Amazingly, the Romney campaign jalopy continues to chug along. True, it's balanced on three wheels, the power steering is out, and the driver's side door won't open far enough to allow the perpetually embarrassed candidate an opportunity to bail - so it still struggles toward the finish line in Tampa with a pack of rabid dogs snarling and snapping at its bumper.
Every time poor Mitt catches a break and actually wins a caucus or a primary, somebody charges in and says something that drains the thunder from the victory. Usually, of course, it's the candidate himself who steps all over the narrative that he is trying to sell the country - the thrilling (yawn) tale of how he made a fortune on his own, how he is a magnificent manager, and how he will be the CEO that the country needs and deserves. He spoils his story by saying things that just don't connect with common people - like telling working stiffs in Michigan that his wife has Cadillacs (plural), or a crowd of NASCAR enthusiasts (the poor end of the Republican base) that he has friends who own NASCAR teams. Poor Mitt just doesn't get how to connect with anyone who makes less than seven figures.
And then those shifty Democrats dredge up stories about Romney that make him look bad (of course, that is their job) - like how his company, Bain Capital, has a history of destroying companies, laying off workers, and sending jobs overseas. Or the fact that Bain Capital and Mitt himself have banked in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands in order to deprive Uncle Sam of some of their tax burden. What a bunch of true Americans!
The Romney family is so big that its members can't help but being the source of the occasional embarrassing tidbit. Wasn't it one of his pretty sons who first told the tale of Mitt putting the family Irish Setter, Seamus, in a kennel on top of the family station when they drove off on vacation? As a dog lover, I find that to be the most troubling footnote in the Romney narrative. If he treats the family pet that way, what kind of compassion would he have for the rest of America?
The unkindest cut of all came this week just as the Mittster was basking in the victory that he purchased in Illinois. No sooner had the votes been counted and the self-congratulatory speeches given than his old jalopy blew a gasket - a big one. Romney's political opponents have long painted him as being opportunistic - a flip-flopper who has no core values and will say anything to anyone to gain political advantage. A reporter asked Romney political adviser Eric Fehrnstrom about how his candidate would go about moving back to the political center in a general election after having to adopt so many fringe (lunatic) positions in the race for the nomination.
It was an astounding moment of truth - the verification by a senior Romney adviser of what most of his opponents and much of the country had been saying all along about the candidate being ready to support any side of any issue. Eric Fehrnstrom answered the reporter's question about going from primary election mode to general election mode with this comment:
"I think you hit the reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can shake it up and start all over again."
So much for core principles. Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop!
Thank you, Eric Fehrnstrom, for speaking truth to politics!
(Special note: Mitt Romney's spurious claims about being a job-creator could actually be true in the case of Etch A Sketch. Sales of the toy are going through the roof. Little Ricky Santorum even pulled into a Toys-R-Us and bought one for himself and carries it to campaign stops like it was his personal laptop. And the Ohio Art Comapny which manufactures Etch A Sketch has reported that the price of its stock has tripled since Eric Fehrnstrom's prescient remark.)