June 18, 2012

A poll in April found that 5% of American adults found Romney to be “€œexciting,”€ while 8% would describe him as “€œinspiring.”€ Yet even those numbers sound too high.

In 2008, Obama undoubtedly won a large share of anti-Bush Hate Votes, but he also sailed along on his charisma and empty promises. If Romney is to win in November, he”€™ll be carried exclusively by anti-Obama Hate Votes, because his hollow corpus bears not even a dewy droplet of charisma.

Robert Draper in The New York Times Magazine suggested that being boring may actually be a cynical Romney campaign strategy, especially for a disillusioned nation whose messianic hopes for Obama amounted to little more than a severely misguided teenage crush. So instead of running a candidate who was all style and no substance, perhaps the Republicans are purposely running someone who is hyper-capable but has zero style. Draper suggests that Romney’s handlers are trying to bore Americans into voting for him, which would make him the first presidential candidate to sleepwalk his way into the White House”€”call him the Romnambulist.

Such an intriguing strategy might work if people were able to vote by batting their left or right eyelids while sitting on the couch at home, but it seems implausible to suggest they can be bored all the way down to the polling station.

Romney’s main problem may be a toxic wholesomeness. Unlike Obama in 2008, Romney has been vetted from every possible angle, and the worst they”€™ve been able to dredge up is the story about strapping his dog (inside a dog carrier, mind you) to his station wagon roof rack during a family vacation nearly 30 years ago and a mild 1965 bullying incident involving a forced haircut.

The most humanizing thing I”€™ve heard about him is that while in high school and college, he played pranks by dressing up as a cop and using a red flashing light atop his white Rambler to “€œbust”€ friends while they spooned and necked with their girlfriends in parked cars. His friends were part of the prank and would allow Romney to place beer or bourbon in their trunks ahead of time, which he”€™d then “€œdiscover”€ and drive away with his new arrestees, leaving the girls behind and terrified.

I had a friend in high school who did the same thing”€”State Trooper jacket, mirrored sunglasses, and flashing red light”€”except he had no accomplices in these pranks, and neither would he buy and plant the booze ahead of time. Instead, he”€™d bust real keg parties in public parks and make off with loads of free beer and hooch.

So even when it comes to cold pragmatism”€”the Republican candidate’s alleged strong point”€”my friend was better than Mitt Romney.



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