It pains me to look at Mitt Romney. It pains me to look at him more than it does to listen to the lies he tells each time he opens his mouth. It pains me because I remember Mitt's daddy. My own daddy was a lifelong Democrat, who always said that there were only two Republicans about whom he gave a tinker's damn, and that those two should wake up and realise that they were really Democrats. One of those was Nelson Rockefeller, and the other was George Romney.
That's right, Mitt's daddy, who walked out of the 1964 GOP Convention when they refused to endorse a civil rights' platform, who openly emoted in a television news interview his concerns about poverty in America, and who opined that the United States was brainwashed into getting involved in Viet Nam.
Somewhere Mitt's daddy is turning in his grave.
But it also pains me to look at and listen to Mitt's wife. Together, Mitt and Ann look like what Ken and Barbie would look like today if they were human and middle-aged. Ann Romney steps straight from the Janis Ian song about a certain type of girl who marries young and then retires.
Ann Romney did just that. She was a teenaged bride who left college before graduating with an M-R-S degree and who retired to raise five sons. I'm not denigrating that. Being a mother is hard work. But it's hard fathoming that Ann Romney was part and parcel of that generation just preceding my own, when women woke up to the fact that they needed to claim their own equality of purpose in a world ruled by the Mad Men Don Draper-types of this world.
Ann Romney was the other type of woman from that era, a type who still survives today, albeit in the ivy-covered halls of sorority houses embellished with Greek alphabet symbols and usually found on college campuses someplace in the Deep South or in Texas. She's June Cleaver's bitchier younger sister, and although it would take awhile for a man to suss her bitchiness, a woman would know what she is within minutes of meeting her - a Southern woman would identify her by sight.
Curiously, the Romney campaign have put this wife and mother front and centre in an effort to humanise the wealthy, stilted and immensely overprivileged department store mannequin whom they've chosen as their Presidential candidate. The sweet, smiling woman who bigs up Mitt's personal qualities will appeal only to women who come from social backgrounds similar to her own and who can be found in cloistered, gated, hideously white communities - women who carpool their kids to the nearest, if not the most exclusive private schools and who leave their houses for designer shopping, tennis with their cronies and associated child-ferrying activities.
In a campaign where the Republican candidate not only must capture the independent middle ground (whilst retaining the lunatic fringe Right, who have taken over the party in earnest), Romney must also hope to capture a significant portion of the African-American, Latino and women's votes in order to secure victory, and I suppose there was hope that Ann would be a boon in that direction as well.
Considering the fact that, until she hit the campaign trail, the only African-Americans and/or Latinos with whom Mrs Romney would have had any direct contact would have been those who cleaned her house or raked the lawns of however many houses the Romneys own. It's doubtful she would have made any significant inroads with those communities. However, she may resonate with a certain type of female voter, as indicated by something she said in a recent interview with CBS's conservatively-inclined Jan Crawford.
You can watch the clip below:-
Not once, but twice, Mrs Romney reiterates that from the getgo, the Obama campaign strategy, specifically, has been to "kill Romney" - or. as she interrupts to indicate, to "kill this guy." She is referring to a Politico article from August 2011, where an Obama campaign official inadvertantly referred to their assumed tactic of politically killing off Romney as a candidate.
But here you have an immaculated coiffured and coutured, blonde, impeccably and wealthy white woman alluding to the Democratic incumbent wanting, figuratively, to kill any chances her husband would have for election, and - according to the words chosen by Mrs Romney - a certain group of people, a certain group of white woman conjure pictures beyond belief; and those pictures are of the big, bad black man actually killing the noble, well-meaning white one.
The language and rhetoric used by Mrs Romney would resonate with scores of white, magnolia-scented Southern women, raised on a diet of Junior League and Gone With the Wind, where people are surreptitiously, but ceaselessly reminded that "the blacks" are just waiting for the right moment to drive it home to the white population, and this might not come a moment too soon now they've captured the White House. It's the language of fear.
However, I don't think Ann Romney meant this to be incendiary. Like Melinda Henneberger, I think such remarks show just how cossetted and clueless Ann Romney is, in general. The fact that, during the interview, her husband shared a laugh with her over her remarks, also shows how cossetted and clueless he is as well.
Some choice for a Presidential candidate, especially from a party who is striving to attract a more diverse range of people to its side. I knew what Ann Romney meant, and so did Jan Crawford; but I also knew that Ann Romney was lying about the basic meanness of the Obama campaign towards candidate Romney.
Moreover, she was abjectly lying in not only accusing the Obama campaign of criticizing her husband personally, but also accusing the President of leading the charge - something that simply isn't true. The Obama campaign have scrupulously stayed within their remit of attacking Romney's so-called achievements, politically and in the business sphere, and at every turn, they've been railed against vociferously by the Romney people for "not playing fair."
When the Democrats attack Romney the businessman for his venture capitalist past at Bain Capital, they're taken to task, not only by Republicans, but also by some of their own kind. So Romney's business achievements are off-limits, so they say. When they attack his record as governor (a precursor to what he might do once in the White House, they're screamed at as well. Off-limits, is Romney the politician. They're cleverly trying to box the Democrats in, hoping that they will come out negatively with some personal stuff with which the Republicans can play martyr - specifically white martyr.
And whilst Ann Romney's remarks, Ann Romney's lie, isn't directly attacking the President per se, it is surreptitiously suggesting, sotto voce in the mind, the idea of a black killing off a white, which would be a pretty fear-inducing thing in the minds of some Republicans.
It's the language of the thing.
But then, you have to remember, that Ann Romney's Mormon way of life didn't actually recognise African-Americans as worthy of full Mormon membership until 1978. I guess she still has a little problem admitting that the blackness of a black person's skin really isn't the mark of Cain.
Later on, Michael Eric Dyson, sitting in for Ed Schultz on Schultz's MSNBC gig, reviewed Ann Romney's remarks with a selected panel of women from the Right and the Left. The disappointing aspect of the entire segment, as well as with most of the mainstream and otherwise media (Henneberger being the exception) is that no one ever actually called what Mrs Romney said exactly what it was: a lie.
I suppose more people than Southerners live by the Gone With the Wind Bible, where a lady never tells a lie - even when she's lying.