The cleverest description of Mitt Romney I’ve heard is that he reminds one of the villain in a Lifetime movie. It’s a little inaccurate, though, because for him to be a villain, he’d have to be interesting. For him to be in a television movie, he would have to be a successful actor, which he could not be with a voice that sounds like the computer-generated prompts in a corporate telephone menu.
I dwell on silly issues like these because they matter to people more than they would like to admit when it comes to voting for the person who will occupy their TV screens for the next four years. It’s like voting on a temporary member of the family who will be present when you’re sitting around the dinner table, getting ready for work, or feeding the dog. This person must wear easily.
Wearing easily will be Mitt Romney’s strength. He needs this strength because conviction, consistency, and dependability are not among ones he can claim. While his party remains indifferent and even hostile to him at the moment, he knows that his very lackluster qualities are what ultimately will endear him to GOP leaders. He does not irritate moderates, as Palin, Bachmann and Gingrich do. He is ruggedly “presidential-looking,” a term we cannot define, but which we know when we see it.
He tells people what they want to hear. This is both a blessing and a curse, for in today’s instant electronic world, what plays well with the right audience can easily be replayed by his opponents to the wrong one. He’ll have to be careful to sound mushily noncommittal and speak in meaningless platitudes, which⎯come to think of it⎯are two more of his strengths.
Wisely, Romney is amassing a fearsome war chest early in hopes of scaring off his adversaries. His final strength will rest in his being the only non-offensive candidate left standing after a long, grueling primary season. Grudgingly, and in desperation, the party will anoint him its single-combat warrior.
It will be a triumphant reaffirmation of the appeal of mediocrity.