The Man Without Qualities

Does Anybody Like Mitt Romney? 
Is There Anything to Like? 
Is There Anything There at All?

The Man Without Qualities

Garrett Morlan

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I've been in the same room with Mitt Romney twice—in Des Moines and Bellevue. I've been in rooms full of people who voted for Romney in the Iowa and Washington State caucuses. I've shared disgusting hotel bathrooms covered in litter and puddles of questionable fluids with men wearing baseball hats and pins bearing Romney's name and Romney T-shirts awkwardly pulled over their very expensive Oxford-cloth button-down shirts. I've stood in line with people at cold ungodly hours of the morning as we all waited to be allowed into Romney rallies. And I have never, once, met a Mitt Romney fan.

I have looked far and wide, halfway across this country and back, and I have not found a human being who is genuinely fond of Romney and believes that, based on the strength of his character, he would make a great president. I'm not talking about an anti-Obama Republican; there are plenty of people who will vote for Romney because he's not Barack Obama. But I have not talked with one person who will vote for Mitt Romney because he's Mitt Romney. And I've tried. E-mails and phone calls to prospective Romney fans went unanswered. Google searches were fruitless. Hell, even our state's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rob McKenna, hasn't made a public appearance with Romney.

This has been pointed out before: Republican support behind Romney, the candidate running against Obama, is strong, but Republican support of Willard Mitt Romney, the alleged human being, is practically nonexistent.

And at no other time has this been more evident than in the battle over Romney's tax returns.

After a whole lot of whining from Newt Gingrich during the primaries, Romney released part of his 2010 tax return and an estimate for his 2011 tax return, which he says he will release as soon as it is ready. But that's it. His campaign has taken so much heat for those unreleased tax returns from the press and the Obama campaign that one has to assume there must be something really bad in there—worse than the offshore accounts that give the appearance that Romney has no confidence in the United States as an investment anymore and worse than the exploited loopholes that result in Romney's tiny 15 percent tax rate.

Can you even imagine what must be in those tax returns? The Obama campaign has wondered aloud, in TV commercials, whether Romney paid any taxes at all for several of the years he's hiding. The Romney campaign responded that those allegations are ridiculous—of course Governor Romney paid taxes, they huffed—but they won't release any proof.

It's gotten so bad that even Republicans who don't like Obama are begging Romney to release his tax returns. Whatever is in those tax returns can't possibly be as bad as the imaginations of the American voting public, these pundits and elder statesmen of the party are saying. Maine senator Olympia Snowe, Georgia senator Johnny Isakson, Alabama governor Robert Bentley, former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, and Indiana senator Dick Lugar have all suggested that Romney needs to release his tax returns so he can focus on some other issue. Even Republican pundits like Bill Kristol and the huffy-but-somehow-venerable George Will have demanded that Romney release the records. ("The cost of not releasing the returns are clear," Will said on ABC's This Week. "Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.") Democrats on Twitter are happily recycling a witty argument of unknown provenance that says when John McCain's inner circle was looking for a vice president, Romney's people turned over 23 years of tax returns for their perusal and, after looking over Romney's taxes, the McCain people thought that Sarah Palin was a wiser VP choice.

The sinister image of secret tax records hiding unspeakable terrors contributes to a serious problem of Romney's. I'm not the first person to recognize that Romney is straight out of central casting for Evil '80s Corporate Robber Baron. His nervous snicker, his impossible hair, his burnished skin and just-right wrinkles, and the weird way his perfect teeth sort of float around inside of his smile—it just reeks of movie badguydom. He looks like the kind of sleazy lizard-man who—in sci-fi satires like Blade Runner and Robocop and The Dark Knight Returns and Escape from New York and all those dystopian '80s nightmare fables about corporate personhood—lingers behind in the spotless futuristic employee bathrooms to whisper terrible implied threats to low-level drones who dare to ask too many questions about where the money is coming from.

It's not bad enough that the evil businessmen in these movies and comic books destroyed America, privatizing the police departments and deregulating industry to the point where toxic waste sits out in public places, waiting to turn any schlub who bumps into a rusty barrel or two into a shrieking, tumorous freak. No, the thing that makes those bad guys in the suits and skinny ties so unctuous and creepy is their fakeness, and that fakeness is part of what freaks many people out about Romney. Something about him inspires the suspicion that somewhere inside Mitt Romney is a tiny alien making his meat puppet dance by tugging on strings of cartilage and tendon, emulating human behavior that it read about once in a book from the 1950s.

My favorite scary story related to Romney is from Michael Kranish and Scott Helman's biography The Real Romney, and it's actually about Romney's father, former Michigan governor George Romney. After George had wed Lenore, the woman who became Mitt's mother, he realized that the key to a good marriage was continually wooing your spouse. And so he went about it in the most robotic fashion possible. Every morning before Lenore woke, he would leave the house, buy a single red rose, return, and leave it on her pillow so that it would be the first thing she would see on waking. Every day of their 64-year marriage, George did this. Every single day. This is the kind of grandiose, unimaginative, absurd promise a cheesy R&B singer would make ("Ooooh, baby, love you so much—unh!—wanna leave a red rooooooooose on ya pillow—ooooh!—ev-er-y moan-in'!"), and George Romney lived it, because it was his idea of what everyone else's idea of a perfect romance was. One day, Lenore woke up and the rose wasn't there. She thought to herself, "George must be dead." And she got out of bed and padded around the house until she found her husband's body in the room they had turned into a gym, twisted up at the end of the treadmill, his heart cold and quiet.

