January 9, 2012 |
If Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire and rolls to victory against a divided opposition in South Carolina, it is hard to imagine anything -- short of catching him fondling a hedge fund manager in the back seat of a Town Car - that could keep him from winning the Republican nomination. However, it's easy to envision him crippled in the general election by the pinstriped-job-killer image being created for him by Romney's Republican opponents. If they keep it up, voters will equate Romney's role at Bain Capital with George Clooney's character in the movie “Up in the Air” - the polite but cold-blooded guy in the suit who flies in to fire workers and ruin their lives.
October 4, 2012 |
I watched the Wednesday night's presidential debate with a group of wine-sipping West Coast Obama fans who were stunned by the way Mitt Romney dominated the stage. Over the 90 minutes of the debate, Romney submerged the right-wing image he had adopted in the Republican primary race and came off as a reasonable, moderate technocrat who differs with President Obama only about the means to get to the ends they both seek. For his part, Obama was pleasant and professorial, as if he were merely engaged in a ponderous academic discussion, rather than a political grudge match with enormous consequences.
October 10, 2012 |
Perhaps only a man of elastic convictions like Mitt Romney can successfully navigate the polarized and paranoid battlefield of contemporary American politics. It is no longer merely a contest of Republicans versus Democrats or red states versus blue states, it is now a confrontation between two versions of reality. Romney's latest incarnation as a relative moderate is reminiscent of the other Mormon candidate in the Republican primaries, Jon Huntsman. But the reason Romney is the nominee and Huntsman is just an occasional third-tier guest on political chat shows is that Romney was willing to bend his beliefs toward the paranoid, conspiracy-mongering right wing of his party and pretend to be one of them.
September 19, 2012 |
In the imaginary universe of Mitt Romney, the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax are loafers, shiftless bums and welfare queens who will all vote for President Obama in November. In the real world, that 47% includes the working poor, the newly unemployed, handicapped people, the elderly, veterans, 4,000 millionaires and the nation's greatest icon, the American cowboy. A few years ago, I helped move a herd of cattle with some honest-to-God cowboys on a big ranch near White Sulphur Springs, Mont.
January 19, 2012 |
Reporting from Columbia, S.C. - Newt Gingrich is surging and the guy ahead of him, Mitt Romney, as well the guy behind him, Rick Santorum, are rattled. Only days ago, Romney was sitting on a comfortable lead in South Carolina's Republican primary race. Santorum was anticipating a positive bump in his numbers, thanks to the endorsement he received from top Christian evangelical leaders and the good chance that a final, official count of votes in the Iowa caucuses would show he actually beat Romney in that state.
August 17, 2012 |
After watching the verbal contortions Mitt Romney has put himself through in the last week when speaking about Paul Ryan's budget plan, it has become impossible to take seriously anything he has to say. The soon-to-be presidential nominee of the Republican Party has praised Ryan's plan as a commendable product of the “intellectual leader” of Congress. But, after naming Ryan as his running mate and being hit by a torrent of questions about the harsh particulars of Ryan's budget, Romney and his surrogates quickly put distance between his own budget plan and that of his new political partner.
March 21, 2012 |
Tuesday night in the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney won his most convincing victory so far and demonstrated, once again, the power of money in politics. Romney's critics have carped that he has had to buy his wins; that the endless stream of negative TV ads he has been able to put up have made it an unfair contest. One of Romney's spinners had a pretty good answer to that: It's like a losing basketball team complaining how unfair it is that the guys on the other side are too tall.
August 30, 2012 |
Americans may not know Mitt Romney yet, but they do know a little more about two impressive people he has chosen to team up with at pivotal moments in his life - Ann Romney and Paul Ryan. One has been his life partner, the other will be his political partner through the 2012 campaign and, if things go well for Republicans, his partner in governing. Ann Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night was a huge hit. The candidate's wife went a long way to connect with female voters who have had serious doubts about putting her husband in the White House.
March 29, 2012 |
Mitt Romney's appearance on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" on Tuesday night was unremarkable but revealing. Since that late night in 1992 when Bill Clinton played saxophone on Arsenio Hall's program, it has become the norm for presidential candidates and even presidents to show up on these TV shows as if they are desperate actors plugging a bad movie. We have come a long way from the era when the president of the United States was held in awe, when he seemed to exist at a level that was beyond the reach of average Americans.
January 30, 2012 |
The Screen Actors Guild should have come up with a special SAG Award for the best reality TV series of the year: the Republican presidential debates. Even the colorful, quirky characters on "Boardwalk Empire" weren't as entertaining as the cast of the GOP's show. No actors in Hollywood were more adept at revising their lines and evolving their personas than Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. No screenwriter created characters more wonderfully preposterous than Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry.