New Documentary Threatens to Make You Like Mitt Romney

During the 2012 campaign, I, like every liberal writer whose job it is to comment on politics every day, wrote many unkind things about Mitt Romney. Much of the time I found him more sad than despicable; politicians who nearly reach the pinnacle of their profession while being manifestly awful at politics are a rare and curious breed. Like Al Gore before him, Romney's discomfort with the requirements of campaigning was so close to the surface that he couldn't help but inspire a kind of pity. That isn't to say that I didn't find plenty of his statements and policy positions contemptible, because I certainly did, and said so without hesitation. But in the end, Romney wasn't as easy to hate as some other politicians might be.

So a year after he joined that small, melancholy club of presidential losers, it's time that even those of us who thought it would be a terrible thing if he became president can see Romney as a human being. In January, Netflix will be releasing a behind-the-scenes documentary called "Mitt," and the preview is surprisingly endearing:

This two-minute trailer is full of charmingly human moments, particularly since Mitt's greatest unmet challenge was convincing us that he was indeed human. He admits he's a flawed candidate. Ann says to the camera, "I would not want to do this again. It's too much." One of his sons says, "A year ago we told you that we'd love you no matter how this thing turned out," and Mitt quips, "Now you're not so sure." And the one that I found the most moving: in the room with his family when the fact that he's lost has become apparent, Mitt looks over to Ann with a strained smile on his face, as though he's trying to assure her that he's OK, despite the fact that they both know that things are most definitely not OK. It's just the flash of an expression, and particularly since you can tell a Mitt Romney fake smile from a mile away, he surely knows he can't fool her, but he's still going to try, because putting a brave face on things is just part of who he is.

Nobody writes biographies of people who fail to become president, and it isn't like in the coming years we're going to be spending a tremendous amount of time wondering what Mitt Romney's legacy is. But Romney's career will be an important window through which we can understand the evolution of the Republican party through this era. He started as the prototypical businessman Republican, moderate enough on social issues to win in a blue state but still admired throughout the party. Then things began to shift rightward under him, and the distance he had to travel to win his party's nomination demonstrated not just how the party's ideology had changed but how much humiliation they'd force someone to endure in order to win their favor.

I don't really know how your average Republican feels about Romney these days, beyond the fact that they wish he'd have been a more skilled candidate. But the passage of time—and the fact that he will no longer be affecting politics or policy—allows us to see him as just a human being, and maybe even spare a generous thought for him.

Comments

Good god, the man lied his way through the campaign, stood only for plutocrats and their frothing deluded supporters, would have brought ruin on the country if elected, -- and now we're supposed to get all tingly? Wake up Waldman, you've been played.

you must be a pinhead democraps.

Feeling sorry for himself does not necessarily make him human. Showing compassion for the "47 percent," or even the 99 percent, instead of than denigrating them - now THAT might be the start of an inkling of humanity.

I know, I know - the Poors should stop whining, suck it up, and just sell some stock from their trust fund. The moochers.

I keep hoping that SOBs like Romney will have a "Colonel Nicholson moment," but that's about as likely as the Mets winning the 2013 World Series.

So noticing that 47% of the people receive some government entitlement and are likely to vote their financial interest is "denigrating" them? Really?

Mitt Romney is an incredibly dishonest man. He smeared and lied about his opponent, lied about himself, and sold out his own beliefs and his own family history.

Romney was acceptable in Massachusetts, probably because he was pro-choice.

Romney is about as crooked as can be. IOW, a typical old line politician.

" I, like every liberal writer whose job it is to comment on politics every day, wrote many unkind things about Mitt Romney."

" I, like every liberal writer whose job it is to [pander for Democrats regardless of facts], wrote many [untrue] things about Mitt Romney."

There, fixed!

" He led his way through the campaign"!?! Oh, the irony! That liberals would still, after the last several months, still say that beggars belief. Compared to the lying, duplicitous, sneering jackass in the Oval, Romney is the most honest politician on the planet. And with more competence in his pinky than Obama could ever dream of having.

The sad part is seeing the fine man we could have had fixing this country instead of a selfie-taking man-child.

It will take years to recover from Obama's "fundamental changes" to America. When he is gone there will be no "Miss Me Yet?" posters and 5% unemployment under a GOP President will once again be called a "jobless recovery".

Sorry, but that trailer did not succeed in making me like him.

The author is just a plain idiot and ignorant. How can he repeatedly called Romney inhuman where in fact Romney is the most charitable among all the candidates republican and democraps alike...Please email me I want to debate with you.

The author is just a plain idiot and ignorant. How can he repeatedly called Romney inhuman where in fact Romney is the most charitable among all the candidates republican and democraps alike...Please email me I want to debate with you.

I didn't think it was endearing, I thought it was funny, I love seeing big tough guy cons cry. That's why I like Boehner so much.

The biggest problem with the article is this one line: "politicians who nearly reach the pinnacle of their profession...". While Governor Romney served in elected office and ran for President twice his "profession" was that of a turnaround artist. While failing on some occasions he most often successfully restructured businesses, the olympics, and government. It is a real shame that when the whole country can agree that America is in need of a restructuring it rejects the one man most prepared to take on the challenge because he "manifestly awful at politics".

Romney was a lying scumbag who completely humiliated himself crawling to the rednecks who make up the Republican base. Sorry if that isn't sufficiently "charitable" for the teabagger trolls on this thread, but it's the truth.

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