This is something that Mitt Romney learned from his father and took into his heart and embraced as the primary goal of his life: Don't just be a normal person—overdo it. Don't just do 110 percent of whatever you're going to do: Do it 225 percent, and make fucking well sure that everyone around you knows that you're doing 225 percent. When then Massachusetts senatorial candidate Romney revealed a little bit of his sneering well-to-do nature during a photo op by making a joke about a veterans' shelter teaching the homeless to milk cows because milk was too expensive, he saw the criticism from the press and realized he made a mistake. Then he didn't just apologize; according to The Real Romney, he talked to his people about it and made sure that for years afterward, some tiny rivulet of the mighty Romney fortune was put toward subsidizing the shelter's milk, paying for half of the thousand pints a day that the shelter required. For hundreds of weeks, shipments of conciliatory milk arrived at the shelter's door, probably well past the point when anybody on staff remembered the slight. Like the story of George and the roses, it's almost touching, except there's that creepy overcompensation again. You get the sense that Romney didn't learn a lesson—your normal candidate would have showed up with a crate of milk and a sheepish grin the next day and made some apologies and called it a wash—but instead was trying to tip the scales back into his favor and undo the mistake by killing it dead with "kindness."

Two facets of Mitt Romney play into this kind of intense overcompensation. On the one hand, you have the businessman who plays for keeps. Romney was the head of Bain Capital for so long, he probably isn't used to being told no. When you're sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president, as Romney was at Bain Capital from 1984 to 2002, pretty much everyone has to do your bidding. But when you enter politics, people tell you no all the time. And so you do what a businessman does: You try to take them over. By any means necessary.

But the other side has to do with Romney's Mormon faith. Anyone who has ever visited Salt Lake City and felt like an extra on a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers knows that Mormons are creepily perfect. Maybe this is just what happens to humans when you take away booze and caffeine and illicit sex; when breaking the rules isn't an option, you become obsessed with being "normal" and following every rule. (Remember Romney's "prank" as a rambunctious teenager: holding down a fellow student and cutting his long hair as the boy wept and pleaded for Romney to stop. The reason he cut the boy's hair? According to Romney's friends at the time, he couldn't stop making exasperated statements about how unnatural it was: "That's wrong. Just look at him!")

Or maybe this is what happens when your religion is relentlessly mocked, persecuted, and reviled. If you keep smiling and holding doors open for little old ladies, maybe people will stop caring that you think the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri, and that Jesus once visited South America on a secret mission. If you unleash a river of milk as an apology for a dumb joke, maybe people won't think about how you expect to rule over a distant planet as God after you die. If you tithe 10 percent of your income to a church that publicly commits huge, overt works of charity, maybe people won't notice that your religion believed black people were cursed by God and thus not allowed into the Mormon priesthood until 1978, or will forget about the millions of dollars your church pledged to successfully fight gay marriage in California.

This overcompensation principle has worked well for Romney in his professional life. His personal fortune is estimated at somewhere between $200 million and $250 million, and his command of Bain was often described as dictatorial. I reiterate: He was so successful at his job that he won't allow the American people to look at his tax records for any year before 2010.

So by any monetary metric, Romney is wildly successful. But is he well liked? No. In fact, just about every Republican presidential contender who faced Romney in the 2008 and 2012 primaries hates his guts. They all detest his aloofness, the cloud of entitlement that circles him like a caviar fart, and the weird overcompensation that surrounds everything Romney does. Generally, once the campaign is over, most candidates manage to forge a kind of peace, and even friendship—at least they can bond over so many shared, surreal experiences—but that did not happen with Romney.

Republicans and Democrats who worked with Romney in Massachusetts loathe the man. When he became governor, his staff claimed an elevator in the statehouse in Boston for Romney's own exclusive use, keeping it separated from the rest of the bank of elevators by a velvet rope. This was unprecedented—for as long as there had been elevators in the statehouse, they had been for everyone to use—and it symbolized the arm's length reach he reserved for state legislators. In Massachusetts—where politics is built on a thick bed of cronyism and behind-the-scenes deals—this was unheard of. And it led to Romney's collapse in the polls: It's widely believed that Romney didn't run for a second term as governor in 2006 because polls showed he would be easily defeated by a number of Democratic challengers.

And it seems that this personal distaste extends to everyday Republican voters. My search for a Romney supporter was fruitless. I considered interviewing local radio host Michael Medved, who in March introduced Romney at a Bellevue rally I attended—Medved breathlessly praising himself for being the first conservative commentator to get behind Romney in a big way. But I didn't want to use Medved as an example because Medved is a dolt. Any jackass could have looked at the field of adult toddlers and superstitious half-wits running for the Republican nomination and predict that Romney was going to be the nominee; hell, I put it in writing here in The Stranger in May of 2011. Medved's starry-eyed adoration of Romney crosses from the rational into the realm of the unthinking ascetic. With his cooing words of praise ("Mormonism is a blessing to our country! Everybody knows that. Everybody can see it. Look at the works of charity, look at the positive communities, look at the uplift of the poor. By the way, look at the state of Utah!"), Medved resembles a lapdog that has been trained to pretend it's a pit bull.

