Mitt Romney is just really, really awful at being a politician. Every time he opens his mouth, that silver foot keeps getting inserted sideways. Greg Sargent tags this Romney comment from this morning:
“I’m not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
“The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor,” Romney responded, after repeating that he would fix any holes in the safety net. “It’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor . . . My focus is on middle income Americans…
In any political campaign, he said, “you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich — that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor — that’s not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans.”
Pretty much everything I said yesterday about David Brooks being out of touch with Americans goes for Mitt Romney, and by a couple orders of magnitude to boot. Mitt Romney has the all the empathy of a hamster’s water bottle. The fundamental trick to being a politician is being a convincing liar at least a fraction of the time, and Romney has the distinct ability to speak about the 99% in terms of being unruly verge that needs to be trimmed. In other words, he lacks the skill to get large number of people to vote against their own-self interest because his programming keeps defaulting back to Thurston Howell III mode. Other Republicans have this ability, but the Marquis de Mittens just can’t bring himself to utter such banal chicanery (which his odd because everything else about his campaign is in fact banal chicanery, especially anything involving President Obama).
All this of course comes back to the issue that Mitt Romney’s about as approachable as a hedgehog with a migraine, and he can’t override his own instincts when it comes to dealing with “the people”. He’s never dealt with them outside of spreadsheets and statistics and it shows. It’s all numbers to the guy. And nobody, nobody believes him when he says he rich aren’t his focus.
That’s all he cares about. Everyone knows it. And yeah, we keep bringing up Mitt’s positronic brain and all, but that’s who he is, and that’s why he’s destined to lose.[UPDATE] What Steve M. said.
See? He keeps repeating it. It’s a rehearsed line. It’s a talking point he wants to take into the campaign. He wants to divide and conquer; he wants middle-class people who’ve had the rug pulled out from under them in this recession to feel that their interests are in opposition to the interests of “the very poor.” He wants them to think that President Obama is excessively concerned with “the very poor” at their expense.
Will this work? I don’t know. But it’s no slip-up. It’s no gaffe.
Every Republican has been pushing this point. The difference is Mitt is really, really bad at it.