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What’s Wrong with Mitt…

Unlike my piece on Rick I’m going to focus here not on what I think but what I think the Republicans think…

He looks presidential: nice teeth, great hair (with those statesmen-like flashes of grey at the temples).

I don’t for the life of me understand why he isn’t romping it. The man has succeeded at pretty much everything he’s tried (even converting the French to Mormonism!) and his personal life seems squeaky clean*. Perhaps what Evan Thomas wrote about him comes close to explaining his relative lack of popularity, “came off as a phony, even when he was perfectly sincere.” In particular his change of position on abortion does seem genuine. “Changing my position was in line with an ongoing struggle that anyone has that is opposed to abortion personally, vehemently opposed to it, and yet says, ‘Well, I’ll let other people make that decision.’ And you say to yourself, but if you believe that you’re taking innocent life, it’s hard to justify letting other people make that decision.” Well, that seems fair enough. Though if too slickly delivered could easily (and has been) spun as glib and opportunistic.

Reading his potted biography on Wikipedia it frequently stresses that Romney has throughout most of his life before politics been essentially pragmatic in his outlook. I think this is interesting as it places Romney in a very different position from the likes of Santorum who love him or loathe him is certainly principled to a fault. Whether Romney has taken his pragmatic outlook to the point of being unprincipled upon entering politics is a moot point. As I noted above the reasons for his change of position on abortion seem at least plausible. The real question though is as to whether Republicans see it that way and I suspect many regard his lack of adamantine principles (whether this is real or imagined) to be a fatal flaw.

I suspect his faith is not an issue. Or if it is’s a bonus because it’s easily the most “interesting” thing about him. That and his taxes but the only people really interested in that are the IRS…

So, that’s my take on the Romney conundrum. I suppose there’s a couple more things to say. The first is that his relative unpopularity (and the rise of Santorum) seems to represent to me a peculiarity of US politics – the whole travelling circus that is the primaries. Romney is the only Republican candidate who can beat Obama and the Republicans seem to have lost sight of that in face of Rick and Newt and Mitt and the other Rick and whoever else there was engaging in a prolonged slanging match. And, yes, I do believe Romney is the only one who can win. A great many of the same people who believe that an Obama second term is the end of civilization as we know it seem vehemently against the one man who can stop him. A paradox perhaps?

The second is also rather odd. I thought I’d struggle to find anything to say about Romney and I haven’t. Whether any of it is to the purpose is another matter!). When I sat down with the laptop to write this all I could think of is one line and it’s what I’ll end on because when I think of Romney (which I don’t do often) it still returns to me. It is something Oscar Wilde said about George Bernard Shaw:

He hasn’t an enemy in the World and his friends don’t like him either.

PS I’m also aware my going easy-ish on Romney could be seen as an endorsement. It isn’t. There just isn’t too much dirt to dig.

*Despite his first son being bizarrely named, Tagg. The other kids have normal names so that outbreak of Palinitis was nipped in the bud…


  1. Agreed, there’s not much to say about him (religion, wealthy background and vulture capitalism aside, you can’t blame him for taking advantage of the tax breaks) but there is absolutely nothing good to say about him either, apart from nice teeth etc.

  2. Paul Marks says:

    I doubt that Romney is the candidate who could best take on Obama, he will torn apart by the msm (as a rich kid and …..), but more importantly he lacks a base.

    Free market people? No.

    Social Conservatives? Do not trust him.

    Rednecks? No (he is too upper class).

    Even Mormons are not united behind him (far from it).

    So he is left with the people he can PAY.

    That is enough to win the nomination, but I do not see how it wins the election.

    Especially against someone who will have a lot more money than Romney (and Obama will be spending a lot more money than Romney).

    However, I think Nick is right – Romney will be the candidate and antiObama people will have to “rally round Romney”.

    And, unlike Santorum, will never say anything that really pisses social liberals off.

    As Santorum a question on theology (he never starts the conversation) and he will give a detailed theological reply (on contraception, or buggery, or anything you ask him about) this is called COMMITTING POLITICAL SUICIDE.

    Ask Romney the same questions and he will “answer” – but the words spoken will have nothing to do with the question (even if it is a simple legal question such as “was the 1962 Supreme Court case on contraception correctly decided?” – forget theology, Santorum can not resist pointing out the flaws in legal reasoning, because he is a lawyer as well as a theologian).

    So Romney will never piss anyone off – because he either does not believe in anything or is careful not disclose what he believes.

    Let us hope it is the latter.

    As (I repeat) he will be most likely candidate (he is buying himself the Michigan Primary as I write this).

    As I have always said….

    I will support Romney, just as soon as he gets the nomination.

    But Romney as the last hope of Western Civilization….

    God (or the universe) is either weeping or laughing (it is hard to tell – but it is an interesting philosophical/theological dispute).

  3. DeNihilist says:

    from my sightline just north of the border, a lot of conservatives see romney as obama lite. a good site for american politics i find is this one –

  4. Henry Crun says:

    I think the problem is that most American politicians fall into 2 categories:

    1. Swivel-eyed loons or
    2. Snake-oil selling TV evangelists.

    Romney and Obama are category 2. Indeed, our very own beloved St Tony of Sexed up Documentation was a category 2 TV Evangelist. You know, the polished teeth, the washed in Daz white shirts and the “come to Jesus and don’t forget your credit card” faux sincerity.

  5. Paul Marks says:

    To be fair to Romney……. (ouch it hurts – but here we go…).

    The “vulture capitalism” thing (that his opponents came out with) is bullshit.

    True he did not create a single business from the ground up – he is not Jon Huntsman (senior).

    But he did not do anything wrong either – he was an investor, and a good one.

    Nor are there really any “tax breaks”.

    “But Capital Gains Tax is only 15%”.


    He paid tax on his income before he invested it over the years.

    It is only the dividends he gets back that are taxed at 15%.

    Because this is DOUBLE TAXATION.

    Something Warren Lying Swine Buffett always leaves out.

    I keep meaning to write a post on Frederick the Great

    I actually did a lot of it last night (but it vanished).

    And now the time for the next KBC meeting is close (this one is on the “Localism Act”).

    Oh well, if I am spared I hope to write the post on Frederick soon.

    Without him the influence of Bismark (on governments all over the world) would have been impossible.

    And Frederick had a direct (and dreadful) influence on political philosphy and culture himself.

    He was neither a swivel-eyed loon or a snake-oil seller.

    The political leaders who do the most damage are neither.

    They are people of great energy and intelligence – and a real committment to ideas that they have worked out fully.

    Deeply evil ideas.

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