Anyone unfortunate enough to have caught the two best known of the Republican likely or potential presidential contenders on television over the Memorial Day holiday can appreciate why the party’s rank and file as well as its establishment pine for alternatives. In an obvious attempt to “humanize” their client, Mitt Romney’s handlers allowed him to appear on NBC’s Today Show. Palin’s latest team sent her on a bus tour with no apparent purpose other than to remind her supporters that she is still around.
If the Romney that entered into millions of American living rooms courtesy Today was indeed the genuine article,”perhaps the world should be made safe for phonies. Asked why he thought he could beat Obama, Romney, once dismissed as too nice, went negative. Rather than offer his own vision of where he intended to take the country as president, the former Massachusetts governor offered a litany of the president’s failings with which none of his Republican rivals can disagree.
A probing interviewer, which Romney was spared, would have asked why Romney ran for president four years ago, when there was a Republican in the White House, whose book he confessed to reading and enjoying. The closest Romney came to offering a reason for his candidacy was a desire to get the American economy “moving again.” What lay behind that phrase, immortalized by JFK, is anyone’s guess. [See a slide show of GOP 2012 contenders.]
On matters of national security, Romney faulted Obama for lacking specificity. “He just does not have a cogent assessment of what he would do regardless of the circumstances,” Romney said. This from a man whose own credentials in this area are thinner than even the then inexperienced Obama was in 2008 and who cannot decide whether the healthcare plan he signed into law in Massachusetts was or was not a harbinger for “Obamacare,” which he wants to repeal. With Osama bin Laden no longer around to produce a video during the upcoming election, calling Obama “ineffective,” as Romney did, is a stretch. “Wrong” might be a better choice of word. (“Wrong” on Israel, “wrong” on Russia, “wrong” on China, and “wrong” on most else?) Romney was on his strongest ground the few seconds he allowed himself to opine on world affairs.
More disturbing than his own lack of specificity was Romney’s attempt to convince listeners that his reading and viewing tastes are similar to theirs. Does anyone seriously believe that this highly successful businessman product of Harvard Law and Harvard Business School spends his leisure hours wading his way through Twilight series? Or that he follows The American Idol regularly? Is that how the American people expect their president to spend his time? [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]
Some expect the president to be, if not better than they, at least better informed about he issues that confront the country than they. Candidates who think otherwise take their would be constituents for fools. And voters have a way of discerning which candidates respect their judgment and which seem as obstacles to be endured and maneuvered around on the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
To their credit, Sarah Palin’s handlers, who set her out on a “magical mystery tour” with many destinations, but no apparent purpose, made no attempt to change her image. They allowed her to demonstrate how little she has learned in the time since she ran for vice president, how little she wants to know, and how popular she remains with her supporters. [See 5 reasons Palin will the 2012 GOP nod, and 5 reasons she won't.]
She did, however, prove that she has a point when she wails about the “lame stream” media. Her tormentors whined that she would not say whether she was running for president and even more about her refusal to share her as much as her schedule with them. That, however, did not stop them from covering each and every one of her moves. Palin proved that there is no end to the humiliation they are prepared to endure in exchange for ratings. And they can count on Palin to make the most of it. [See photos of Palin and her family.]
The crescendo of Palin’s tour came when she sat down in front of the press for pizza dinner with Donald Trump. After the Palin circus left town, the man Obama aptly termed the “carnival barker” returned to the airwaves to suggest that he might still run for president, this time as an independent. Trump was more than overjoyed to announce that Palin had endorsed his China policies. [Check out editorial cartoons about Palin.]
None dared ask what became of all the people The Donald said he had sent to Hawaii in search of incriminating evidence about Obama or what they turned up. The media pretends it has forgotten the pretext upon which Trump sought to launch his last candidacy. Perhaps Palin can help them out. Rumor has it that she will take her tour to Hawaii over the July 4 holiday-perhaps with the Twilight series as plane reading.