Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Mitt Romney Became the Underdog

Conservative Republicans and the Tea Party crowd don't like Mitt Romney much. It's probably not because he is a Mormon as much as that they suspect that he lacks a spine and has no fire in his belly. He was so rich and slick that people far out on to the right feared he couldn't fight hard and dirty.

There were many challengers to the nomination, and some are still hanging around, but something funny happened on the way to forum. Having fought off the weird and the crazy, and beating Newt Gingrich in Florida, Romney doesn't look so polite and preppy anymore. He is starting to look like a candidate that might even be able to satisfy the conservative Republicans' desperate hunger for a leader with a great L. It is as if they don't trust the God they have been praying to and want a stand-in here on Earth.

In periods of chaos and dislocation, people tend to look backwards, search for a Golden Age or a Savior. That has happened over and over again in human history, often with disastrous consequences (read Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism for a chilling analysis.) Newt Gingrich fits the image of a maniac who could be really dangerous if given enough power, while Mitt Romney at the core is a pragmatic and cold businessman.

After Florida, he is starting to look like a winner. There is even something Reaganesque over him now that the battle has made us see him as an underdog, a dog that can bite.

I hope team Obama pays attention.

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