THE HILL PUNDITS BLOG
The debate aftermath: Mitt Romney doesn’t get it
By Peter Fenn – 10/17/12 03:17 PM ET
In September, as authorized leaks from the campaign would have it, the Romney family intervened in the campaign. Let Romney be Romney. As we Washington Caps fans would say, “Unleash the fury!”
Well, what we are seeing in these debates is really the same Romney we have seen since he first started running for public office — a Romney who is not comfortable being a candidate, someone who has little in common with everyday Americans.
Maybe he is comfortable in boardrooms with his PowerPoints, or huddled with his lawyers and accountants figuring out how to avoid taxes and make deals that make him fabulously rich. Maybe he is comfortable with thinking about “zingers” or attack lines or trying to manipulate people.
But he has never been comfortable with “the public” and taking stands on issues that require passion, commitment and leadership. He cannot discuss issues in any kind of consistent way, even after being a public figure for decades. He still has trouble on the abortion issue, not to mention immigration, gun control, women’s rights, energy, education, you name it. He is the ultimate weathervane in a hurricane.
He seems to see everything through a very crass political lens tied to his ambition.
I have come to the conclusion that Mitt Romney is not genuine; he simply doesn’t understand that voters want to see and hear someone who is real, authentic, has core beliefs. We don’t elect robots who repeat what they are told to say; we prefer people who are not mere vessels. In short, and this is harsh, Mitt Romney is phony.
Mitt Romney is content to be the attack dog and not bother to explain his flips and flops on gay rights, on choice, on assault weapons, on equal pay for woman, on coal plants, on education funding, on $5 trillion tax cuts, on healthcare, on Pell grants, on saving the auto industry. Every day the list gets longer.
In the space of 90 minutes last night Romney tried to make us believe he won’t give millionaires a tax cut, that he won’t cut education funding, that he won’t be deporting Hispanics, that he and Obama had the same plan to save GM and Chrysler, and that he supported contraceptives for women.
He believes he can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants to whomever he wants and it will not come back to haunt him. Mitt Romney doesn’t get it, but the voters do.