I finally talked on the phone with Chris Vance, a public affairs consultant who served as a member of the King County Council and chair of the Washington State Republican Party. Vance, who was excited to speak his opinion as "a private citizen" and not as a pundit or official spokesperson for the party, admitted on the record what several Republicans I talked to would not: He was not a Mitt Romney fan. Vance decided to support Romney because "he was clearly the best choice" out of all the Republicans in the 2012 campaign. He admitted, "I don't know any Republicans who are excited about Romney in the same way that they were about Reagan or even George W. Bush."

So if Romney's record and policies didn't appeal to Vance, why did he decide to support him? "Politics is more about party than personality, and people hate to hear that," Vance said. "The next president will appoint hundreds of people to positions," and he wants Republicans in those positions. "What Republicans do like about Mitt Romney is that he's a very standard Republican," and Vance believes that "within the spectrum of the Republican Party, he's centrist."

"Republicans are going to have to accept some revenue increases," he said, and "Democrats are going to have to accept some cuts." Vance thinks the "blueprint to save us" is the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan to reduce the deficit. Simpson-Bowles proposes cuts for government safety-net plans and raises several key taxes by reducing deductions for mortgages and health insurance. It's so bipartisan, nobody's happy with it. President Obama and Romney have both rejected Simpson-Bowles, but Vance believes that Romney has secretly signaled support for it in recent weeks.

What it comes down to is that Vance is hoping that Romney can do what Obama promised and failed to do—find solutions to problems that have haunted America for years. He doesn't think we've seen the real Romney yet. "I think Mitt Romney has been saying and doing what he has to do to win the election," Vance said. He doesn't know if Romney will bring the parties together, but he hopes so. "I know Obama has created nothing but partisan chaos and partisan gridlock. I'm hoping that Romney would govern differently."

But is that even true? Back before Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, and Newt Gingrich conspired in an unholy alliance to turn the Republican presidential campaign into a Sherman's march on the American poor and just about every minority there is, I thought Romney would try to run to the middle during the general election and convince centrist Democrats that a Romney presidency wouldn't be so bad. When Americans think the presidential election is a battle between Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber, Republicans tend to win. But the Republican primary left scorched earth in its wake all across the country, and to win, Romney had to say some awful things. He's come out hard against reproductive rights, gay rights, the poor, Latinos, unions, and government workers.

But on most issues, Romney isn't really running on anything. Unless he absolutely needs to, he refuses to talk to the press, presumably because he's a terrible extemporaneous speaker. He has plans to cut government agencies, but he won't say which agencies he'll cut. Nobody knows what his education plans are or what his opinion on immigration really is. It's remarkable that this man has been in the public sphere for more than four years and has managed to keep his policies—if he in fact has any policies—a total secret from everyone.

Even worse are the things he has said. Like a true caricature from the 1980s, Romney has announced that Russia is "without question our number one geopolitical foe," when most Americans would be hard-pressed to put it in the top 10. He's strangely antagonistic toward China, especially considering his past job profited from sending jobs to China as a matter of course. Romney continually talks about his weird desire to improve the US Navy and make it the envy of the world. Though Romney is ostensibly for small government, he says he'll refuse to cut military spending one single cent. His foreign-policy advisers are almost 100 percent from the George W. Bush White House.

No, Romney can't run on the issues, because he can't admit what his issues really are. And he can't run on his record as a politician. His Senate campaign crashed and burned to a loss of 17 percent in the biggest election year for Republican wins on record. Except for the health-care reform he championed—Romneycare was supposed to be the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, before his party veered to the right and ran it down dead—Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts is terrible. He cut funds to public education. Massachusetts fell to 47th in the nation for job creation. Hell, even Romneycare relied on funds from the federal government to really work.

So what does Romney have left? He's "a businessman." He can't even say he'll govern as a "CEO president," because George W. Bush used that line already, and Romney can't afford to remind people that the last "CEO president" we had presided helplessly over the destruction of a major American city, drove the economy at top speed into a brick wall, and then made his friends try to pin the accident on the nearest black guy.

So. "A businessman." Sounds amorphous and vaguely sinister, like a background character in some boardroom in, say, Robocop. The Obama campaign is merrily tearing Romney's business record to pieces this month, detailing his record of retroactive retirement, outsourcing, layoffs, and scrap-heap capitalism—tearing businesses to pieces and leaving whole American towns with their hearts ripped out. The business of "business," it seems, is messy, brutal work, and it's not very clear that America, with its long history of fictionalized bad guys in black suits and skinny ties tearing down baseball fields to put up another soulless shopping mall unless the lovable losers work together to win the big tournament, has any stomach for the realities and intricacies of it.

