Mitt Romney’s candidacy has suffered from the perception that he is not a man of the common people. His favorability ratings have been restrained by the belief that his privileged upbringing has shielded him from the everyday experiences that all of us Joe the Plumbers out here in the Real World have suffered. I, for one, thought he should be cut some slack.
After all, George H.W. Bush didn’t know the price of a gallon of milk, and why would he? He was a Congressman, head of the CIA, and a diplomat. His resume mattered more to me than his grocery shopping expertise. Obama likes fancy lettuce. So what? He graduated Harvard Law. I accept that he runs in different economic and gastrointestinal circles than I do. He’s entitled. I don’t want to elect a person just like me. I’d like someone smarter, as I am sure my readership would as well.
Romney is wealth. Congratulations. If he wasn’t, he could even consider a run at the White House. If you are wealthy, I will assume that you do not do your own laundry, take out your own garbage, or mow your own lawn. If you were wealthy, would you?
Last night during what we hope was the final GOP debate of the season, however, he allowed his elitism to slip through his manicured facade in a manner that that I consider unforgivable. It was a folly that truly separates him from middle class America. He tried to pretend to be a man of the people, but erred so egregiously that he only managed to reinforce the perception that he is a wealthy hipster doofus shamelessly pandering to the 99%.
He misquoted George Costanza.
At the beginning of the Arizona candidate debate, when the audience began clapping during his introduction, Romney quipped, “As George Costanza would say: When they’re applauding, stop.”
No, Mitt, that is NOT what George Costanza would say, and he never did. Mitt, I think you were reaching a line from the classic Seinfeld episode 172 (The Burning), when Jerry preached leaving the room on a high note. Yes, in that episode George left a business meeting at Kruger’s Industrial Smoothing after telling a particularly well-received joke. I believe what he said was closer to, “Alright! I’m outta here!” as he exited the scene. All you did was reinforce the conventional wisdom that severe conservatives lack a sense of humor (which is different than saying that they aren’t funny – I think they are hilarious. I laugh at them as often as I can).
I watched Seinfeld. I considered myself a fan of Seinfeld. Mr. Romney, you’re no fan of Seinfeld.
I would have much preferred, and been more open to your candidacy, had you worked this Elaine/Puddy dialogue from the same episode into the debate last night:
Elaine: Do you believe in God?
David Puddy: Yeah...
Elaine: Is it a problem for you that I'm not religious?
David Puddy: No.
Elaine: Why not?
David Puddy: I'm not the one going to hell.
Now THAT would have humanized you to us envious lowlifes in the 99%, and it would have been safer than reliving the Kramer/Mickey exchange about pretending to have gonorrhea, also from episode 172. STDs may sell to the base, but the middle class independent voters will not be amused.
You could have explained your "position evolutions" by pleading ignorance, much like Costanza in Episode 29:
Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.
Next time you want to pretend to be a student of pop culture, memorize your lines. In fact, you should be using this Costanza classic in your stump speech. It is much closer to accurately defining you to the electorate:
“It’s not a lie, if you believe it.” George, Episode 102, "The Beard"