Politicians in a media drenched age have to worry about everything but here are the two core issues. Do people know you (ID) and do they like what they know?
Mitt Romney started running for president in 2006, but he lost out to American war hero John McCain for the 2008 GOP nomination. He has not stopped running since, so he has been six years on the campaign trail. We now know so much more about Mitt Romney than we did six years ago. His ID is out there. He has told his story over and over again.
In fact, if you speak in public, as one of my old preaching professors used to say, you cannot help but tell your story. Handlers can handle you, advisors can advise you but, if you speak in public constantly, if you compare yourself to other candidates, if you try to connect with people from Fairbanks, Alaska to Miami, Florida, you will tell your story.
What has Mitt told us? Mitt thinks President Obama is a socialist who will ruin the nation, particularly for rich people, and all of Mitt's friends are rich people. President Obama picks an NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four Bracket every year. Mr. Romney talks about the NFL team owners who are his good friends and the other good friends he has who own Nascar teams.
Along the way, Mr. Romney has said he does not pay a lot of taxes, does not think $374,000 per year is a lot of money to make for speaking engagements, he likes to fire people and he is not concerned about the very poor. Mr. Romney knows the words to some songs, including the "Davy Crockett" song, which he repeated to potential voters in Tennessee, who then voted en masse for Rick Santorum, who did not know the silly song and did not claim to like "cheese grits."
So much for the common touch.
Americans know more about the Mitt Romney story that we did six years ago. Mr. Romney mandated health care when he was governer of Massachusetts and then insisted publicly the sam e standard should be applied nationally. He was proud of mandated health care. He thought President Obama derelict in his duties because he, President Obama, was not effective in mandating universal health care nationally. He really meant it.
Only he did not mean President Obama should really do it. He never said that, he said, and says pretty often now, and will get to say over and over on his way to the general election in the fall, because, all fair play ideas aside, those sneaky gnats in the Obama campaign (Running Hard Since 2006, Too) kept a copy of the USA Today Full Page Essay written by Mr. Romney (or so they say) wherein he insists President Obama must nationalize mandated universal health care, just like Mr. Romney did in Massachussetts.
In fact, those pesky pesks kept millions of copies. I think the odds are that Mr. Romney will be asked about the matter.
When he is asked about his sad medical history, he will not do well to come out with another of his ID quotes from the trail, the one wherein he calls himself "severely conservative." This panacea lasted all of the first five seconds of Sarah Palin's keynote address that night, when she said, "No, he's not."
So much for basic honesty.
What we have discerned about Mr. Romney's campaign is two-fold. He is very wealthy and he wants to be president. He never has to work againt a day in his life, but he spends his time asking for votes from people who usually would get no closer to him than his second body-guard. I looked for months, late at night, early in the morning, read his book, listened to some debates, hoping I could get him to bet me $10,000 that I knew his book better than he knew it, but, alas, one has to have access and I have it not.
The result of my search is singular. I have discovered Mr. Romney's motive for running. He wants to be President. This is not a crime, nor even excessively egotistical. He is uber-wealthy and he could spend his time resting from his monopolistic labors on a beach somewhere in the Islands where he keeps his sheltered billions of dollars. In the same position, I might want to be closer to my money and farther from the sweated population with their old copies of USA today and their health care worries.
Mr. Romneyf is a patrician from a family of patricians. He is a chauvinist from a long line of those. His great grandfather went to Mexico where they did not bother him with over-reaching polygamy laws. Mr. Romney is accustomed to getting his way, whether that is at an Ivy League School, in Venture Capitalism or on the campaign trail. We now know that is his ID.
Sadly, polls show the more the general populace knows about Mr. Romney, the less they like him. Now, people who intend to vote against President Obama, who simply cannot wait for the chance to vote against him, who will turn up at early voting to cast a ballot for Anyone Against Obama, will simply hold their noses and vote for Any Other Entity. There are a huge number of such persoons.
There is a large pool of people who will vote for President Obama regardless. He has not done anything to keep that bloc from voting for him. The economy is improving some from the depths of 2006-2009 and he will get some of the credit, deserved or undeserved. President Clinton got a lot of credit for the upsurge in the economy from the abyss of the long recession George I tended the economy through. President Bush I did not get the full benefit of his good works because he finally came across as the kind of patrician who could not tell you what a gallon of milk cost locally, if you recall.
Left unspoken for, so far, are those people who must decide if they like Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney. No one has yet dug up a scandalous affair against either of them, or any Nanny Problems. If scandal were to decide this election we would probably know all about it by now. There are people who do nothing but look for such things.
If their policies are not different enough to make us decide, the fact that Those Who Hate Obama will be balanced out by Those Who Will Vote for Obama Regardless, may mean this election will turn on the second electoral factor in a media driven age. That is, after you come to know the fellow's story, do you like him?
Mr. Romney may have to Out-Likable President Obama.
And that appears doubtful at this point.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.