Time to give Mitt Romney the dressage-down he so "richly" deserves. And it's not just about money. Let me count the whys we should send this smug, vapid, preppie packing: power, sex, and religion. Frankly, I don't give a damn about the dog issue, Gail Collins.
But if President Obama won't give 'em hell, then allow me.
The best that can be said about the soulless Mr. Romney is that he was better than the field of fools and rogues running in the Republican primary. At first, I was willing to take him at his word as a sensible clean Republican who meant well and dressed the part.
I thought the 2002 Winter Olympics (which he ran) came off fine except for the part when President George W. Bush opened the games, saying to all the athletes assembled: "Welcome to the greatest country in the world!" How gauche and contrary to the spirit of the moment.
But as we got to know Mitt more and more, I liked him less and less. The cruel private school "prank" that he led on a fellow teen struggling with his sexuality, attacking him and cutting off his long hair, showed a darker side. He was leader of a pack. The presidency is absolutely about character and personality, as much as it is about policy. A handsome apology becomes a man, but his ungenerous words fell flat.
A brief confession. As a liberal, I secretly liked Ronald Reagan as an individual, for he had a certain charm and knew how to tell a story. Though I deplored some of his policies (not all), I detected a heartbeat under the presidential aura he displayed like a performance artist. Romney looks the part of an American president, but he doesn't really act it. His genial side seems forced. Like the younger Bush, he may just want to be president to one-up his father George—who ran and lost. History's closet rattles with father-son rivalries that turn out tragically. Not on our time, please.
Searching through news pages, debates, live speeches, and interviews in 2012, Romney has not said a thing—and I mean not one—that shows a whit of wit, compassion, charm, or insight. Since challenging (and losing to) the late great Sen. Ted Kennedy, he's shifted his ground to antichoice with no good reason why. And how craven is it to deny your own healthcare mandate as governor because your opponent managed to make the model pass Congress to become law?
Have you no shame, sir?
Arguably, Romney has not given the electorate or the press reasons "why" for anything. His stance, when it comes to disclosing his robber baron compensation at Bain and tax returns over the years, is that we don't need to know. Nor do we have the right to question his actions.
In that sense, Romney is behaving precisely like the patriarch he is. In two other roles, he simply hands down his word as a chieftain in the Mormon Church and as a leader in corporate America. What he says goes. Impervious, he does not brook dissent or even comment. His life has been like that, always in the power position, always in authority—or being prepared at Harvard business and law schools on how to brandish and maximize his power and wealth. Let's give him this. Nobody in his generation did it better.
In San Francisco among subversive women, we had a phrase for a man like Romney: "the patriarchy." The whole system wrapped up in one man. Romney, the father of five sons, could hardly be more perfect for this dubious title.
Because of the blatantly male lay leadership structure that dominates the Mormon Church, Romney can be counted on by society's elders to keep the faith with the power distribution as is, between men and women. He is utterly capable of having a cabinet that looks like him, without missing a beat or calling up any new friends at the NAACP.
Such a sincere, lifelong Mormon in the White House would keep women the weaker sex, frozen or pushed back from workplace gains we've managed to make, thanks mostly to President Clinton. The Family and Medical Leave Act was a great thing for the women of Obama's generation. We should be worried about the retro Romney.
Romney's not just a man's man. He's a privileged white man's man with an outrageous fortune. Power, secrets, compliant women, and nothing but the best of everything else are all the entitlement.
No, he's not going to change for you and me—or the American people.