by Kevin John Sowyrda
Reporting from New Hampshire
Maybe the hair was just too pretty, the boys too pretty, the wife too pretty, the Belmont
Mc Mansion too pretty or the manse at Lake Winnepesaukah too pretty. Maybe it was hurling the dog Seamus on the station wagon roof for a half day sojourn to Ontario. And maybe it was none of the above.
Maybe voters in New, New Hampshire decided that a veteran Republican whose also a decorated veteran was a better bet than a nouveau rich Republican who just seemed too decorated.
In the end, the history book on Romney's evaporating presidential ambitions will showcase the following key chapters of discontent and old fashioned arrogance.
Chapter One - Romney should have scheduled a sit down with Dr. Phil. Broadcast on the airwaves or not, some form of intervention was required for a man who is unquestionably clinically homophobic. If you Google 'Mitt Romney Gay,' you'll get about 451,000 hits. I kid you not. Do you think the Mormon Bishop was a bit obsessed with a certain subject?
Based on empirical data from an event on January 14th, in a state with as many steepled churches as fat and happy cows, the Romney social agenda sold about as well as what the fat and happy cows leave behind in their trail. Even Governor Huckleberry Finn.....whatever.... an unabashed Baptist preacher for Christ's sake........didn't lash out at Gay people like our x-governor.
Lesson learned? When right wing social issues don't sell even in Iowa - even in Iowa - you know that political figures like Romney are as out of fashion as Greg Brady's bell bottoms.
Chapter Two - Think twice before you pick two certifiable political hacks to run your campaign. For Romney, two princes of the blood in his imperial Romanov-like family were Eric Fehrnstrom and Beth Myers; both top operatives in the campaign according to the Washington Post. The "evil twins," as one Beacon Hill Democrat used to call them, are perfectly infamous for running the Massachusetts State Treasurer's Office exactly when nine million dollars was embezzled. Fehrnstrom was the deputy treasurer at the time as was Myers the chief of staff. Of course, they were never implicated and knew nothing at all about what was going on. Really. They also knew nothing about New Hampshire.
Chapter Three - Hypocritical pontificating will get you no where. During heated debate exchanges with Senator McCain, Mitt Romney hurled insults at the senior senator regarding his authorship of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, co-written with Senator Ted Kennedy in 2005. It was only out of gentlemanly generosity that McCain didn't remind Romney that while he, McCain, was trying to address the issue of illegal aliens, Romney was employing them to cut his grass.
Chapter Four - Given his 61 years on the planet, one might have expected some semblance of consistency from the corporate chieftain who knew how to make money by buying out companies and laying off trucks loads of workers, and I don't mean illegal ones. But Romney didn't know how to make up his mind. He flipped and flopped on core public policy issues more than that fish I caught at Castle Island this summer, and it hurt him more than he was ever counting on.
Chapter Five - When searching for a political pinata to pulverize, choosing something other than your own state would be a great idea. Forget the given that Massachusetts voters were somewhat irked when the incumbent governor Romney used Massachusetts as the negative punch line when traveling to venues far from Beacon Hill. Observers from bordering New Hampshire may have also seen that routine for what it was - classless and un presidential.
Chapter Six - Never, never, never lecture a war hero on leadership. You might as well try to beat Tiger Woods in an eighteen hole golf game. Though the final Republican debate in New Hampshire was spun as Mitt's triumph, I saw it as his ultimate demise in the Granite State. After Romney sermonized about his executive leadership skills, McCain shot back with his resume of leading a jet fighter squadron; which clearly triggered sympathetic thoughts of the senator's five years in a P.O.W. camp.
And finally, this epilogue to the Mitt Romney campaign book. Though he's stubbornly not ready to throw in the towel, Mitt's starting to look wrinkled. It's sort of like his dad before him, George Romney, who ran for president in 1968 until his three month fledgling campaign folded after Romney senior claimed he had been brainwashed by the military.
Romney junior, now tired, frumpled and electorally bashed, was never himself brainwashed; just the voters who supported him who are now drifting away, having come back to their senses that McCain's the best bet for the G.O.P. in November.