Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News Sunday and once again showed why he was Mitt. Why he was, as the Germans might say, emptiness with nothing but whipped cream on top.
"Look, there's no question in my mind that I think I'd have been a better president than President Obama has been. No question in my mind about that," he told host Chris Wallace.
The American people disagreed, but that's another matter. In fairness to Mr Romney, no doubt anyone who runs for president believes that they'd do a better job than whoever is in the other party. Sure, there are better ways of answering the question that had been asked to him -- like, for instance, saying, "Anyone who runs for president believes that they'd do a better job than whoever is in the other party -- and whoever in his his own party is running against him" -- or even saying, "That's past, there's no need to answer it, it's meaningless." But if Mitt Romney wants to keep whining to the world that he thinks he is still the best guy for the job, hey, that's life. But it's another matter to go on and suggest about the American public, "Oh, I think they have some buyer's remorse about President Obama. I'm not sure how they feel about me. But that's kind of irrelevant."
Yes, okay, so let me get this straight: You'd be a better president. The voters have remorse about who they voted in. And you yourself have the experience to be president because you've "actually run something" -- and yet somehow after all this deep analytical insight, you're just not sure how they feel about you. And further, no matter, that's even irrelevant.
Mind you, it wasn't irrelevant when he was asked if he'd be a better president. And it's not irrelevant enough to have kept him off that very TV program. But then, I'm not sure if the answer to the harder question was, in fact, "irrelevant" or perhaps rather just...inconvenient.
Of course, Mitt Romney and "insight" might not be a combo that mixes well. After all, the least insightful answer he gave in the entire interview -- something normally hard to pick from among such a bumper crop of "least insightful" was his criticism of President Obama, saying -- "If you can't speak decisively, you can't be decisive." This from a man who set the record for unrepentant flip-flopping, as I wrote here -- from being for a woman's right to chose...to against it. From acknowledging global warming...to denying it. From being for raising the minimum wage to being against it. From having no intention of signing the tax pledge to signing it. And on and on and on.
Decisive is not a word used to described Mitt Romney's campaign for president. But then, neither was analytical.
There was a great deal other head-banging cluelessness in the interview, but addressing it all is a case of of far too much material, and way too little time. (You can read the entire transcript here.) But it's simply filled with empty platitudes like needing "to get the economy going again" (never mind that the deficit has dropped from $1.4 trillion to $514 million since President Obama took office) and needing to "understand what it takes to create jobs" (never mind that employment has plummeted 40%) and more empty generalities.
(Not to mention downright idiocies, to give him the benefit of the doubt, or outright lies, if not. Like when Mr. Romney said "We've got, what, 92 million people that have stopped looking for work, that are out of work in this country." That's horribly damning -- and more horribly and bizarrely wrong. Two totally different, conflated issues: 1) being unemployed and 2) giving up. To suggest that 92 million Americans have stopped trying to find work -- a third of the country!!!! -- is simply pure idiocy. Even the deeply conservative Heritage Foundation notes that it's 6.9 million more Americans who have stopped looking for work since the recession began in 2007 under President Bush. That number, 6.9 million, is far too many -- but overwhelming fewer than 92 million.)
So, on he goes, showing the profound lack of insight and character and ability why the American public didn't vote for him, and continuing to whine about it. Then again, none of this is new in the Republican Party. John McCain is still pissed off about losing to "That One," and making it clear to everything after six years.
When John Kerry lost his run for the presidency, he went back to the Senate, did his job, didn't whine about losing and then became Secretary of State. When Al Gore had the presidency stolen from him, he went into private life and became a multi-millionaire. When Michael Dukakis lost his run, we never much heard from him again. When Jimmy Carter lost and was voted out of office, he just started foundations to improve society, created Habitat for Humanity and won the Nobel Prize.
Republicans when they lose? They keep whining. I don't know if it's an inherent thing for conservatives to do, losing that sense of Divine Right (perhaps confusing Divine Right with "Far Right") or if it's just worse to lose to a Black man. Given their party politics and policies, it seems more of the latter, though they did try to impeach Bill Clinton when he beat them twice. (Though in fairness, Mr. Clinton was often referred to as "the first Black president," so maybe that's damning enough for the Far Right.)
Hey, y'know, you lost. Deal with it. Quite whining. If you don't like what the President of the United States is doing, how about trying to suggest other specifics of what do to do better. Unless you don't have any. Which is why you lost.
Which is relevant.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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