Mitt Romney, now we know you after a lost seven days in September which you and Ann will look back on and forever rue by the fireplace in one of your vacation compounds.
As one volunteer at the Democratic convention put it, "He's the Tin Woodman with no heart, in the Wizard of Oz." She did the stiff walk that, sure enough, captured the starched style of the man seeking a job that requires some heartfelt encounters with the American people. Starting in frigid Iowa, along a campaign trail that resembled the freakish Wizard quest, there has been precious little show of heart from a hollow man that views the presidency as his entitlement. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the enchanting tale published back in 1900, remains a rich source for American character archetypes.
The volunteer's name was Brenda Lee Monroe, a 51-year-old African-American Atlanta resident, laid off three weeks earlier from a good job managing medical records. Jobs in her field are being outsourced as far as India. Yet she was upbeat and undefeated that night in the Charlotte arena, which was hopping.
To Romney, this spirited woman of grace would be part of the 47 percent, to be exact, which are not his "job to worry about," as he callously put it in at a tony May fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. The tape of his talk to wealthy donors was released yesterday by Mother Jones magazine.
But first there was the unforgivable foul on the foreign policy front. To review: Romney didn't wait for the sun to rise, for the bodies of four countrymen to grow cold, before he started blaming and speaking way out of school on the death of the American ambassador in Libya. The tone-deaf, tin Romney stooped so low he violated the laws of decency, not just politics, with his ugly outburst. Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, said it was strange. Let's get more real: It was un-American.
Romney's rashness added to fears and whispers that if elected, he and his good buddy Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, who's hectoring President Barack Obama on Iran like a spoiled child, might just rush to judgment on bombing Iran. That would be bad, literally igniting the Middle East.
Then came the tape that revealed how Romney would govern on domestic policy, given a chance. The answer is that he'd govern only with the upper-class half in mind, those whom he presumes would vote for him.
As for the rest of us, we are not worth worrying about, he went on, as the other half that lacks a sense of responsibility and depend on the federal government for things like healthcare, housing, and food. "My job is not to worry about those people," he said with chilling candor. Well, not everyone can take care of themselves all the time. And the president is supposed to represent all of us, we the people, not to divide us from them.
Think about it. Have we heard a single nice word out of Romney since this whole thing began on an Iowa ice floe? No, I don't think so. The statement that corporations are people doesn't count. For such a high-stakes candidate, it must be hard to get good wordsmith help these days. But the real problem lies within.
Nine months is too long to hide the truth and we will soon reach that water-mark in the election cycle. Romney has not yet authentically spoken to all the American people, not a word that shows spark, compassion, wit, humanity—or a heartbeat in there. He will pay a price for that, a high price even for a rich man.