Friday, February 3, 2012

Tone Deaf

Mitt Romney is tone deaf.  And his campaign staff is unfit to run a White Castle much less the White House.
Now that we have your attention…allow us to explain.
At the beginning of the week Mitt Romney was coming off a huge victory in Florida.  He had successfully defeated his opponents in the debates and used his vast money making machine to obliterate them in the media.  He had bounced back from his South Carolina beating and demonstrated to the country that he could go toe-to-toe with whoever stood in his way.  A huge turnaround!  He should have been basking in the afterglow; riding a wave of momentum into the next contest.
But then he said he is not concerned about the very poor. 
We’ve all seen it.  Ok, he miss spoke.  We get it.  We’ve all done it.  We all knew what he was trying to say. 
That is until he tried to walk the statement back the next day…when he did it again…repeating that he was focused on the middle class because poor people have the social safety net to take care of their needs.
And as if that is not enough damage for one week; his staff  then schedules him to fly to the capital of excess,  Las Vegas, where he accepts the endorsement of the self proclaimed King of the Rich; Mr. Donald Trump.
This tone deaf response is emblematic of a serious flaw in both the candidate and his campaign; a genuine lack of empathy with the plight of the American people.   
Throughout this campaign Mitt Romney and his staff have made a series of decisions and statements that tell us a great deal about the candidate and his organization.  Romney has made numerous “gaffs” about his wealth and his views of the poor and the middle class.  But when he makes these statements over and over again they are not gaffs. They are a reflection of who he really is and what he really believes.
The same is true of the staff.  If you have been managing an extraordinarily wealthy candidate’s campaign for six years, you know that at some point the press is going to want to examine the details of his wealth.  They are going to request his tax returns.  To be so unprepared for that question and to fumble the answer on no less than four subsequent occasions is inexcusable.  And what organization in their right mind shuttles their candidate off to Vegas of all places; to accept the endorsement of multi-millionaire Donald Trump; while being scorched in the media for lacking empathy towards the poor? 
The decision to accept Trumps’ endorsement at this particular moment was so extraordinarily out of touch with reality that the President himself sent a link to the event over his personal Twitter account with the comment:  “In case you missed it”.    
Mitt Romney is by all accounts a good family man and an incredibly successful businessman.  His campaign organization is a vast, well funded monolith staffed by energetic and committed individuals who have demonstrated and extraordinary ability to raise vast sums of money.  These are all admirable qualities and serve as a glowing testament to capitalism, free enterprise and our electoral system.
But if you want to be President you have to be more than a successful capitalist who is only comfortable among the rich.  You have to be a person who genuinely empathizes with the poor and the dwindling middle class as well.  And you have to run a campaign organization that embodies those qualities.
Mitt Romney and his campaign organization exhibit many fine qualities.  But the basic qualities necessary to hold the White House are not among them.     

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