June 12, 2011

Mitt Romney, the Rudy Giuliani of 2012

Before the memory fades, let’s mentally trundle back to the early summer of 2007; Hillary Clinton had a wide lead in the polls over John Edwards and that jug-eared upstart from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama; on the GOP side of the street, Rudy Giuliani was the clear favorite of Republicans, unless TV actor Fred Thompson decided to enter the race.

The cynical media successors to the Madmen that inhabit the glass-walled canyons of lower Manhattan, dispensing infotainment, gossip and opinion under the banner of ‘news’ — akin to telling us rubes with a straight face that Cheez Whiz is a healthy product of nature — and their even madder-men colleagues who toil in the shadow of Capitol Hill in Washington, had all but anointed Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as America’s Inevitable Choices for President at this time in the election cycle of 2007. Anyone with a television, access to cable news, and a strong stomach could hear the punditry burble day and night with omniscient assurance that the media-dubbed ‘America’s Mayor’ and certified Hero of 9/11 — mainly because he gave press conferences and didn’t cower in a bunker — was just so gosh-darned popular that no other candidates need apply except, maybe, Reaganesque actor Fred ‘The Craggy Gravitas of a President’ Thompson.

Some of us with the aforementioned TV, cable access, and a supply of airsickness bags, also drifted over to C-SPAN to catch the various candidates’ unfiltered speeches on the trail. This presented a different picture of Giuliani; in front of a live audience, the former mayor of New York City was sweaty, nervous, lisping and, worst of all for a politician, a clunking bore devoid of charisma. The response of the gawking civilians to his boilerplate GOP solutions stitched together by his frequent references to 9/11, as if Bush’s faltering economy could be tamed by War On Terror demagoguery, was tepid at best. At the end of Rudy’s tedious tirades, the C-SPAN cameras would draw back to reveal Giuliani’s politely-applauding potential voters as mostly unenthusiastic and weary — at least those not actually asleep on their feet. It did not take much, even for the rabble who are not on a first name basis with D.C. Insiders, to see that Rudy in the flesh, stripped of his cloak of media worship, really was the sad, awkward embodiment of Joe Biden’s later quip, “a noun, a verb and 9/11.” Our Big Media, in typical form, misdiagnosed that the election of 2008 would be all about protecting us from religion-inspired terrorists and who better to do that than a dull, peevish New Yorker who once wasted taxpayer money trying to have a painting banned because it offended his Catholic sensibilities? (Incidentally, the ‘Reaganesque’ Fred Thompson did run, wrapped like a corndog in media-conferred gravitas, and also turned into a shambling heap of sleep-inducing ho-hum, dropping out early with his numbers in the tank. Without a Hollywood script, old Fred was drowning in a sea of self-created monotony.)

Similarly, Mitt Romney is a Godsend for insomniacs. Aside from the fact that he has flip-flopped more often than a Sea World attraction, Romney on C-Span is the same unsharpened pencil he was during the 2008 primaries, with a couple of important carry-over features that even Giuliani lacked: 1.) Mitt exudes insincerity as if he had soaked in musk oil. His one-cylinder ideology could fit on the back of a cereal box with room to spare for a cartoon character and full list of polysyllabic test tube ingredients, mostly the same GOP bumper-sticker nostrums that have already brought us to the brink of disaster, but his beady-eyed lack of authenticity in delivering the goods is significant. 2.) Romney is an unabashed Mormon in a party whose primaries are greatly controlled by born-again ‘Christians’ who think Unitarians consort with the devil and Methodists are destined for hell. To some of these Christopublicans, a Mormon is as exotically evil as a Rastafarian and worthy of the same fiery fate. Since they won’t be voting for Mitt, and the Tea Partiers recoil in disgust from his Taxachussetts liberal to wingnut firebrand hypocrisy, it’s hard to see who will vote for him in the primaries.

As with Giuliani, Romney has a recognizable name, bales of money, a constituency within the Pundit Class and Power Elite, and a temporary lead in the polls, but that’s not enough to secure him the GOP nomination this year. He’s a noun, a verb and it’s time for a nap, and won’t be the Republican nominee for president in 2012.

Copyright 2011 RS Janes.

Powered by WordPress