So then you take that away, and what do you have left? A terrible public speaker who often looks terrified or becomes enraged when he's called on to answer a basic question. A former CEO who couldn't look more uncomfortable in a pair of jeans if he were allergic to denim. A man in a suit sputtering over the terrible things he's done, trying to milk some sense of pride out of broken families and a fortune made from sucking the marrow out of America's rusty spine. A terrible singer trying to inflate eager crowds on winds of patriotism and nostalgia that not even he truly believes. A cowering man in a suit on the screen, waving his hands in front of his face and begging Robocop not to kill him for profiting, for draining the United States dry and exploiting the pain and hard work of others, for doing what businessmen do. recommended


Comments (93) RSS

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well_now 1
I'd just like to say that I saw my first pro-Mitt Romney bumper stickers over the weekend in rural northern Michigan. I saw two of them over a 4 day period.
Posted by well_now on July 25, 2012 at 9:18 AM · Report this
Roosevelt 2
No one expects Romney to win, at all. It's already been decided that Obama will be our President for the next four years.
Off topic, has anyone been able to get on Facebook the last two weeks? Is there a story to this?
Posted by Roosevelt http://www.youtube.com/user/matthewcobrien?feature=mhum on July 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
talk about overcompensation, i don't care for the candidate and won't vote for him but it seems you would criticize the way he shits if you could. calm down, for crissakes! every human being has redeemable value, you ought to learn that.
Posted by bthompson98512 on July 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
talk about overcompensation... i don't like the candidate and won't vote for him but methinks you would criticize the way he shits if you were privy to such info. calm down for chrissakes, every human being has value on some level, you should know that. this breed of vitriol only contributes to a divisive culture that we should all be working to stop. support the president by supporting the president!
Posted by bthompson98512 on July 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Zotz 5
@3 and 4:

Did you actually read this piece? Have you been paying attention at all?

Everything about this man (Rmoney) is a god-damned dirty lie. His electoral strategy counts on people like Paul getting tired of repeatedly pointing it out as Paul has done so very well here.

I love your work, Paul. This piece is especially magnificent. The "caviar fart" line was priceless.
Posted by Zotz on July 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Holy shit, a Robert Musil reference.
Posted by Jacob on July 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this

Actually, Romney outsources his shits to a sweatshop in China.
Posted by AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell on July 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Mrs Jarvie 8
Paul, I usually love your features but dehumanizing Romney is a cheap thrill. I want to remember The Stranger as a weekly that focused on the positive potential of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest as the US Government as we knew it cannibalized itself into oblivion. Yes, the tumbrils are coming (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.a…). But, The Stranger can choose to keep the blood off its hands by remembering that all politicians are human beings, not the "the alleged human being"s as you stated in the third paragraph. When the hanging starts I will not be cheering with the mob, and I hope that you won't be either.
Posted by Mrs Jarvie on July 25, 2012 at 7:04 PM · Report this
Knat 9
The milk thing actually sounds like a pretty decent way to patch things up; though the argument can certainly be made that he just threw money at a problem, rather than admit a mistake.

The "caviar fart" line is the heart of his failure; he cannot, despite all his efforts, shake that entitled, condescending manner that everyone immediately registers when listening to him. Every smile and every word out of Rmoney's mouth feel so over-rehearsed and inhuman that by comparison, he makes John Kerry look like John F. Kennedy. And his wife coming off as an entitled bitch who can't stand the rabble that is anyone outside the upper .001% isn't helping.

Also, I love the artwork for this story.
Posted by Knat on July 25, 2012 at 9:08 PM · Report this
This is why I call him Shitt Romney.
Excellent column, Paul! Right on target.
The fact that even staunch REPUBLICANS
are demanding that Romney reveal his IRS
tax returns already screams that he's so ready
to be king of the 1%.

Skim off the 1% and we might just get our country back.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 26, 2012 at 1:49 AM · Report this
Or put another way, anyone who would vote against Obama is either a backwoods racist, obscenely wealthy or a member of that strange cult in Utah.

Romney didn't pop out of nowhere, like Kodos and Kang, He was a rather progressive governor, leader of a very successful Olympics effort and a smart businessman.

He has a lot of redeeming qualities that the Obama-or-nobody crowd tries to turn into negatives.

We have two strong candidates this time and it will be a pleasure to not have to vote against the candidate I like least.
Posted by Cletus on July 26, 2012 at 7:05 AM · Report this
John McCain vetted Mitt Romney to be his vice-presidential running mate in 2008, yet chose Sarah Palin instead. What does that tell you?
Posted by twinkie223 on July 26, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
"the cloud of entitlement that circles him like a caviar fart"

Posted by JoeSnow on July 26, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
(S)ucking the marrow out of America's rusty spine.

Fuck, Paul, you brilliant bastard! What a great line! I can picture it on posters plastered everywhere.

We need to make this Romney's new motto, his subtext, his theme song, so everyone can hear it loud and clear!
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on July 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Good lord, there must be a DSM classification such as "Narcissistic-Overcompensatory Disorder" to describe both George and Mitt's hostile over-giving complex. The candidate is a time bomb of pent-up anger.
Posted by Stacey on July 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
And what the hell did Lenore do with those 100s of stupid roses? How could she not have thrown up on George's pillow every morning after even the first week of that intractable insanity?

If Romney got in, he'd hose us all down with milk, spit, or shit.

