The Hill Pundits Blog — March 14, 2012
Advice to Mitt: Lose the Levis
By Peter Fenn – 03/14/12 11:25 AM ET
OK, grits and “y’all” didn’t work for Mitt in Mississippi and Alabama. Nor did outspending Santorum by as much as 10 to one or having the entire establishment in Mississippi behind him. Nor, of course, was it that helpful to Mitt to have Gingrich siphoning off a third of the very conservative votes in those two states. He still couldn’t win.
But there is another problem.
Mitt’s trying too hard. Trying too hard to be folksy and one of the gang; trying too hard to “connect” with “regular folks.” The way to connect, I hate to say it, is not to show up every day with the same style of freshly pressed tight Levis, with the same checkered dress shirt. (I hope Jeeves isn’t ironing those for him!)
All Mitt is missing is the hard-hat and the lunch bucket. Come on, stop already. (Plus, there are a lot of us “middle-aged” men who can’t believe there is no paunch, just a little of that “weight shift” visible. Darn you, Mitt, you look too good!)
Seriously, when voters see the same picture of Romney on the evening news playing the informal, workingman role, they know he made his living in suits. They know he is a very buttoned-down guy. They know he is richer than rich. Don’t be something you are not. If you want to be informal, just lose the tie, wear slacks, be yourself.
Maybe it was OK in Iowa or New Hampshire a few times, but really, out there in Jackson again with the Levis and talking grits — doesn’t work.
Voters associate all this now with a lack of genuineness, a certain phoniness, a person who is not comfortable … surely not as comfortable as he is trying to look.
By overplaying the jeans thing he has created a caricature of himself and, along with his flip-flops and misstatements and putting his finger up to the political winds, he has eroded his credibility as a presidential candidate.
Lose the Levis, Mitt, and stop trying so hard.