I calls ’em as I sees ’em. Exhibit A —
For those Republicans who simply can’t understand why the public has failed to embrace Mitt Romney and why President Obama continues to enjoy much higher likability ratings, I offer to you exhibit A: Romney’s answer on NBC when asked about his wife’s horse competing in the Olympics.
“I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport,” he said, preferring to not even say the word “dressage”—which is a French word meaning “training” and sometimes described as horse ballet.
“I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on,” Romney said. “She will get the chance to see it; I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”
So let me get this straight—your family has invested probably millions in dancing horses, supposedly as a way to help Ann treat her multiple sclerosis, “her horse” is going to compete in the globe’s most prestigious event, and we’re supposed to believe you don’t know anything about it? The subject never came up at the family dinner table or in the marital bedroom? Really, Mitt?
Romney’s Olympics gaffe made me think about when, campaigning in Pittsburgh, the candidate insulted a local bakery by disdaining its baked goods. “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them,” Romney said to the woman next to him. “No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery, or whatever.” …
… Or when he visited the Daytona Raceway in Florida during a rainstorm and insulted fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.” Bill O’Reilly later suggested Romney’s comment sounded “elitist,” to which Romney replied he’d just wanted to wear a “garbage bag,”
… Then there’s that bizarre interlude with black voters in Jacksonville, Fla., during the 2008 campaign, where he broke out into “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and remarked on a child’s necklace with “bling, bling, baby!” (Maybe that one doesn’t count, because it’s hard to argue Romney was sincerely courting black voters.)
This kind of behavior goes beyond just being a bit socially awkward with people outside his class. I mean, who wouldn’t know to smile and thank someone for cookies? How out of touch do you have to be to be amused by plastic rain ponchos at a sports event?
Exhibit C: And then there were the Salt Lake City Olympic medals (made in China) with Mitt’s face on them. He authorized these pins be made. Just look. It’s like he thought the Olympic games were about him.
As far as I can tell, most people associated with the Salt Lake City Olympics — henceforth the Olympics in the middle of nowhere — seem to think he did a commendable job running the games. Mitt seems to think the games proved he is, in fact, Jesus.
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney considers his management of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games as the turnaround point in his career. He even wrote a 2004 memoir entitled, “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership and the Olympic Games”.
In the book, Romney exclaims, “I led an Olympics out of the shadows of scandal” and it has been his recurrent mantra on the campaign trail for the 2012 election. Romney continuously cites his Olympic experience as a prime example of his managerial expertise and a reason he should replace Barack Obama as president. In his victory speech after the Florida primary sealing his nomination, he said, “My leadership helped save the Olympics from scandal.”
The thing is, as someone pointed out, everyone wanted the games to be successful. That might be why it was relatively easy for him to get $1.3 billion in federal dollars for the SLC games and more from the state of Utah. By contrast, in 1996, the Atlanta Summer Olympics cost U.S. taxpayers $609 million. And the summer Olympics are a much more complex affair.
What his management of the SLC games, or Bain Capital for that matter, doesn’t show us is how Mittens might deal with genuine adversity. Unlike the Olympics, in which just about everyone involved will trip all over themselves to make it work, when you are POTUS the world is full of people who want you to fail and who will stymie everything you want to do.
Which brings us back to Mitt’s reluctance to release tax returns or even provide any specifics about how he might achieve the promises he is making. It might be there really isn’t anything scandalous in those tax returns; it might be that he just doesn’t think we peasants ought to be poking our noses in his business. And it might be that he doesn’t really have any specific policy plans; he just thinks that the virtue of his awesomeness will be enough to save America. I mean, has he ever actually failed at anything, other than lose some election campaigns? One suspects he doesn’t know his own limits.
Update: Peter Ueberroth’s Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 actually made a profit. Why didn’t he run for POTUS?
Update: I also want to point out that Mittens did not say Britain is a tiny island. He said England is a tiny island. To me, this puts him in Sarah Palin “I can see Russia from my house” territory. England is not an island; it is a kingdom/principality (I’m not sure about the technical term) that is located on the island of Great Britain. Two other such governmental units located on Great Britain are Scotland and Wales. Scotland is not England. Although technically Wales was incorporated into England a few centuries ago, the Welsh do not recognize this and will tell you in no uncertain terms that Wales is not England and the Welsh are not English. And ethnic Welsh and Scots are not Anglo-Saxon; they are Celts.
I know Americans tend to use “England” and “Britain” as synonyms, but it isn’t correct, and when you are writing a book to show your understanding of world affairs it’s an unforgivable mistake, IMO.