As the old saying goes, “Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.” This truism must be Mitt Romney’s motto following a primary in which every one of his very unserious opponents— save the semi-reasonable Jon Huntsman and the compulsively bland Tim Pawlenty — gave the GOP nominee-to-be a serious scare. But Mitt survived and still waits for his elephants to get in a row.
No doubt the money is falling into Mitt’s coffers—more than $100 million in June alone. But money can’t always buy you love.
So Republicans are betting on hatred — for Obama (and taxes) — with the assumption that hate will negate the free-floating contempt most human beings experience when thinking of Mitt. In every presidential election of the past hundred years or so — with the exceptions of Nixon’s two victories — the more likable candidate has won, however.
From Massachusetts, the message is clear: The longer people know Mitt Romney, the less they like Mitt Romney—unless they’re in his will. But don’t voters — including the Republican base — want to love their candidate? Or at least want to imagine having a near-beer with him? Actually, a sizeable chunk of GOP activists would rather lose with someone they love — like Sarah Palin — than win with someone they merely tolerate — like George H.W. Bush. Will the Republican elite ever be able to tame such wayward desire?
In West Virginia last week, Speaker John Boehner was asked by a fellow Republican, “Can you make me love Mitt Romney?”
What charming response sprang from the Speaker’s lips? Well, he settled for blunt honesty. “No,” Boehner said. “Listen, we’re just politicians. I wasn’t elected to play God. The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.”
(“You probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney” — isn’t that the ChristianMingle.com tagline?)