It's Enough to Make a Mittster Scream: Enough Already With All That 'Awkwardness' Talk!

Friday, July 15, 2011

So many people seem to be saying that Mitt Romney is a dork that I'm actually starting to feel sorry for him.

I picked up the Boston Herald today to find a large photo of a pensive-looking Romney beside a headline that shouted, "Get a Clue, Mitt!" Below that was a helpful sub-head that said, "Awkwardness on campaign trail could sink Romney, pundits say."

The story inside the paper recounted a series of socially awkward moments for Romney on the presidential campaign trail, including the occasion when he pretended a waitress was pinching his butt while they were having their photo taken.

Can the time be far off when Mitt will ask little kids to pull his index finger when he feels a fart coming on?

Seriously folks, is it really important that a candidate for President of the United States of America, male or female, be a regular guy?

Shouldn't a presidential race be more about substance than style, or the lack of it?

Shouldn't Romney's record as the savior of the Salt Lake Olympics and the father of universal health care in Massachusetts mean more to the voters than his fatal attraction to bad puns?

Shouldn't we care more about Romney's obvious intelligence and integrity than his inability to handle a one-liner?

Of course, it should!

So what if he can't tell a joke that his own employees can honestly laugh at?

But until human beings stop using emotions and instincts to make judgments about other people, awkwardness on the campaign trail will be a killer.

In other words, Romney would be better off waiting to run for president until the primate brain of human beings is rewired by mandatorily-consumed pharmaceuticals that do not yet exist.

(With the genes for longevity that so many members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are known for, this advice may not be as far-fetched as it seems.)

When Romney was governor, there were two occasions when I happened to see him walking around the Massachusetts State House. Both times he was surrounded by a phalanx of aides and security men.

Behind that cordon, he looked almost shy and tentative, and I had to sympathize with his seeming nervousness about the possibility of bumping into someone who might want a spontaneous conversation with the governor, or, God forbid, a favor.

At the same time, these scenes elicited tiny bursts of resentment along the lines of, "There goes Mr. Perfect in his bubble! Who does he think he is?"

Don't get me wrong. Romney is good. He's tall, handsome, smarter than 99% of the population, a self-made millionaire, a doting husband, father and grandfather, and a sincerely devoted member of the Mormon faith...And that fabulous head of hair! Oh, I'd kill for that.

I don't mind Romney feeling good about himself. He's entitled to self-esteem. And I wouldn't ever have minded him striding around the State House like he owned the place because, on a basic level, he did.

But if he wanted to make the right emotional impression, and if he knew how to do it the way some politicians naturally do, he'd have strode the halls alone, like John Wayne walking into a saloon like he feared no man.

No doubt there is a real guy in there somewhere. It's just that average folks don't see it.

If Romney can drop The Perfect Son routine, if he can shed the Mormon Man of Destiny self-consciousness, and get in touch with that real guy, he could win the Republican nomination and become a legitimate threat to Obama in November, 2012.

He has time enough to do it, and money enough to hire the best (and the most discrete) acting coaches to guide him in this transformation. May the spirit of Ronald Reagan be upon him!

This is one primate, however, who thinks Mitt has been behind the phalanx too long to pull it off.

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