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Lovable? No. Electable? Probably. Romney's relationship with the GOP electorate

Andrew W. Griffin
I'd recognize that hair and forehead anywhere!
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POLITICAL COMMENTARY

OKLAHOMA CITY – So, how excited were the good, conservative
folks at the Jim Thorpe Sports Hall of Fame Museum when Republican Mitt Romney arrived there Friday morning for a
fundraising event?

They weren't really. There was polite applause and a "Wow, it's the GOP presidential frontrunner - in the buckle of the Red State Bible Belt! Gee whiz!" reaction. Yeah, there was some "enthusiasm, but it was more subdued than you would have guessed.This reporter came in expecting throngs. Perhaps a lot of them were "busy" or didn't have the spare $20.12 for a ticket.

Regardless, Mitt Romney was in town looking to boost his campaign coffers, to keep that Romney bus gassed up and ready to hit New Hampshire, Iowa and points in between. Normally we're an afterthought, but Romney made a smart - and shrewd decision to come to the Sooner State, hat in hand, with tales of an America that really doesn't exist anymore.

It was a somewhat
repetitious stump speech, Romney’s “America is great, America is exceptional”
lines were appreciated by this patriotic crowd but didn’t offer the informed bunch a whole lot of new
information. Oh there was the bit about ending Obamacare and "revamping" the tax code, but you didn't hear any really big and bold plans come from the man. And his comments about ending "crony capitalism" rang hollow, at least for this somewhat cynical journo.

Make no mistake. Mitt Romney “believes in America,”
referencing his campaign slogan. He’s built an empire over the past four
decades. He’s a powerful man and America is awesome. Okay, we know that. The
audience gets it. What do you stand for, Mr. Romney?

Granted, Mitt is a handsome man in that made-for-TV-president sort of way. He’s even vaguely inspiring with his musings on 19th century, industrial-age capitalism. But that’s not enough. The
elderly libertarian and thorn-in-the-side-of-the-Establishment Ron Paul, who is
practically 80, is pulling in millions and talking about ending the wars and the
Federal Reserve. As he told a hostile and bewildered David Gregory of Meet the
Press
today, his followers tend to be younger because they are the ones who
will be impacted the most by the economic collapse and neverending war policy
of the U.S.

Romney, on the other hand, has been steady as a yacht on
calm waters. Watch him in the debates. Except for that moment when he laid a
hand on Rick Perry, he of furrowed brow and awkward pauses, Romney has held it
together pretty well. It would make sense that a moderate Republican like the
former Massachusetts governor, would be met with cries from angry Oklahoma Democrats
that Okies “want Romneycare!” Perhaps.

And while small, the Occupy OKC - already crippled by
infighting and Marxist infiltration – is doing its best to bring their “99%”
issues to the establishment and the elites who are running the show. Will
Occupy OKC make it another month? Will the Occupy Wall Street movement as we
know it last another month? The gales of November certainly play a role.

So, what of Mitt Romney? We know Mitt has been extraordinarily
successful in life. With his political pedigree and Mormon business
connections, he set his sights high, an American flag whipping in the wind
behind him, Colbert-style.

And who can forget Mitt’s father,  former Michigan governor and one-time
presidential candidate back  in ’68?

George Romney, while a somewhat inarticulate fellow, had a
decency about him that ultimately made him unable to get through the brutal
gauntlet of presidential politics. At the time it was suggested, much to
Richard Nixon’s delight, that Mitt’s father simply didn’t have that “presidential
timber” to make it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

That devious, conniving Nixon, the guy that the press wasn’t
going to “kick around anymore,” saw an opportunity after Papa Romney made a
bizarre admission about being “brainwashed” during a fact-finding trip to
Vietnam a few years earlier. When that made the wires, Mitt’s pop was done. Mitt
found out about it while he was on his “mission” for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints.

