McLaughlin of Redstate on Romney: Americans hate phonies
… “This is admittedly subjective, but Jonah Goldberg aptly summarized the way Romney often comes off in public by describing [Romney’s] demeanor as, ‘What Do I Have to Do To Put You In This BMW Today?'” writes the estimable Dan McLaughlin in a not-to-be-missed Redstate post titled The Trouble With Mitt Romney (Part 1 of 5)
I’ll discuss the specifics in more detail later, but the broader issue is that Romney seems unconvincing as the conservative he is running as; his calculations seem too close to the surface.
When the race kicked off, with Rudy and McCain as the frontrunners and the second tier filled with unknowns and/or candidates with their own issues with the base (e.g., Huckabee on taxes, Brownback to some extent on immigration), there was an opportunity for a candidate to build a market niche as the sane, electable conservative. Romney, to the credit of his business instincts, jumped on that opportunity like a starving man on a sandwich. The problem is that that posture is just not consistent with Romney’s history of campaigning and governing as a moderate, pragmatic, non-ideological Northeastern Republican, and specifically with numerous stands he has taken in the very recent past. Now, a good businessman, or even a candidate running principally as a competent technocrat, can get away with running on what the public wants today rather than on principles. But Romney is running a fundamentally ideological campaign, and he is doing so all too transparently as a businessman pursuing an underserved market rather than as a true believer.
Romney’s air of slickness and phoniness manifests itself in a number of specific ways I will get into later in this series, but the overall effect is an even more pronounced than usual (for a politician) tendency to leave people feeling like he will say anything to get elected. Democrats have, justly, suffered for that perception in the last two presidential elections, and they are almost certainly nominating a candidate who is legendarily calculating (Bill Clinton, by contrast, was a master at faking sincerity; but Romney, like so many others in politics, lacks Clinton’s talents in this regard and would do well not to try to imitate him). Republicans, having successfully and appropriately attacked Gore and Kerry and most likely Hillary as well on this basis, cannot afford to run a candidate who comes off as a phony … more [Emphasis ours]
Question: Does anyone like phonies?
Excellent metaphor: Romney as a “businessman pursuing an underserved market.”