Fantastic piece, Paul!
Posted by Stacey on July 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Willard M Romney is a douchebag. He was a douchebag in business, a douchebag as Governor of Massachusetts (I'm a resident of MA btw) and a douchebag as an organizer for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He is the douchiest of douchebags.
Posted by RG on July 26, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Mitt Romney might be terrible. But he wasn't the one who signed the NDAA into law. Both of the candidates are abysmal douchebags who don't respect our rights.
Posted by Sammy Pickover on July 26, 2012 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Based on you article Obama must really be a goon because anything is better than him, including your new fascination Mitt.
Posted by notanobamalovefesthere on July 26, 2012 at 10:55 PM · Report this
#2-I get on Facebook every day, no problems.
Posted by BallardBoy on July 26, 2012 at 10:58 PM · Report this
@11: wow, Paul seems to have flushed out an actual Romney supporter! In what way do you consider Romney progressive?
Posted by BallardBoy on July 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM · Report this
whoa! Are you censoring my post to protect your political agenda?
Posted by notanobamalovefesthere on July 26, 2012 at 11:21 PM · Report this
Yea Ballard Boy are you shocked that somebody in Seattle amongst all the pro obama bumper stickers actually will not vote for seattles beloved man Your going to be shocked to see how many people vote for Mitt just because they will not stand for another year of Obamas policies. People realize that the true Obama will suface if he would be put in office for a second term, The real damage will come then when he doesn't have to run for re election. that guy is a psycho radical to the max. He hates this country.
Posted by notanobamalovefesthere on July 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM · Report this
I have to say that Paul Constant is a little worried about the upcoming election to write such a personal hateful piece. Thats easy to do on The Stanger. Amerature.
Posted by notanobamalovefesthere on July 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM · Report this
"...drove the economy at top speed into a brick wall, and then made his friends try to pin the accident on the nearest black guy." Best line since The Onion's headline on Obama's election: "Black man given worst job in America".
Posted by Constant Comment on July 27, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Rhett Oracle 26
Paul: You have finally accomplished what few have: nailing that bowl of custard (Romney) to a tree. Like the empty centurion's helmet created by Gary Trudeau to represent W, I await the Mitt Empty Suit. Congratz - your piece is going up on Facebook to alert the 99%.
Posted by Rhett Oracle on July 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
AFinch 27
+1 for the Caviar Fart line.

Team Obama will just keep hammering him over the tax returns...either way it works for us.
Posted by AFinch on July 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Reminds me of that one scene from Invader Zim, where Zim's robot parents are malfunctioning, acting like absolute freaks in public and Zim runs out in front of them and shouts to the staring onlookers, "No! No! We're normal! We're normal!"
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on July 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 29
I don't like Mitt at all and think he would be a horrible president, but this piece is a little shrill. I mean, evil 80's bad-guy businessman from robocop? Really? Alien pulling on meat-strings? C'mon, he may be a douche but he's human. Or at least human-ish. The whole hateful tone of this piece really takes away from the smart points being made.
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on July 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
This was one of the most sorry excuses for journalism, I have ever read. There were no facts in this article, nothing but guessing so called personal experience and conjecture. The only facts that I read were a few rubs on the man's religion. I can't believe someone in this day and age would make fun of someones personal beliefs. This was a blatant puff opinion piece, I would be ashamed to put my name on it.
Posted by Joey123 on July 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
people don't like people for tangible reasons. i don't like my neighbor because of his corvette. i don't like my sister-in-law because of her giant rack. i don't like my boss because of his crisp, starched collar. i don't like my local subway employee because of his witty tattoo.

i like people because of the way they treat me, or rather, i don't like people because of the way that they treat me. mitt is socially clumsy, cold and condescending. being a successful businessman can't help that. tithing to his church can't help that. keeping the same wife for a long time can't help that.

mitt has no history of treating people well, unless they are directly connected to him. i don't have to look him in the eye or shake his hand to know i don't like him. he's not a lovable loser, he doesn't deserve points for trying, he's not even a misguided ideologue.

this isn't a hateful piece. it's simply painfully aware of the reality surrounding mitt that few are willing to talk about: this guy has no soul.
Posted by deepconcentration on July 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
@30, While there were actually many facts in this piece (for example, the republicans mentioned in the article in fact have called on Romney to release his tax returns), you should really learn about a type of article called an "editorial." Just FYI, journalists are actually permitted to express opinions sometimes.
Posted by BackAtcha on July 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
If WMR gets any more plastic, he will crack. Great article and all of the reasons to not vote for Robney,he will sell all of us to China to work for pennies.
Posted by MindysMom on July 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Can I point out that... (1) Nixon was the first to release his tax returns, and (2) Pelosi won't release her's?

I don't have to like Romney to believe he'll be less of a disaster for the country than Obama has been.
Posted by Northside Tony on July 27, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 35
That last paragraph, particularly, is pure brilliance.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on July 27, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
#9 - Agreed on the artwork. A bang up job in the style of master cartoonist Jack Davis
Posted by Take57 on July 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 37
I had to guffaw at your column, Paul.
Posted by Gern Blanston on July 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Well I just loved the piece. That's all, thank you very much for writing it.

It has seemed obvious to me all along that if you elect someone of Romney's ilk you are going to get more "right to work" states, which rhymes with union busting. There may be technically more jobs as environmental restrictions are lifted and more tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies are put in place, (is that even possible) but they will be shit jobs with shit pay and shit protection for workers. Be careful what you wish for Republicans
Posted by Coclesmary on July 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
I am tired of hearing what a success the Salt Lake City Olympics was. It was only a success if you didn't go. It was expensive (especially for one of the least expensive cities in the U.S.), uncomfortable, confused and creepy. You had to buy a membership to a club to get a drink. Or they made you drink in a tent in public park in the middle of winter (not making this up folks). They shoved Mormonism down your throught at every opportunity including having plenty of their 19 year-old "elders" trying to recruit my German friends every time they stepped out of doors. Ugh!! It was only a success if you were a Mormon business owner.
Posted by dr. jim on July 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
@34: Actually, Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, was the first to release his tax returns. And Polosi isn't running for president. And "hers" doesn't have an apostrophe. Other than that, you're doing pretty well with facts and grammar.
Posted by also on July 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Obama and Mckenna: the centrist choice.
Posted by Sugartit on July 28, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
@18 Romney didn't sign the NDAA only because he wasn't president. If he wins in Nov, he'll sign the next NDAA. Every president will, because no president wants to be the guy to veto the military budget... especially while troops are in hostile territory.

