Opinion: A Conservative's Advice to Mitt Romney

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 07:43 PM

Dear Mitt Romney,

I like you.  I really do.  I have my problems with your policies, I hate your Massachusetts healthcare plan and I generally find you more moderate than I would like for our Republican candidate to be, but I actually think you're a very good man, a solid person, a serious candidate, and certainly the best of the current bunch.  I voted for you in 2008 and will be voting for you again in 2012. 

But here's the thing: you are doing some things very, very wrong and because I want the candidates I vote for to win, here is my pretty simple plan for what you need to change.

1)  You're probably going to be the nominee.  You were probably going to be the nominee all along.  And even when you lost South Carolina and Minnesota and Colorado, you were still probably going to be the nominee.  I understand that somewhere deep inside you, in the place you have to keep buried because you're in the public eye, you can't believe you're running against these clowns and that they're making it a race.  I get it, I do.  I mean, Rick Santorum?  Seriously.  Maybe it hurts you that so many people were looking for an un-Romney the whole time and now they're voting for these other guys just enough to be annoying. 

But you've got to stop it with that air of inevitability you've been projecting.  It's a fine line to walk to be confident yet not too confident.  My suggestion is this: after every race you win, whether or not your opponents drop out or stay in or win a state here and there, make serious speeches.  That'll show you're the candidate without you stooping to name-checking your opponents and patronizing them by saying they're running "nice races."  I like that you often go after Obama, that's smart, but you should use the opportunity when all the cameras are on you to say serious things, things you will do when you are elected president. 

Be specific.  Be bold.  Everyone thinks you don't stand for anything.  Prove them wrong in your primary-night speeches. We're all listening- so say something already.  I got this idea while listening to the liberal writer Wayne Barrett reminisce about Obama's post-primary speeches in 2008.  I'm not saying you should start making farfetched promises to lower oceans, like Obama did to his dazzled crowds, but making substantial speeches can only help your end goal.

2) You're rich.  We know you're rich, you know you're rich.  You seem embarrassed that you were born rich.  Don't be!  We all wish we were born rich.  There is no person born poor who wishes they weren't born rich--take it from someone born poor.  It wasn't cool or glamorous. Tie your upbringing into the American dream because, newsflash, you're living it.  We all want to give our children everything but we want them to strive and work hard, to do things on their own and to be successful.  You did that!  Don't let anyone shame you about your parent's wealth. 

Americans do not hate rich people, no matter how much the Obama administration tries to make that so, we all want to be rich.  Don't shy away from it.  Also, practice the line "the president and I are both multi-millionaries" to throw around during the general election and tie it to the American dream.  Santorum, Newt and Paul don't have your kind of money but to the average American Obama's 10 million is the same as your 200 million--outside the realm of possibility for most of us but darnit if we won't try to get there with you.

3) You take a lot of flak for being robotic and then you get criticized for not being your natural self.  It's a little unfair because it does seem like your natural self is a little...robot-like.  But that's ok, that's ok, no one is expecting you to cry or anything.  What would be nice, though, is if you could share just a little about yourself.  What's your favorite music?  Do you stay up late at night refreshing Drudge Report (or Perez Hilton)?  Do you have any cute weaknesses?  Watch the Real Housewives, air-guitar to the Scorpions?  Anything? 

Everyone has something and I'd love to know what your something is.  Key point, though: don't go invent something adorable to tell us about.  We can smell fakeness.  Just look at your life and share something goofy with us.  I know it feels like you've been running for president forever, and that we know everything about you, but let me assure you we don't. You're not a robot so show us your human side.  I hate that Obama uses every major sports game to get up in our faces but the fact is I don't doubt Obama is a sports fan.  I think he's on right now hoping the Iran problem will just resolve itself.  Give us a little something.  We promise not to try to be your friend.

4) This is a hard one but it's necessary: learn to laugh at yourself.  This actually ties in to a few of the other points.  People want you to be yourself but who you are happens to be a rich guy and that makes you self-conscious which leads to you talking about multiple Cadillacs or how your friends own Nascar teams.  Try to laugh these flubs off.  One of George W. Bush's great strengths was his ability to poke fun at himself.  He turned his verbal weaknesses into comedic strength. 

