Mitt Romney's Big Finish

Nine months ago, I urged you to let Mitt Romney finish. I speculated on the roots of Mitt Romney's lifelong political frustrations, and posited that it would take grand speechifying, and something short of a miracle, for Romney to win the Presidency.

What Romney has accomplished in the span of those nine months is very close to this miracle. He's taken full advantage of his six plus years of Presidential campaigning experience. He has pushed together forty years of corporate relations plasticity, endless town hall meetings and debates, fumbles and restarts, surrogate coaching, focus groups, numbers, and manners memorization. He has taken all of this coal and pushed it into a diamond, into what is quite possibly the greatest, most focused performance of his life.

As a candidate, this is as good as Mitt gets. He's been full of contradictions, holes, lies, flubs, and radical inconsistencies, but none of it matters, not to a media smitten with his acting style. His campaign's read on the public's mood and anxiety levels have been absolutely stellar. Romney is the mood ring candidate. Feeling upset about anything, anything at all? Mitt Romney has the solution. But more than that, he can tell you the problem. Obama. Get rid of Obama, and put me in instead, and anything and everything you hate about your life will get better.

As simplistic and pandering an approach as this is, a desperate, disappointed (and in some cases, racist) public is lapping it up. The media, too. Mitt Romney didn't start a bid for President, as he inferred in his acceptance speech at the RNC, because he, like all the rest of us, was inspired by Obama's 'hope and change,' and disappointed with the results. See, Romney's long, reaching bid for President is one of the most ubiquitous and ceaseless political phenomenons of the 21st century. It's not a reaction to your pain, or your joblessness. It's simple ambition, fueled not by any one core belief, but by the sense that gaining the White House is the ultimate Corporate acquisition.

Romney lies about his record, lies about Obama's record, lies about past positions, lies about current positions taken by the President, and he lies and lies again and some more, and again he lies. He is a liar. He platforms on lies. His running mate, Paul Ryan, lies a great deal as well. They are a ticket of liars and opportunists. Say what you will about Obama's failed promises, and his changed demeanor since taking high office, say what you will about the broken promise of under 6% unemployment, say what you will about the botched Grand Bargain with Boehner and Tea Party obstruction, or the refusal to close Guantanamo, ramp down drone strikes or stare down the looming debt or the fiscal cliff. An Obama hater? Fine. You've earned your disappointment.

What you shouldn't do is express that disappointment without simultaneously acknowledging that Mitt Romney, this shit-eating Ken doll, hasn't a single new idea to offer you. His budget is mathematically impossible, but he's not being held accountable for that, because he's told the media to trust him, and so far, they've been complicit. His foreign policy is, as Obama himself declared October 22nd, 'all over the map,' but gosh, Romney just says things so earnestly and so slickly that it doesn't really matter to anyone if he said something different a few months ago. See, Romney looks and talks like a President on television or in the movies, and the media loves that so very much. They love having him up there, on screen. It's like having a movie about a Presidential race without having to hire an actor, and they know so long as they keep him a viable candidate, viewers will tune in and cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

Why call a vice Presidential candidate out about repeated, bald-faced lies when he's just so gosh-shucks disarming and down to earth? Why challenge a Presidential candidate on rampant, shameless untruths when he's got that great hair and those perfect streaks of gray in his temples? What does the media think it is? A fact-checking organization? No, you've got it all wrong. See, the media reports on the fact checking outlets, and then lets the campaign surrogates for Romney and Obama fact check the fact checkers. That's what the media calls 'context.'

In fact, mainstream political news hosts are about as useful as Jim Lehrer. MSNBC, as closely tied to the DNC as Fox News is tied to the RNC, has these 'round table discussions' called 'political power panels.' The participants in these political power panels are comprised of campaign surrogates who get opportunities to express their talking points. Rarely does a truly rancorous disagreement take place. Why? Because everyone knows what everyone else is going to say in advance. There is no tough questioning. Each side gets a chance to step up, say their peace, and then step out. It's a big spin room, a place where reality gets created.

On this political power panel, hosts and guests infer all sorts of unsubstantiated things and make things true just by saying them aloud. On any given morning, a guest might say that 'some people have been saying that the moon is made of green cheese,' and though most Americans find that notion absurd, that talking point becomes a few percentage points more acceptable with each day it is repeated. By the second week, Thomas Roberts and his guests are all speculating about whether the cheese on the moon is a color other than green. They're lost in the woods on a premise that is, at its core, deeply false. But that's how journalism works now, and no campaign has taken greater advantage of that fundamental unreality than the Romney/Ryan campaign.

In this media environment, this place where truth and reality are generated, Mitt Romney's campaign strategy has thrived. Obama may be a flawed, at-times disengaged and wonky technocrat, but if there's one thing he's especially bad at, it's grand Political Theater. Sure, his campaign put up those Greek columns during his nomination speech, but these are the grand moments, set aside for him by others. What Obama fails to do - for the most part - is create his own compelling theater in the smaller, everyday moments. The nuance of his off the cuff speech does not inspire. He is prone to lecturing, punctuated with long, deeply unsettling pauses. This is where Romney has stepped in and commanded attention, and caused the media to fall in love with him.

It's important to remember that Romney's long experience in venture Capitalism has so much to do with how he has done so well. For years, he trafficked in exploiting failed companies, propping them up with private capital, thereby making a few people very, very rich. When the people with a vested interest got what they wanted, he then harvested that entity's jobs and resources and moved on to the next venture.

American is another such venture for Mitt Romney. For years, as a candidate, he has trafficked in exploiting the failures resulting from the worst financial calamity since the great Depression. He is an expert on pointing on the way something has failed, and then doing his sales routine about what he can do to fix it. This is his bread and butter. He's great at looking at the negatives and pouncing on them in a bid to take something over. He's done it with failing companies, and it's safe to say that he consider's Obama's America a failed state, and is simply capitalizing on that. Romney's threshold of experience, past acquiring a failed property, is to simply harvest it, exploit it, and sent it on its way. There is a difference between investing in and exploiting America, and I have severe doubts that Mitt Romney understands the difference. You should too.


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