They’ve barely begun counting the votes and it already looks inevitable. Mitt Romney, the Republican Republicans love to hate, is going to be the Republican nominee for President.
How did it come to this? Mitt Romney generates less excitement in the GOP base than charity. He’s as authentic as John Boehner’s tan, and about as sexy. Bob Dole could give this guy charisma lessons.
Romney’s big pitch is that he’s the most electable Republican in the race. This says a couple of things about him, neither flattering.
The Presidency is supposed to be a means. A means to make changes in the way the nation works and what it stands for. A place where one can turn one’s core beliefs into history.
But Mitt Romney has no core beliefs. He says wherever sounds best on television; he parrots the complaints of his audience; he plays for applause in the form of votes. Mitt doesn’t want the office, he wants the trophy. He wants to win for the sake of winning.
Which is where his second problem comes in. Mitt got here by beating a team of midgets. This roster of stiffs included:
A pizza guy and serial philanderer who was in it to promote his book.
A thrice-married man who wears like Wal-Mart underwear, can’t stand success and is in love with the sound of his own voice.
A Texas governor who makes Bush sound like Jack Kennedy.
A homophobic, voted-out Pennsylvania Senator who thinks that life begins at first kiss.
A wack-job libertarian who’s convinced the problem with Iran is us and wants to shut the federal reserve and go back to the pewter standard.
A fellow Mormon who is moderate, thoughtful, and loathed for those character flaws.
And a wild-eyed woman who had no idea where she was and why she went nowhere.
So far, Romney has faced the bum of the month, and he’s not exactly setting the world on fire. He’ll probably get the nod, more by default than virtue. But once Romney wins the nomination, he’ll be in the big leagues. He’ll going up against the guy who beat Hillary Clinton so bad she wound up working for him. He’ll be facing Barack Obama.
That’s supposed to make it easy for Romney. Think again. It’s true that the country is in a bad mood, but ask yourself the big question. Are you better off than you were four years ago?
Well, sure you are. Four years ago the world was coming to an end. The markets were in freefall, the American auto industry was bankrupt, we had 150,000 troops in Iraq, Bin Laden was watching porn from his comfortable retirement villa in Pakistan, and we were heading face first into a bottomless economic pit.
Now, things are crummy but stable. The patient is out of intensive care. The rehab has been long and difficult, but Obama’s managed it about as well as it could be managed.
Obama stopped a depression. He has the economy growing again—weakly, insufficiently, but growing—and unemployment is inching down. He has ended more wars than he has started. He passed a health care reform law that, weak as it is, still covers more people than ever. He talks less about the war on terrorism and kills more terrorists than the guy before him. He doesn’t make you cringe in embarrassment when he speaks the English language.
In politics anything is possible. It is possible Romney won’t get the nomination. It is even possible that if he does, he’ll win. But in a way, it doesn’t matter.
No matter who comes out on top this November, we’re facing gridlock 2.0.
The pent-up resentment over what the Republicans have done to Obama is so strong that the Democrats won’t give Romney an inch if he wins. And we already know what the Republicans will do to Obama if he’s reelected.
So the choice boils down to this: Who do you want doing nothing in the oval office for the next four years? A reasonable, intelligent, articulate representative for America? Or a guy who will say anything to win, without a principal he hasn’t sold out, a guy who looks like an insurance salesman, talks like a used car salesman, and isn’t even trusted by his own party?
If I was a conservative, I’d be royally hacked off about now. Thankfully, I’m not. I’m a liberal who is mildly disappointed. I’ll take it, considering the alternative.