Perhaps Obama should have worked harder with Congress to keep the detention part out of the NDAA in the first place. But are you under any delusion that Mitt Romney will do that? The guy who demanded his own private elevator? You think he's going to pick a fight with his own party for something so abstract as the civil liberties of the little people? What do you suppose all of his Bush advisors are going to advise him to do?

Unfortunately, when it comes to civil rights, this is a question of the least bad option.
Posted by madcap on July 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
ferret 43
I think there are enthusiastic Romney supporters, mainly members of the Latter Day Saints. I believe some of his hard core volunteers during the primary were young Mormons.(many went to South Carolina to help).

However, there aren't fervent true believers like with Ron Paul supporters. The GOP convention should be interesting. It maybe more of the Anti Obama convention.
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo on July 28, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
Friggin brilliant, Paul. Christopher Hitchens would be proud.
So much here... the most frightening thing about Romney is his apartness. Yes, his wealth, his religion...you hit the nail on the head with your reference to his waxy attempts at leading "America the Beautiful" singalongs. Nobody's buying it. Talk about lip service. I don't think he truly loves this country, just like I don't think Rush Limbaugh loves this country... remember how he prayed out loud for Obama to fail? That might be the only thing he has in common with Republicans, the willingness to sit by and watch Americans struggle, to let American industry die. The Republican party has become decidedly anti-American, sandbagging Obama's efforts to rebuild the economy just because they don't want the Democrats to get credit. Meanwhile, we're all paying the price.
Aside to @notanobamalovefesthere, @19, 22, 23, and 24, no one is censoring you, you paranoid freak, you have to wait a few minutes for your post to show. God I wish people would learn that.
Posted by portland scribe on July 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Fnarf 45
Paul, I think your friend @24 has you pegged -- "Amerature", how can you argue with that?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
St. Beretta 46
Republicans have known from the beginning that Obama can't be beat. That's why the primaries were such a shit show (adult toddlers and superstitious halfwits - priceless). Romney is just a sacrificial lamb and the GOP is happy to get him out of the way for the real contest in 4 years. You never run a loser twice.
Posted by St. Beretta on July 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
aimlessjonah 47
This is just pure (and enthusiastic) speculation on my part, but I think the real reason Mitt doesn't want to release his tax returns is that he hasn't actually been tithing to the Mormon Church, and he doesn't want them to find out about it.
Posted by aimlessjonah http://daysoflivingaimlessly.blogspot.com on July 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
I was shocked to see that the author had the same level of tolerance for religious minorities the the Westboro Baptist Church has towards sexual minorities. While I realize Broadway musicals ARE scripture to you people, I don't look in my Mormon scriptures to learn about non-Mormon views. Next time at least fact check your dirty-laundry-list with Wikipedia before pulling down your pants and shitting down the throats of the African American Mormons who's rights you are supposedly standing up for 4 decades after the fact.

Besides it's poorly informed religious bigotry, this was a great article. Too bad its obvious factual errors (compare to the critique of the Broadway song "I Believe") about what Mormons believe in 2012 make it impossible for me to expect any Mormon swing-voters I know to take it seriously.
Posted by B. F. Galbraith on July 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
KingofQueenAnne 49
My fav Romney anecdote was of him offering a half-consumed hot chocolate to a Provo barista instead of a tip. So fucking weird! Link below.

Posted by KingofQueenAnne http://blingeejesus.blogspot.com on July 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
KingofQueenAnne 50
I'm also surprised that so many commenters have expressed angst over this piece. "Mah stars, Paul's mean. I'm so scandalized!" Romney's getting dinged for inexplicable gaffes that no politician should ever make not because he's adorably naive yet well-meaning, but because he's been treated like a fucking god both at work (which has been noted in this article) but also in his church and culture. The Romneys are like the Marriotts—upper echelon, elite members of the LDS community. He's had his ass kissed and has been fawned over since at least young adulthood. Why learn to be likable when you've never had to work to be liked?
Posted by KingofQueenAnne http://blingeejesus.blogspot.com on July 28, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 51
Democrats on Twitter are happily recycling a witty argument of unknown provenance that says when John McCain's inner circle was looking for a vice president, Romney's people turned over 23 years of tax returns for their perusal and, after looking over Romney's taxes, the McCain people thought that Sarah Palin was a wiser VP choice.
Reading something that sounds so irrational and yet utterly believable is scary.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on July 28, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
Didn't the McCain/Palin quip originate from James Carville, or was he just repeating it? It's witty, but I'm guessing he wasn't McCain's pick for two reasons: (1) McCain doesn't like the guy (McCain made his money the old fashioned way: he married it), and (2) two rich white guys were not going to win against Obama.

Posted by madcap on July 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
Well, here we go again with the politically correct liberals demonizing any one who doesn't think they have a copyright on morality and world peace. I don't like Romney because he sounds like a preppy pussy frat boy to me. Just like what a lot of you must sound like. I don't like Obama because he sounds like an arrogant flake. Which is what so many of your commenters read like.

