When Mitt Romney Stops Being Polite ... And Starts Getting Real

Assuming the Republican convention doesn't get cancelled altogether, the GOP will be trying to "humanize" Mitt Romney, so that American voters will come to realize that he is, in fact, a human. And apparently, Republican bigwigs are concerned that the Romney campaign hasn't yet, and may not ever, put the proper effort into this task. According to Politico, they're grumbling about Romney's inability to respond effectively to attacks on him for not releasing his taxes, and are worried that the convention won't be enough about Romney the man. As for Mitt himself, he seems to be attempting a kind of jiu-jitsu on this question. Here's my favorite part:

In a Saturday interview with POLITICO, Romney rejected what he suggested was a sort of political cosmetic surgery advocated by political or media commentators who say he needs to overhaul his image. Paraphrasing Popeye, Romney said, "I am who I am."

It was a line that suggested a kind of genial freedom from artifice — an impression that was offset a bit by the fact that he repeated it nearly word for word in another interview the same day.

This reminds me of something I used to say about John McCain: he has an act, and not having an act is his act. But that act just isn't going to work for Mitt, since there may be no politician who has been less "real" than him. He can't just say, "Hey, this is me, take me or leave me," because his identity has varied so much over his career.

And the humanization effort can only go so far. Sure, you can have Ann testify that he's a great husband, and have Tagg and the sub-Taggs testify that he's a great dad, but once you get past that, what exactly is the story of Mitt Romney? Well, it's a story of a guy born into wealth and privilege, who succeeded pretty much as you'd expect someone from that much wealth and privilege to. It isn't exactly an inspiring tale, leading parents throughout America to say to their kids, "Come here, Billy, and watch this convention video about Mitt Romney, so you'll understand how great our country really is." Because here in America, even the son of an auto company CEO and governor can grow up to be a private equity CEO and governor.

It isn't Mitt's fault that he didn't have more obstacles in his way, and he seems to have made the most of his talents, given the field he chose for himself. But it'll be interesting to see what they come up with for that convention video that is supposed to give us a window into the man. I'm guessing it'll be less like "The Man From Hope" and more like this:



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