Part III: Mitt, We Hardly Knew Ye

Mitt Romney - Caricatur

First of all, his wife probably told him to forget about it. None of the other analysts mentioned this as a possibility in the puzzling decision by Mitt Romney to announce suddenly he is taking a powder in the 2016 Republican race for the roses.

The experts were writing off the Man from Bain Capital as not a new face. On his third try, Carbon 14 was needed to determine his Use By date.

Ignored is the fact that we Republicans have a tradition of running candidates whose shelf life has expired, dating back to that fresh face Alf Landon in 1936. Was Ronald Reagan a fresh face, having already lost twice before winning in 1980? Or Dick two-time loser Nixon in 1968?

They say Mitt cashed in his chips when he saw that the smart money was going to Jeb Bush. He saw the whites of their closed checkbooks and he ran away.

It is a sad commentary where a candidate’s stand on the issues, deeply-held convictions, character and integrity matter less to bundlers than their poll numbers. Not that this is anything new. Nobody is a politician today who is so inflexible that he wont change his views.

Mitt’s precipitous decision not to go for the gold is a shame, typical of a surprisingly bungled campaign for such an old political hand.

What was he doing announcing so early, anyway?

Of course, the whole Republican ensemble—the Gang of 25— has been plagued by bad timing.

What we had been witnessing was a political phenomenon known as premature ejaculations, where a candidate in his excitement can’t wait to tell the people he is ready to answer the call to serve their country as president.

Once Jeb, the First Brother, who had been walking the ramparts in Miami night after night debating the question to be or not to be president shocked no one by deciding he wanted to be the third Bush in the White House, Mitt, or his people, hit the panic button—and missed.

It was especially painful to lose Mitt as a potential candidate this time around. He had gone to so much trouble working on his image.

The all-new, improved, more compassionate Mitt 3.0 was now portraying himself as a friend of the workingman. He understood the plight of the middle class. What this might have meant is that he shared the pain of not only multi-millionaires but ordinary average American who only had one million in the bank.

He was the best flip-flopper in the party. How could anyone equal the consummate artistry of his flexibility in not preventing him from denouncing Obamacare as the work of the devil, even though it was based on his Romneycare in Massachusetts?

None of the other candidates in the lineup of 25 could match his expertise on foreign policy, sure to be the biggest issue in the 2016 campaign, given his experiences with outsourcing at Bain Capital.

Mitt should have taken my advice and stayed out until the demolition derby of a primary campaign ended with none of the surviving seven or eight with voter likeability ratings above freezing. With the race still deadlocked, here is what I predict might have happened at the convention:

The players will go into the smoked-filled backroom. On the ninth ballot – “ Did I hear nine? Herman cain might have emerged — no, the party’s leaders in desperation will turn to Mitt Romney.

After all, Mitt had actually won in 2012, if the Chicago thugs hadn’t stolen the election for Obama, as my friends on the far right inform me.

I tell you, it’s a shame Mitt Romney bugged out. What can we possibly have to write about for the next 14 months without the master of the faux pas, the gaffe, of being out of touch with reality, making bets for a thousand instead of ten dollars without the Man from Bain Capital.



Marvin Kitman
Feb. 3, 2015

Marvin Kitman was the media critic at Newsday. His column, “The Marvin Kitman Show,” began on Dec. 7, 1969, a day that still lives in infamy, according to network executives. On April 1, 2005, he stepped down from his position of power. As he explained, “Newsday gave me a tryout, and after 35 years we decided it wasn’t working out.” He is the author of nine books.