In a stunning display of understatement, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, confided to a group of prospective donors at a fundraiser that Mitt Romney is not all that lovable. In a candid response to a question posed by an attendee, Boehner lamented that…
“The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.”
No kidding! A nation comprised of a large but shrinking middle class is not going to have an affinity for a multimillionaire, ruthless titan of business, who prospered by throwing thousands of Americans out of work. They are not going to embrace an elitist who regards power as a birthright granted via his ruling class status. They will never be seduced by an empty suit who refuses to take a position on vital issues without contradicting himself.
Americans want a leader who is unafraid to tell them what he believes, rather than pandering to partisan extremists. They want a leader who can lay out an agenda more substantive than incessantly bleating that the other guy sucks. They want someone who will level with them about who he is, which includes releasing his tax filings for twelve years as President Obama did (and as Romney’s father did when he ran for president).
Boehner has helpfully allowed some truth to stumble out of his mouth while he was in the midst of a friendly audience. He added that the only people who are affirmatively for Romney are “some friends, relatives, and fellow Mormons.” He could have added to that list wealthy, multinational corporations whom he regards as people. Boehner’s larger point was that, in this election, people will be voting for or against Obama. That’s pretty much an admission that Romney is no more than cardboard cutout who could be replaced by any other celebrity billionaire, like say, Montgomery Burns.
When a prominent surrogate like Boehner is reduced to soliciting donations by highlighting how unlovable you are, your campaign has gone off track. When he confidently asserts that this is “an election about competence,” reminding everyone about the last person to make that a campaign theme (Michael Dukakis), you might want to adjust your strategy. But if even your strongest supporters can’t summon up actual affection for you, then perhaps it’s time to pack it in and retire to one of your seven mansions.