For the first time in this Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has laid out his vision of how he sees America. Unfortunately, he did so behind closed doors and speaking to financial supporters--and he did not lay out this vision voluntarily. His secretly taped remarks have gotten the Republican party even more worried about his chances of victory. He's so damaged them and their brand that I don't think even he believes that he can win.
But Romney didn't really say anything that the Republican party hasn't said before. For all the talk about Mitt Romney being a "RINO"--a "Republican in Name Only"--he has shown himself to be not just a good Republican, but the quintessential Republican: old, wealthy, and most importantly, resentful of how American is changing. As a CEO, you can tell people what to do. Now he is asking people he has never talked to or had a relationship with for their vote--and he doesn't know how to do it.
It's clear the Republican party has completely written off the black vote in this election. I don't blame them, though I don't think it's as simple as the fact that Obama is black. (Inversely, a June Gallup poll had President Obama at 13% among Mormons.) What's interesting is the Hispanic vote. Romney said that though "we can capture women's votes, we're having a much harder time with Hispanic voters." In other words, he's not getting the support from the Hispanic community that he thinks he "deserves".
On paper, the Hispanic community should be his bread and butter. These are people who left their countries to work menial jobs in a foreign land, or whose parents came to the US in search of opportunities they did not have back home. These are entrepreneurial actions. Yet the reason why this community is not going for Romney is because the Republican party is offering them nothing new--and the only old things they're offering is hate and anger. Those are things that every human being tries to avoid as much as possible!
The Republican convention did not offer innovative new arguments to vote for Mitt Romney. Rather, they offered cute little stories--but even the stories were old. Speaker after speaker talked about their parents, and how things used to be. As charming as these fairy tales were, they were of an era when minorities were seen and not heard. Why would anyone who is black or brown hearken back to that time?
As a comic, I of course enjoyed Clint Eastwood's performance immensely. Not since the days of Herman Cain (ain't it curious how he's not being trotted out?) has a Republican performance been so mortifying and edifying. You had a rich, out-of-touch white man spouting cliches, talking to people who aren't there. That's what today's GOP is like. They are speaking to a country that no longer exists, and absolutely refusing to tailor their message to the new minority-majority America.
These are the same people who will constantly tell you that if a business does not change, it could and should go bankrupt. Laura Ingraham threw a preemptive tantrum last week, saying that the Republican party should fold if they lose the election. Wasn't that Romney's plan for GM? Didn't he say that they should declare bankruptcy, which would allow them to restructure and rebuild, and come back stronger than ever? Without a death, there can't be a resurrection. Until and unless the Republican party adapts to the times, until it recognizes the new American reality, it will become increasingly marginalized as our nation evolves.
No one can claim that Mitt Romney is unintelligent. I may not find his thinking to be particularly sophisticated, but I freely grant that he is a bright man, and an accomplished man. And his intelligence showed through in another one of his comments. Talking about his father, George Romney, Mitt said that had he "been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico." When a rich, white guy wants to be a Mexican, even for a little while, then you know that this is truly no country for old, white men.
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