SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
As this terrible, no-good week comes to a close for Mitt Romney and the country’s political writers scramble to pre-write their obituaries for his campaign, it is time to discuss the real reason Romney has found politicking so difficult. The man has too much of a poet’s soul for the trail.
Oh, sure, the conventional wisdom on Romney is that he’s a robot, a soulless plutocratic technocrat who can’t connect with humans. The kind of guy who doesn’t get why saying that his wife has multiple luxury vehicles might be a turnoff. But perhaps that air of disconnect he has from the common man stems not from a lack of emotional vibrancy, but from too much of it. Maybe he said “couple of Cadillacs” for the alliterative opportunity, not out of ceaseless carelessness. Like any poet’s, his head is, literally, in the clouds—as we saw yesterday, per the campaign pool report.
As Romney walked back to the plane to shake hands with the five individuals who drove vans in the motorcade, your pooler asked Romney if he was going to be campaigning a little harder from here on out.
“Ha ha. We’re in the stretch aren’t we? Look at those clouds. It’s beautiful,” he said, pointing to the sky. “Look at those things.”
A gaffe—or a Wordsworthian spot of time?
This isn’t the first time Mitt has been distracted from campaigning by nature. He is particularly obsessed with it when in his home state of Michigan, where, with a Frostian simplicity and appreciation for the American countryside, he has declared multiple times that the trees are the “right height.” It is a generous and expansive understanding of the concept of right: to declare a constantly growing object—not to mention thousands of infinitely varied permutations of said object—perfect at any given moment requires a Romantic vision of the world. One that Mitt doesn’t just limit to things above his head, either:
“The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing,” he said—nay, emoted—in Michigan. “It just feels right.”
And, of course, there was perhaps Mitt’s most poetic moment of all, the haiku fragment of his mind we were given a glimpse of over the summer when he described lemonade not in the hackneyed terms with which we usually describe it (“refreshing!” “Sweet!”) but with an elemental, incisive simplicity. “Lemon. Wet. Good,” he declared, a bold, modern, and evocative turn of phrase to rival anything William Carlos William ever wrote.
But the most compelling evidence yet that Mitt Romney has the soul of a poet? He didn’t do his taxes right.