Jewish World Review Feb 22, 2012/ 29 Shevat, 5772
Drawing Romney's big picture
By Martin Schram
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every now and then in political punditry, the best way to convey the big picture is to draw one.
And today is one of those times. Our topic: What has gone so wrong with Mitt Romney's master plan to win the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination?
Our big picture is based upon the real tale of what happened on the Romney family's 1983 automobile vacation trip from Boston to Lake Huron. Because your pundit-in-residence is artistically challenged, we're going to use only words to create our editorial cartoon.
Feel free to be a designated editorial cartoonist. Just draw by the numbers:
Step 1: Draw a cartoonish Romney family car -- better make it an SUV -- racing along a highway.
Step 2: Fill it with a cartoonish Romney family -- Mitt beaming behind the wheel; wife Ann beside him but looking beside herself with worry; the five Romney boys in the back seats, arms and legs akimbo.
Step 3: Now comes the political message: On the rooftop (where in the real tale Mitt actually strapped down the family's faithful Irish setter, Seamus, in his kennel) draw the Republican Party's elephant -- strapped down, eyes bulging with fright, trunk whipping in the wind.
Step 4: Title it "Mitt Romney's Republican Lampoon Vacation."
Because you are now reading a family newspaper, DO NOT attempt to draw the scene as it really happened, according to the Boston Globe: "But hours into the ride, Seamus apparently suffered diarrhea, which ran down the back window of the car. Romney's sons, all younger than 14, howled in disgust. Romney pulled off the road into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, and they drove on to Ontario."
No need for scatological sketches -- we get the fright of the Republican rank and file that once had high hopes. One glance at the Grand Old Party pachyderm's predicament conveys the big picture.
Increasingly, Republicans are conveying to pollsters their fear of being hijacked and hogtied atop Romney's presidential bandwagon. Romney has always made them feel ill at ease -- especially because voters sense Romney requires scripting so he can appear spontaneously at ease.
No matter how much Team Romney and his super-PAC bankrollers spend to woo voters, he has stayed relatively static in polls. Anyone who tossed a hat in the ring quickly rose to challenge him as a co-front-runner. That is, until voters saw them up close and just said no.
Now comes Rick Santorum -- yet this time something is different. Santorum can sound wacky -- even to Republicans -- when he talks about social issues. But he also conveys qualities the rest did not: steadiness and sense of self. Those make him seem rather assuring amid this whirligig campaign -- as long as no one pays close attention to anything he says about social issues. He's not just another "I'm-Not-Mitt" -- but he's also an "I'm-Not-Gingrich-Paul-Perry-Cain-Bachmann-Pawlenty." That seems reassuring.
No pundit with a pulse and no strategist with a client ever thought Santorum would actually be the GOP presidential nominee. But if he is, the only decision he'll need to make after Election Day is whether it is fashionable to wear his sweater vest inside or outside his cummerbund at President Barack Obama's 2013 inaugural ball.
That's why the latest game being played by political journalists is to look anew at all who vowed they wouldn't run for president -- and wonder: What if?
There seems to be no way a brokered GOP convention could now draft Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels or Marco Rubio to be the presidential nominee. And forget about a resurrection of John McCain -- even if someday a poll shows Americans wish they'd elected him in 2008.
Meanwhile, the economic statistics are showing improvement that Obama can say reflects his doing.
If that trend continues into the fall campaign, the Republican smart money would be wise to recall the message of our big-picture cartoon -- and invest in one final prudent political purchase: Buy a windshield wiper and install it on the rear window of Romney's Republican bandwagon. Then get ready for a rough ride along a campaign trail that once figured to be oh-so-smooth.
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