Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Reluctant Frontrunner

It's been said that it's easy to run for President of the United States. What's difficult is stopping.

I don't think that's true of Mitt Romney.

I'm not convinced that Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts and Republican frontrunner, is all that jazzed about this whole running for president thing.

Romney speaks of his business acumen and his days in the board rooms almost wistfully, like he's thinking, "THOSE were the days!"

CEOs don't have to run for anything. They don't have to get anyone to like them. They don't have to explain themselves. They're rarely even held accountable.

All those traits, I think Mitt Romney misses very badly.

What he also misses very badly is in his attempts to orate.

It was all there for Romney on Tuesday night, to inject some passion and touch on some emotional chords. He had just won a victory in the Michigan GOP primary---his supposed "home state."

You know, the place where the trees are just the right height.

He could have, in his victory speech, waxed nostalgic and emotional and spoke of how much the win meant to him---and I don't mean in terms of delegates won.

He could have captivated his audience with words of praise for his "fellow" Michiganders, and how much he knew they'd come through for him and why he believes in Michigan and its people.




There was absolutely nothing stopping Romney from delivering such a speech. He won---maybe not by as big of a margin as hoped---and so the winner can pretty much say anything he wants. The winner will never be accused of having sour grapes.

The term "sore winner" doesn't exist, as far as I'm concerned.

But Romney didn't seize his moment. He almost raced through his speech Tuesday night, refusing to inject any dramatic pauses and eschewing voice inflection.

The speech sounded like a bad Jay Leno monologue---which I know can be considered a redundant term. If it was supposed to be a roast of President Obama, then Romney could use some pointers from Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli, et al.

Romney spoke as if he had just consumed a gallon of pure caffeine, which in addition to giving him a nervous tick, also stripped him of any human emotion.

I think Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist, put it well on MSNBC last night.

Romney, Shrum said, comes off as someone who spends his time in a Golden Tower and occasionally comes down to speak to the peasants---by reading cards that someone thrusts at him.

But, like I said, I think Romney's lack of public speaking skills are borne out of the fact that he simply doesn't like doing this.

He's not in Massachusetts anymore, Toto.

This is big time politics now. REAL campaigning. It's a grind, for sure. And it's lasting longer than he thought it would, thanks to Romney's inability to shake Rick Santorum, who's clinging to Romney's pant leg like a feisty dog.

The nomination was supposed to be mostly clinched by now. Romney didn't sign up for this kind of a fight, I don't believe. And it's showing, in the clumsy manner in which he speaks.

The line about trees being the right height in Michigan is already becoming his signature. And that's not good.

Mitt Romney is treating this presidential campaign not with passion or emotion, but with the countenance of a man trying to get through a root canal.

And yet he'll still likely win the GOP nomination, and go mano-a-mano with President Obama.

Who has the heart to tell Mitt that he ain't seen nothing yet?

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