On the one hand he’s a flip-flopper, and on another hand he’s a super-rich not-your-average-Willard. These problems are interconnected and compounded by the fact that American people are, by their very nature, simple. This is not an insult. It’s just a fact.
People want their leaders to be just like their spouses – compatible, communicable, and not sleeping around. Americans are enamored with the idea of the common man leader who lives like we do and shares our values. We want to know that our leaders are thinking of us because they are us. And we’ve always built our lives as well as our policies around simplicity. Even the most elitist politicians will pander to that simplicity to get votes. And as we’ve seen, some do it better than others.
But Mitt Romney is not simple. All you have to do is take one look into Romney’s past to see just how incredibly complicated he is. He is a man with a grand and expansive mind. There are some things about him that we will never understand and this is the reason he has a hard time connecting with regular people. Even John McCain, a popular Senator among independents all across the nation back in the day, ran into that same problem when he said he forgot how many houses he had.
We would be deluding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that Romney stands on a different parallel than most other people. People in the heartland love to watch NASCAR. Romney is friends with some of the owners. And of course, Romney’s most infamous remark “Corporations are people” got him in trouble. Now, in his defense, was he saying that corporations should be legally treated as individuals and deserve all the rights and benefits of American citizens? No. He was saying that Corporations are made up of people, that they employ people, and that many of them work to provide goods and services to people. That’s just a fact. But it came out wrong, as do so many other things he says that make Sigmund Freud laugh from beyond the grave.
As far as the issues themselves are concerned, Romney is even more complicated. We simplified that problem by calling him a flip-flopper. That he cannot mentally bring himself to take a simple stand on some of the most basic issues is something people find all sorts of frustration over. But it’s impossible for him to do it because he works in the gray. The irony here is that he occasionally says silly things because he’s too smart to say them. He is a skilled panderer because has been on all sides of the issues and he can comfortably shift the tone of his rhetoric to fit the crowd. The reason is because a part of him will always agree with what he himself is saying and it’s always bears smacks of the truth. But as much as he tries to be that relatable human being we all want him to be, Mitt Romney will never be able to escape from who he really is: a wealthy shrewd extremely well-educated and successful business/political leader with an intellectual mastery of the economy.
This is a huge electability problem for Romney as a candidate. The real Romney is in conflict with the Romney that people want him to be. This is in large part due to the fact that Romney can and will always be the person he needs to be in order to accomplish his goal. Right now, his goal is to get elected so he will be the best people’s candidate Romney he can be. But he’s not cut out to be a candidate. He’s cut out to be a president.