On the face of it, this should have been an election there for you to win. At least, it should have been a damn sight easier going than this.
You’re up against an incumbent President who has to be one of the most polarising in history. Conservative America is incensed with what the right-wing media have, in a smear campaign against him, variously and incongruously portrayed as socialism and islamo-fascism. The American public is hurting from a long and slow economic recovery from a crisis that the media have seemingly succeeded in blaming not on the corporate greed that caused it, but a government which bizarrely wasn’t in office at the time.
And yet, we’re fifty days away from polling day, and the wheels definitely seem to be coming off the Romney wagon. What’s gone wrong?
Well, if we’re honest, it started early didn’t it? The Republican Party isn’t overly fond of you, both because your religion is too wacky even for America’s wacky religion club (honestly, identifying L Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth as your favourite novel probably didn’t help there — that’s only a step away from being a Scientologist, surely?), and because they think you might be a little bit, well, liberal (Obamacare was basically your idea, wasn’t it?).
It must have hurt, being last choice after a sweater-vest wearing homophobe; a woman who makes Sarah Palin look sane and well-informed; a singing, pizza-selling, alleged sex pest; a cowboy who didn’t know his own policies; and a philanderer who wants to live on the moon.
But given that you were the best of an admittedly embarrassingly bad bunch, they lumped for you. And if that had been the only hurdle, you might have made it — but then you had to face the big leagues.
You probably thought a trip to the UK was a fairly safe bet. Chalk up some foreign policy plaudits, visiting a friendly nation and shaking some hands. But it didn’t quite go to plan, did it Mitt? After getting a bit of criticism for referring to as Ed Miliband “Mr Leader” (which was a bit unfair) you managed to piss off the entire country by criticising the Olympics preparations. It’s quite an achievement, when you’ve got the equally conservative British PM and Mayor of London making jokes at your expense, but I don’t think it’s the sort of achievement that wins elections.
I think it’s safe to say foreign policy isn’t your strong suite at all, to be honest. So far you’re halfway to invading Iran, have made a self-fulfilling prophecy that Russia is America’s number one enemy, and tripped over your own tongue turning the tragic deaths of US diplomats into your own political tombstone.
And it hasn’t been going much better at home. A lot of people seem to be realising that you’re not a relatable business-leading everyman, but a man who made millions exporting jobs to China and paying as little tax as possible — cue everyone demanding to know how much tax you actually pay. Come to think of it, how much tax do you pay?
It was, in that light, a little unfortunate that the vaunted fiscal reputation of your chosen running mate turned out to be built of sand and sticks, and his plans included tax cuts which would leave you and your buddies paying…well, nothing, near enough.
So you’re listing a little, but that’s okay. John McCain ran Obama pretty close to the line four years ago, and he had Sarah Palin for a running mate. But it’s probably less than wise to go around annoying all the communities who make up America — especially given that they’re the ones whose votes you’ll need. The gay community already aren’t fond of you, nor the sick and poor whose healthcare you want to take away.
Also, the comments about not being interested in 47% of the population probably weren’t wise. Whilst technically true that around 47% don’t pay federal income tax, that includes quite a few retired folks who tend to vote Republican, and probably won’t take too kindly to being described as “dependent upon government” and “[believing] that they are victims“. Even your own side seem pretty peeved with you.
But never mind. So you’re probably not going to be the next President. I don’t think you were even sure what you’d do with the White House — given your lifestyle, it’d probably be “slumming it” a bit. But you’ve been entertaining if nothing else. And for what it’s worth, you were the best of the primary candidates. Well, okay, maybe not Jon Huntsman, but he was a non-starter from the get go.
And I, like 2% of US voters, will always remember you as Mittens.