Reagan became governor of California in part because people tired of being patronized by superior hippy liberal types. Heads up Gay marriage supporters. A lot of people get elected and unelected because of the impressions their supporters make.

In most large elections it is the designated wall flowers that have a deciding vote. I feel left out by all parties(ans), so I may just vote wingnut if there is one on the ballot.

I like the caviar farts line. Mr. Kleen has caviar pharts.
Posted by Gonesouth on July 28, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
@46. You should get up and wash the makeup out of your eyes. In case you haven't noticed Obama is not all that popular with either more common sense liberals, independents nor (naturally) the right. 'It can't happen here' not in the Peoria of Liberalism. Yeah, right. Remember that Carter defeated Reagan and that Dewey defeated Truman. All these gaffe's that Willard is making just endears him to people looking for some thing in common. The press' relentless attacks on Romney about not much just gives him that many more votes. A very large percentage of voters rate the press somewhere between used car salesman and lawyer. They'll believe the politician over the editor.
Posted by Gonesouth on July 28, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
blackhook 55
Paul, you can't find a Romney fan because - as you suspect - there are none. The reason is that people can immediately see that Mitt is not human (first clue: the name 'Mitt').

Even neanderthal Republicans who have barely oozed out of their own primordial slime can sense that he is an alien who was barfed down from the Mormon planet Zorbulon, to try & take over the most powerful nation on earth. I mean, all you have to do is look at that face & that brow & those bizarre facial expressions & his weird pronouncements to understand that Romney is not one of us Earthlings.

And don't get me started on entitled Ann "You People Have Enough Information" Romney, who is every bit as insular & strange & unempathetic as her hubby from Outer Space.
Posted by blackhook on July 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
So after 50 some replies... has anybody been able to come up with a reason somebody would like Romney?
Posted by GermanSausage on July 28, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
And yet Romney may still win...
Posted by Ed Whitson on July 28, 2012 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Sandiai 58
I liked this too, "huffy-but-somehow-venerable George Will"
Posted by Sandiai on July 28, 2012 at 7:52 PM · Report this
Sandiai 59
@50. "Why learn to be likable when you've never had to work to be liked?"

I know that was a rhetorical question, but it made me think about his motivations. I can't tell what drives the man. I mean, I learned and am learning to be likable (I hope, in a genuine way) because I like people and I like interacting better with friends than with enemies. I also like to "pay-forward" any good luck I've had, as I feel like society has been pretty good to me. But Mitt doesn't seem to have those same "friendly" motivations driving his interactions with other humans. I just don't get him, and that creeps me out.

I liked this too, "The huffy-but-somehow-venerable George Will."
Posted by Sandiai on July 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Sandiai 60
Posted by Sandiai on July 28, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Posted by Adrian Ryan on July 28, 2012 at 8:29 PM · Report this
@50. Willard, as a member of the Mormon cult, has the "us/them" attitude, kind of like the gypsies who teach their children that's it's OK to steal from "outsiders". Look up "lying for the faith".
Posted by KINCAID on July 28, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
Sooo....Romney = Gary Callahan?
Posted by j.lee on July 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM · Report this
OK, I'm pretty much a partisan Democrat but I like to play the old "If you'd vote for someone of the other party, who would it be?" game with my friends both D & R. During the GOP primaries, my choices were Huntsman and Romney (in that order) - the two Mormons, even though I'm gay.
Because they weren't batshit crazy like the other candidates - despite their weird religion. I felt that if one of them were elected president, they wouldn't embarrass the US on the world stage like the others would.

Huntsman's long gone, we're left with Romney, and he's just demolished that little theory of mine . . .
Posted by Jared Bascomb on July 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Big deal. You're too young to remember him, Paul, but nobody could stand Nixon, either, including any of the people who elected him narrowly (first time) and then relected him in a landslide.
Posted by Toe Tag on July 28, 2012 at 9:21 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 66

That's pretty much the key.

The entire Left Wing of the Democrat Party has adopted a "mum's the word" approach to Obama criticism, because he is a cardboard dummy designed to quell people's aversions to socialism. Meanwhile the Left gets funding in exchange for their silence.


Same with GW. But he won twice.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on July 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM · Report this
seatackled 67
Nice description of Medved, too.

Also, here's a short post worth a glance that also asks, "What has Romney got left?"

Posted by seatackled on July 28, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 68
Blade Runner isn't a satire.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM · Report this
That's because you haven't met me Paul.

ROMNEY '12 The great white hope baby!!!!!
Posted by matt! on July 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 70
@48- What is the factual error you're pointing out? I think misread the article.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 28, 2012 at 11:10 PM · Report this
@66 No one is criticizing Obama from the mainstream Democratic establishment because he is a right wing Democrat, emblematic of the worst of what our party has become. He's ready to sell out Social Security for god's sake!

The fact that the only reason Romney supporters can come up with to support Romney is because Obama is a "socialist" shows that they are mindlessly partisan, or just racist - probably both
Posted by cracked on July 29, 2012 at 12:56 AM · Report this
YakHerder 72
The Onion, as usual, was eerily prescient about this whole phenomenon.

