Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Surprise Myself

Are the very rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald contended, different from you and me? I'm not sure, but I know Mitt Romney is in that category unless you set the bar insanely high. No, that shouldn't bar him from campaigning for president. Ross Perot, Steve Forbes and John Edwards are just a few of the well-heeled who have tossed their elegant hats into the candidate ring. No doubt others will come along.
But staying with Mr. Romney, he's been described in this space before, not in especially good terms, either. He has stuck devoutly to the "Win the nomination before trying to get votes from the center" strategy. The message to the GOP faithful seems to be "I'm pretty much like these other white guys, but handsomer, more virtuous and, fer sure, way richer. I'm not only like Reagan, I'm what he aspired to be." His next play for Democratic votes will be his first, so there isn't much for a guy like me to warm up to yet, maybe ever.
Of course, there are a couple of ties I will admit to regarding the Mittster. We're both Mormons, and we both attended BYU. When I saw him get attacked in a nasty way in the Sunday paper I surprised myself by writing the paper, getting off a few shots at the syndicated columnist who was the guilty party, and defending Mitt, sort of.
What got me a little riled was, first, the columnist, who's picture made her look a little like Queen Latifa, made up a snide nickname for Romney - "Big Love" - which she then repeated 10 times in a single column! Isn't that a little crude considering there's only been one Mrs. Mitt, a standard which is useless, I suppose, for picking presidential ability but just what the Righteous Right always claim they want in a candidate.
She then faulted Mitt for not spending time on the campaign trail explaining Mormon doctrine to her satisfaction. Really? Does she make that demand of any other candidate? No, what she really wants is to see Mitt squirm trying to answer oddball questions about Mormonism from folks as adept in theology as in earthquake predicting. This from someone disinclined, I guess, to use the internet, the public library or the phone book to get answers. On top of that, the woman is syndicated from Kansas City, the one place outside of Salt Lake City almost overflowing with Mormon history sites, all with free admission, all staffed by nice older folks primed to answer questions. She even hinted that Romney's donors expected him to act as a church mouthpiece. Does she know that?
I mentioned all this in my snappy letter to our local rag, which I suppose they'll print one of these days. I guess someone has to stand up to defend even rich guys with (presumably) thick skins. I just didn't like someone ripping Romney without any real facts in hand. It's like stealing when you pretend to be a pundit, but have nothing of substance to offer. People like that just hope no one notices. Anyway, I noticed, and so while I may never hitch up on the Romney star, I guess we have enough in common that I felt like defending him - once.


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