I could be seriously embarrassed come November, but I am sticking by my position: Mitt Romney isn’t going to win, and his poll number are artificially close. Why? Among the other reasons I’ve listed (and there are more to come), nobody likes him. If you are a conservative but aren’t a Mormon, you are thoroughly disappointed with your choice of candidate this year. Oh sure, you’ll vote for him, because there’s no way in hell you’re gonna vote for that socialist, Marxist, Muslim fascist Barack Obama, but you aren’t going to do it enthusiastically. You’re going to vote Romney because:
- He’s not Obama
- He’s a Democrat
- You’re a Republican
- You’re expected to
But what you aren’t going to do is be excited about it. Ask yourself this: How many Romney yard signs have you seen? I live in an extremely red neighborhood in an extremely red county of Florida. In 2004, Bush yard signs were everywhere. in 2008, I was surrounded by McCain/Palin signs. There isn’t a single Romney sign or bumper sticker anywhere to be seen this year, and we’re less than 6 months out from the general election. I harbor no illusions that my neighbors vote for Obama–they will mostly be voting Romney–but they aren’t enthusiastic about it. They aren’t voting for him because they think he’s the best candidate, they’re voting for him because he’s not the other guy. You can quote me on this–DCMartin already did–everyone hates Romney.
That’s not a formula for massive turnout. A friend and I have a running debate about just how many people are going to haul their asses out from in front of Wheel of Fortune to go cast their Romney votes, and the only thing that’s really going to settle it will be the general election. My position is, Vanna White in an extra-sexy dress could win this thing for Obama easily; nobody is motivated to vote Romney. I am confident that the Republicans who make it to the polls will throw their votes his way, but the threshold of “what could keep me from voting” is way lower this year.
Again, I could be wrong; the economy hasn’t been improving at a fast rate, the Republicans in Congress have stymied many efforts to improve things, and maybe conservative voters will turn out in droves. If I’m wrong. If I’m not, the number of voters who insist they are going to be voting come November to the pollsters today will have just too much going on when it actually counts. There is a huge aura of inevitability around this election, and one gets the sense even the Romney campaign managers are feeling that; why else would they be running such a low-level, half-assed campaign?
Actually, I can answer that but Steve Kornacki says it better: They are banking on the economy, and deliberately avoiding any spotlight on their socially inept, gaffe-prone candidate because the less people see of and learn about him, the better his chances are in the election. Because they know I’m right: nobody likes Mitt Romney, and the non-Mormon voters that don’t despise him yet simply haven’t seen or heard enough of him of his views yet. More exposure is not a good thing for Mitt Romney. Here he is stumbling over the identification of a “chocolate . . . goodie”, something my second grader would have no trouble identifying as a doughnut. And here is an Onion satire that would be funnier if it didn’t actually leave anyone who has been following the election with the nagging desire to hand Romney a dollar bill, just to see if he actually recognizes it.
Admit it: even if you’re a Republican, you wouldn’t spring a 1 dollar bill on him with news cameras rolling; you wouldn’t risk him actually not knowing what it is. Sure, you’re “confident” that he does. No, there isn’t any lingering doubt in the back of your mind that maybe he’s actually that far out-of-touch. Why would there be? It’s not like he thinks strapping a dog to the roof for a road trip is appropriate, that drugging a horse into a stupor is a legitimate sales practice if it has a bum foot, that laid off workers are funny, or that he can’t identify a chocolate frosted doughnut. He’s a normal, regular guy! Who. . . oddly. . . did all that stuff I just mentioned. Just like no ordinary person would.
Mitt Romney is weird. He isn’t just an out-of-touch plutocrat, he’s the quintessential embodiment of everything everybody hates about out-of-touch plutocrats, wrapped in a tall, socially inept package that tosses out awkward sound bites like hard candy from a fire truck at a small town Shriner’s parade. He’s a candidate you might describe as a douche until it occurs to you that’s something that would be comfortable around a vagina–or in a discussion about vaginas. Mitt’s home state legislature just censured a member for mentioning the word.
I’ve gotten into a few spirited discussions in which conservatives have fiercely advocated Mitt this election season, but inevitably these devolve into indictments of Obama, sprinkled with defensive arguments about all of Romney’s weaknesses. I have yet to see a single case built on Mitt Romney’s objectively strong qualifications for President.
One final proof that nobody likes Romney, not even his own party: Nobody is fucking endorsing him. The Republican presidential nominee should be swimming in endorsements by this point. He has won the primary, he’s going to be the guy, he should have more endorsements than an A-List NASCAR driver–and he has none of any significance. There’s a website dedicated to Romney’s endorsements. Going there is like a visit to a petting zoo that consists entirely of two fainting goats and a llama with an advanced case of mange. Condaleeza Rice? George Schultz? People should be endorsing him out of hope for future presidential favors, except every politician knows those aren’t coming, because Romney’s not going to win. You hitch your wagon to a horse that’s going to at least move, if not win, and nobody’s hitching themselves to Mitt Romney. You don’t paint your name on the ass of a glue horse.
Scratch the surface of a “pro-Romney” voter and you’ll find an anti-Obama voter clinging to whatever piece of jetsam managed to emerge from the Republican primary still floating in the direction of the November election. That it happened to be Mormon flotsam is a slightly painful point. They will not concede that they are unhappy with the choice in most cases, but try getting them to defend their support and they will inevitably spend the majority of their argument attacking Obama. Because that’s what “pro-Romney” support is, an attack against Obama. Mitt Romney has, outside the Mormon community, no real support.
This will still be enough to drive a lot of votes for the Republican nominee in November. It just won’t be enough.