Posted by YakHerder on July 29, 2012 at 4:44 AM · Report this
Keister Button 73
I drove across five red states (and two blue ones) last week: I saw four Ron Paul signs, and NO Mitt Romney signs. Not even bumper stickers. I saw more Reagan Dunn signs than Romney signs.
Posted by Keister Button on July 29, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
From Obama's own mouth:
“I promise 100% transparency in my administration.”.
“I promise NO NEW TAXES on a family making less than $250K a year.”.
“I will allow 5 days of public comment before I sign any bills.”.
“I will remove earmarks from PORK projects before I sign any bill.”.
“I will end Income Tax for seniors making less than $50K a year.”.
"I will bring ALL of our troops home within ONE year."
“I’ll put the Health Care negotiations on CSPAN so everyone can see who is at the table!”.
“I’ll have no lobbyists in my administration."
"I'll close Guantanamo."
"I'll resign if I don't cut the deficit in half by the end of four years."
"I'll unite the people of this great country."

From Dreams of My Father : 'I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.'
From Dreams of My Father: 'There was something about her that made me wary, a little too sure of herself, maybe and white..
From Dreams of My Father: 'It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.'
From Dreams of My Father: 'I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.'
And FINALLY, and most scary!
From Audacity of Hope: 'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.'
Posted by Tom Papers on July 29, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
75 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
76 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Pridge Wessea 77
@66 - So Slog isn't left wing? Cuz it criticizes Obama all the time.

You'll make anything up in your head, just so you can cling to your worldviews.

Posted by Pridge Wessea on July 29, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Sandiai 78
Well, is it Amanda or Brenda?! And is it $5617 or $6408?!
Posted by Sandiai on July 29, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
@21 re: @11: Cletus certainly does have his head up his butt.
@69: Um, NO, Matt! Shitt Romney's more like The Great White Hopeless.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
@41: You got that half right. No way will I vote McKenna.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
@34: Spoken like a true richest 1% loon.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 82
I love this. Mitt "Corporations are people, my friend" Romney should choose one as his running mate:
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on July 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Friggin awesome article!
Posted by BellevueMommy on July 29, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
sheepsclothing 84
Love the George Will reference! If you look closely at pictures of him, you can see little-tiny horns protruding out of each side of his forehead...
Posted by sheepsclothing on July 29, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
good share!!! mattress
Posted by Mattresswithbeds on July 30, 2012 at 8:22 AM · Report this
Let me er this straight: Mitt's dad got up early every day for 64 years to go out and buy a fresh rose to put on his wife's pillow before she woke to show her how much he loves her. Mitt makes a mistake with a group and to make up for it he faithfully buys the milk for the organization for many years. And yet it's Mitt and his dad who are assholes?!? Just how twisted up do you have to be to see either of those stories as "scary?" Clearly there is an asshole involved in this story but it ain't looking like Mitt nor His dad...
Posted by Huh?Really? on July 30, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
Let me get this straight: Mitt's dad got up early every day for 64 years to go out and buy a fresh rose to put on his wife's pillow before she woke to show her how much he loves her. Mitt makes a mistake with a group and to make up for it he faithfully buys the milk for the organization for many years. And yet it's Mitt and his dad who are assholes?!? Just how twisted do you have to be to see either of those stories as "scary?" Clearly there is an asshole involved in this story but it ain't looking like Mitt nor His dad...
Posted by Huh?Really? on July 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
I think MItt is a good father and would has worked hard to be successful. Many people have trusted him with important decisions and he has been a big winner. He has a good education and cares about America. I like that he is passionate about making things better for all Americans. I believe he can work with congress to improve our economy and our society. I may be the only person in Seattle who votes for him, but I think it is the right thing to do.
Posted by A lone supporter on July 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 89
@87 It doesn't make them assholes, it just makes them vaguely creepy, in the same way RealDolls are vaguely creepy.
Shorter Paul: nobody likes Mitt because he's the only human who falls into the Uncanny Valley.
Posted by thecheesegirl on July 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Buxtehude 90
Number 48, I've been a Mormon for 32 years, so I can tell you that everything that this writer said about their doctrine is absolutely true. None of his facts were, in the least, incorrect. I am, by the way, no longer a member of this church.

The main reasons I don't like Romney? First of all, he's a fake. Everything he says and does publicly is contrived. I know that he hates gays because I've seen how he treats them when he thinks he isn't on camera. Secondly, as a Mormon I have met many arrogant Priesthood holders who are ambitious and who don't care who they trample on the way up, and Romney fits that persona to a "T". The Church will not tell anybody who to vote for in this election, but the members will know nonetheless. Also, and thirdly, let me tell you that Romney's claims of not being under the influence of the Mormon President are completely untrue. Were that man (presently Thomas A. Monson) to speak with his authority as a voice of God Himself, Romney would have to get down on his knees and obey without question, or else be stripped of everything he is in that Church. Anybody who is a member of that Church knows this to be true. I do not exaggerate.
Posted by Buxtehude on July 31, 2012 at 3:08 AM · Report this
Michelle Obama "splurges" on a $6,800.00 jacket AND she wants us to eat brocolli every day -- now WHO is the rich asshole?
Posted by Lunette on August 1, 2012 at 10:51 PM · Report this
Amazing. The best you've got is to call a man "overcompensating" and therefore "creepy." What laughable, steaming pieces of dung this piece and its author are.
Posted by Typical American on August 16, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this

Posted by serena1313 on August 18, 2012 at 4:50 AM · Report this

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