A funny thing happened on the way to election day. After many months of simply tolerating the notion of Mitt Romney as the eventual and inevitable Republican candidate, I find that I’m actually starting to … like the guy. I don’t know exactly how or when it happened. Somewhere between the incredibly ingenuous Bain attacks and the absurdly irrelevant dog attacks and the incomprehensible and illegitimate accusations of Liberalism from the far Right, I found myself thinking that this is a man who stands above the fray.
By ignoring both his attackers and (if reports are to be believed) his advisers, Romney has maintained a sort of elder statesman persona while his GOP opponents — and his current Presidential opponent — come across and angry and petty. I’m neither condoning nor condemning his policies or positions at this time. I’m just saying that I’m starting to like Mitt Romney, the Man. Or at least Mitt Romney, the Public Image.
I haven’t completely forgotten his Richie Rich snobbery that makes John Edwards look like a common man. He’s still the guy who is building a garage with an elevator for his car. He’s still the guy who said he likes firing people. He’s still that guy.
But the edge is gone. He has a little bit of that Reaganesque quality that lets him laugh at you without offending you. Ronald Reagan could call you a moron and make you chuckle along with him and give him your wallet. Romney isn’t quite there, but he’s coming across more and more as the sort of affable gentleman that long ago disappeared from the political scene and now only exists in history books.
The fact that so many Democrats are saying nice things about him, or at least refuse to say bad things about him, just underscores that beneath all his tough-guy cut-throat businessman exterior he’s actually a pleasant person to be around. It seems that despite the ubiquitous portrayal of all Republicans as mean old men bent on the destruction of your personal happiness, we’ve got a genuinely nice guy running on the GOP ticket this year.
Or a really good actor. Then again, the last time we had an actor in the White House things worked out OK for the country.
(U.S. Army photo)