JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Mitt Romney’s biggest problem

Mitt Romney has a resume. A pretty impressive resume. He was the governor of a large state, and worked pretty well with both parties. He took over an Olympics and handled it smoothly. He has decades of business experience and (whether the actual results are good or bad) can talk about experience Barack Obama never had.

And yet …

Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is a huge one: Insincerity. I don’t know if, literally, Romney is an insincere human being. But he certainly comes off as one—to Republicans, to Democrats, to my dog, Norma, who stops wagging her tail whenever Romney appears on our television. He just lacks a certain … something; that “I care about you”-ness that most presidents either have or pretend to have. I’ve never been one to praise George W. Bush, but he undoubtably had it. He looked at people, and as they spoke he seemed to genuinely care. Bill Clinton was another master of the trade. And while Obama is less warm and cuddly than his immediate predecessors, his ear is certainly not made of tin.

Romney has a tin ear. And a plastic smile. And hair that never moves. Were any other candidate to spew the moronic, “I’m not worried about the poor” line, it would be used, then forgotten. But Romney genuinely seems disinterested in their plight. Hell, in anyone’s plight who makes less than $5 mill annually. The GOP likes to compare all their candidates to Ronald Reagan and, indeed, Romney bears a certain resemblance to No. 40. But Reagan—again, not a man I particularly admire—made people feel good. And empowered. And strong. And confident. And rugged.

Romney doesn’t.

And, I suspect, never will.

PS: One more thing: Mitt Romney ran for governor on a pro-choice platform. Now he’s saying Komen shouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood. He is a staggeringly unprincipled man.