You're a reserved guy and so some of my advice might be difficult for you to follow.  You're in for a tough race, not the primary but the general against an incumbent who is willing to promise anything and play any role to get elected.  If you spend this time laying down the foundation of seriousness, letting voters get to know you and generally relaxing a little bit, it'll go a long way.  I'll be rooting for you.


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Comments [5]

Marcello from Brookly

Dear Mitt,

here is a little advice from someone who is not going to vote for you.
Please read below.

Mar. 18 2012 01:27 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

I know you cannot believe you are forced to actually compete with clowns like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. But this race is nothing less than the battle for the soul of the GOP with its three major wings all well represented by its three main champions: Santorum and the religious, evangelical nuts, with their brand of anachronistic fanaticism.
Ron Paul's libertarians, with their willingness to reduce the whole of human experience to a generic and simplistic (although important...) concept of “freedom from the government” but without worrying at all about freedom from the abuses of non-government entities such as the corporations that have essentially bought our government and our democracy.
The freedom fighters and the religious nuts: the freenuts!...
And then there is you Mitt!...The champion of the big economic interest; the real elites; the ones that have always held the reins of the party, conveniently manipulating the other two groups to vote the way you needed them to; a way that preserved your privileges and economic interests.
(Continues Below)

Mar. 18 2012 01:21 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

Yes Mitt. It always comes down to the basic existential dilemma of the Republican Party: How do you cater to the interests of a very small minority of the population comprised of very rich people and corporations while needing, at the same time, a majority of the vote at the ballots?
The answer has been for years: through lies and misinformation (the war in Iraq; Obama the muslim; Obama the kenyan; the death panels etc. ...) efficiently amplified by your propaganda machine (Fox News; the editorial page of the WSJ, Rush Limbaugh etc.). Thanks to the traditional inability of your base to understand fiction from reality, your wing of the party has always been successful at getting what you needed from the freenuts at election time and then putting them back to sleep for another couple of years.
But now, unfortunately for you, it looks like things might have changed!

Following the election of Obama, your spin doctors have whipped the freenut crowds in such a frenzy that the monster they have created is looking more and more difficult to control.
People might ask you to “be specific” to “be bold” but we both know the truth: you cannot do that can you?...You cannot really afford to be yourself because your party has been dragged so much far to the right of psychiatric stability that any hint of rationality or willingness to compromise (which means to govern with the whole of the country in mind rather than only those who elect you) is seen as electoral suicide.

Mar. 18 2012 01:18 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

Also Mitt, you are rich. Everybody knows that. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with being rich, don't pretend that you are the embodiment of the “American dream” because you are not. Somebody might tell you to “tie your upbringing into the American dream because, newsflash, you're living it. We all want to give our children everything but we want them to strive and work hard, to do things on their own and to be successful. You did that! Don't let anyone shame you about your parent's wealth.”
(Continues Below)

Mar. 18 2012 01:17 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

See Mitt, I am sure you understand that to say that “we want our children to strive and work hard, to do things on their own and to be successful” in the same paragraph with “Don't let anyone shame you about your parent's wealth” is idiotic, since to be the rich and successful kid of a super-rich family is the very opposite of the American dream. In fact, it's what happens anywhere else in the world, in any banana republic where the wealth and privileges of the rich elites are passed on to their offspring.
The American dream is tightly linked to upward mobility meaning to the opportunities available to people to move from the lower rungs of the social ladder to the upper ones. And in order to do that, one needs things like good public schools making education available to everyone, not only those who can afford it. It means a health system that keeps you fit to work and live rather than one step away from financial ruin or that is a huge burden on businesses.
It means a network of public universities that give people the skills necessary to “do things on their own”.
The essence of the American dream Mitt, doesn't look at all like you. It is more like the image of a young kid half white, half black, abandoned by his father, raised by a single mother who, at times, had to rely on food stamps and who managed to put himself through school, a Ivy League university and ended up becoming (can you believe it?...) President of the United States of America!
That, Mitt, is the stuff American dreams are made of!

Mar. 18 2012 01:15 PM

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