In a campaign that’s become much more about personal attacks on the competitor than a testament to his past four years in office, Obama’s team has kept themselves busy selecting sound bites and digging through Romney’s political and business records. And, as has been noted again and again, Mitt makes it remarkably easy.
There was the leaked 47% video, the uncouth Olympic criticism, the arguably unAmerican offshore accounts. There too was Romney’s notable chameleon-like tendency to shift stances as the audience demands, swinging between far-right followers with deep pockets and the moderate values he seemed to espouse while governor of Massachusetts.
With tomorrow night’s debate quickly approaching, many Democrats confidently await the final nail in the coffin. Obama’s lead is growing, swings states are sporting a blueish hue and Mitt Romney’s mouth is expected to get him in even more trouble in front of the largest audience yet.
And though I eagerly await the reelection of Barack Obama in November, I had to laugh today thinking about how many of us rejoicing in Romney’s snafus and stumbles are more like him than we’d ever care to admit.
No, this is not a comparison drawn from political values, but, instead, from performance under pressure and from ideological evolution.
In a country that demands of its prospective politicians an almost obsessive commitment to public image, clearly defined stances and refined rhetoric (oh and good looks don’t hurt!), we find ourselves spending countless hours criticizing candidates for the very things that characterize the life of an average American citizen.
Mitt Romney told a roomful of donors things he wouldn’t want the rest of the country, let alone his detractors, hear?! I certainly wouldn’t want my friends repeating the things I’ve said out of temporary anger, or over-imagination, or the desire to be well-liked or praised for humorous musings.
And the stance shifting? Must of us enjoy the luxury of continuous exploration. My blogs of my less knowledgeable yesterdays may remain on the web, but classmates don’t use them as ammunition against the person I’ve become today.
Oh but politicians aren’t meant to be average, you say! They’re the upper crust, the top tier! They give their lives over to public service, and all the headaches that come with it. They surrender to the public eye their drunken mistakes, their unbecoming moments, that thing they said once that they always wished they could take back.
I don’t mean to downplay the things that Romney has said, or detract from the notion that to be a politician does take a special kind of person. I only want to point out that if we’re a country calling for change, we need to consider the demands we put on the people trying to bring about that change.
We need to imagine an election environment that creates a place for people like you and me, or at least for politicians who can begin to show that they ARE people like you and me, instead of some kind of alien race who finds fulfillment in immaculate stump speeches and the perfect shade of blue tie.
I can’t imagine what it will feel like to be on that stage tomorrow in Denver, and I’d like to remind you that you don’t either. So let’s listen for the message, and not the misspeaks.