Yeah, a “light rinse” in ‘Nam and George Romney’s goose was
cooked. And it’s sad because George Romney was an intellectually honest guy,
having realized what a damn mess Vietnam was (and that was in ’65). And the
victor in ’68, Nixon (and bumbling Ford after him), kept us in that jungle
quagmire for another seven years.

And while they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,
where father and son differ is that with all of the concerns about foreign
wars, largely against the elusive jihadi menace, he is (not surprisingly) surrounding himself with
Bush-era neo-con foreign policy advisors like Michael Chertoff (yikes!), Dov
Zakheim (egad!) and Cofer “flies on the eyeballs guy” Black (holy &%$#!) If Romney is elected you can guarantee America will be further entangled in foreign wars.

So, perhaps Mitt is making up for what he perhaps sees as
his father’s shortcomings. That Pop didn’t go in with a plan to WIN! Papa
Romney didn’t want to win badly enough. Son Mitt wants to win, that much is
clear. In front of a friendly audience, as we saw Friday, it was all “America,
F*** yeah!” but when he’s debating or in front of a mixed or decidedly hostile
audience, Mitt has a tendency to let the “know-it-all” smugness take over.
Where have we seen that before?

Having heard Herman Cain in the same room nearly one year
ago, it was clear that Cain had more “vim and vigor” than a half-dozen Romney’s
put together. Cain speaks off the cuff, which populists find refreshing.

Romney is a bit glib, stilted and cautious, qualities that
make Tea Party folks suspicious. And Cain has seemingly ridden out that dust-up
over his alleged ibogaine treatments during his heady days in Omaha. The rumor
mill is working overtime these days. And when it becomes clear that the pizza
man with the dubious 9-9-9 plan is blowing a lot of hot air, I guarantee you
conservatives will come running to the reliably waffle-prone Mitt Romney. Especially after
a few more weeks of Cain’s clownish comments about electrifying the border
fence or anything about foreign policy. By Thanksgiving, Romney will be seen as statesmanlike compared to the incoherent Cain.

So, what of Mitt’s relationship with journalists? I would
think it would be rather positive, compared to the way the ink-stained jerks back
East have treated guys like Ron Paul and the might-as-well-not-exist,
libertarian-leaning Gary Johnson. They still invite low-single digit guys like Jon
Huntsman and that fussy britches ex-senator from the Keystone State, Rick
Santorum, to every debate and Johnson gets ignored. Hell, Michele Bachmann's team is fleeing that sinking ship like rats swimming for a solid bit of flotsam.

Yeah, it’s a real shame they won't let Johnson in and it shows
this scribbler (and plenty of other folks who are half-way paying attention) that the establishment does not want issues like ending the Drug
War to be addressed. Go back to sleep, Mr. and Mrs. America.

But back to Romney. At the fundraiser, a question from a
journalist – yours truly – seemed to throw him off. And the question, about
NASA and America’s future in space exploration, wasn’t even answered directly.

Yeah, the Mitt-ster seemed distracted and opted to go off on
a tangent about the National Institutes of Health and vague comments about
investing in science and technology. It was rather odd. In fact it was like
that episode of The Monkees where Monkee
Mike turns the tables on an obnoxious, talking supercomputer and Mike’s witty questions
so confuse the machine that it blows up. My question wasn’t witty or even
controversial. He seemed more caught up in the idea that an actual question was
coming from a member of the media wearing a press pass around his neck. He
mumbled something about the media asking him questions later or something. What?

He wrapped things up pretty quickly and was summarily swarmed
by elderly autograph seekers and camera-wielding well-wishers as he was being
pressured to leave by his staff. Off to another meeting with the swells in River City. Romney is smart to come to Oklahoma, with our decent employment
rate and reliably Republican nature. We may not think Mitt is the bee’s knees,
but when the rubber meets the road, I can guarantee you that they will fill in
the circle for Mitt. Hell, they voted for John McCain, didn’t they?

Copyright 2011 West Marie Media       

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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