN special on Sunday was like an ode to the man that is Mitt Romney. Ann started off with telling us a story about love. How they met at a school dance [which is apparently not true according to wikipedia {yes, I know I'm quoting wikipedia}] and how they immediately fell in love. He loves to humour people with his jokes (which is totally NOT believable from his squirmy nervous laughter that followed). Then she skipped over the part where she was actually contemplating not being with him and got to the part where they got married and moved into a basement apartment. She told us how they lived so poorly on pasta and tuna, and how Mitt was going to Business and Law School all at once, and how she was pregnant and how life was oh so tough. 

So, this is where they are clearly out of touch. I'm not even going to go into the part where they were living off Romney Senior's stocks and loans. The real American family-man can not even imagine going to Business School and Law School at the same time. ITS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE unless you were born with a diamond encrusted golden spoon in their mouth. Then, to have a baby with more on the way - without having to worry about what you will feed them, what you will use to clothe them in, where you can find space in your basement apartment for a baby that comes with all these amazing needs - is a luxury many hard-working new families would like to have. I digress but it's only because I suffer from the same sort of angst right now.

Ann actually started this love story of theirs on the CNN get-to-meet-the-Romneys-fest.  And she told us about their love again at the convention.Then she told us about women, how women are amazing, and how women are the ones to know what its like to be worried about rising costs, sick children and the education of their children - Women bear the brunt of society. And she's right - Women DO bear the brunt of society. Its the women who have to watch their hungry children living in poverty, women have to figure out novel ways to stretch a monthly budget, and women are the ones who work through their children's education struggles. 

However, I do not expect Ann Romney has ever had to worry about rising gas prices, sky rocketing education and sports costs, grocery costs, clothing costs. I don't expect that Ann Romney knows what it feels like to go hungry just so that she can put her children to sleep with full stomachs. And, here's the thing claims that she knows what that feels like are simply platitudes. Because to be the wife of a man who has as much money (frankly I don't even know how much money because I can not even wrap my head around a measly million dollars) and still claim to shop at Costco isn't particularly heartwarming in my book. Clearly the Romneys don't even understand that to even shop at Costco is a luxury many people don't have, because in order to be able to go to a store and buy bulk, you have to have a certain solvency - You have to have money in order to save money. This is not the case with most Americans. 

Anyway, my point is if Ann Romney claims to know what it feels like to be cash strapped like most Americans, either she's lying, or she married an extraordinarily cheap man - a man, who didn't provide for his family, alleviate their money stresses, a man who took his money and shipped it off to an island somewhere to accumulate interest. If the 5 Romney boys claim to know what its like to take a loan and go through the kind of post-secondary education most other Americans have to go through (with loads and loads of debt) then again Mitt isn't as open-hearted, loving and generous as they all claim he is.

So which one is it? Is Mitt Romney simply a rich man with no heart? Or are the Romneys not common?

Ann Romney also spoke at some length about her illnesses. She is clearly a woman of amazing strength to go through diseases like Breast Cancer and MS. However, I am left to wonder a few things. I would imagine that when a family goes through two such major diseases they would have a lot more empathy for the common man. I wonder if the experience of Ann Romney's illnesses is what led Mitt Romney down the path of Healthcare reform in Massachusetts. If it did - all the power to them. However, if it did why not own up to it? Why not be a man, and tell the American people that, watching his wife go through the kind of struggle she did, looking at those medical bills, money be spent like pouring water down a drain led him to realise that poor people, middle class America doesn't have it easy at all. That if a common American got sick with those diseases, there is no way a family without the kind of resources I had could remain unaffected. 

So which one is it? Is Romney a rich man incapable of empathy? Or are the Romneys not common?

Its not the first time an un-common American has run as a politician. Many of them have even gotten elected to office. What the Romneys and the Republican party need to do is not humanize Mitt - they need to empathize. Fake platitudes don't portray empathy. People aren't stupid. So, instead of spewing this nonsense, why don't they come out with some REAL policies that will alleviate the hardships (that they claim to so understand) for the common American?


  1. I haven't seen any concrete plan on how the GOP is planning to reverse Obama govt's "mistakes". All they did was criticize. May be Romney will have something concrete in his speech, although I'm not counting on it.

    1. They aren't even criticisms, more like platitudes littered with misinformation. I mean yesterday Chris Christie actually said Obama is ruining the "world's number one healthcare system". I mean facts don't have any room here. Seriously.

  2. I've always thought that about Ann Romney's illnesses. Whatever personal suffering she endured, she has experienced the rich person's version of the American medical system. The system where third-world dictators fly here for treatment when they get cancer, but people with minimum wage jobs and no insurance work until they can't physically stand up and then drag themselves to the emergency room and rely on the "charity" of the hospitals to patch them up. The kind where Mitt can be officially unemployed while pursuing his own interests without worrying that she will be unable to go to the hospital if she has a relapse, or will be denied coverage for her pre-existing conditions later. Apparently at one point Mitt thought it was a worthy goal to make sure everyone in America had affordable access to the healthcare system, but at this point he has made so many contradictory statements it's impossible to know what the weasly bastard thinks about anything. Here's hoping we don't have to find out.