It'll be tough to hear this, I know, but Mitt and Ann Romney are still confused, bitter and just plain sick-to-death over the fact that they're not in the White House right now. I mean, when you pay for something -- whether it be goods or services -- you're supposed to receive it. That's how the system works. It's certainly the way it's always worked for the Romneys in the past. It's what makes this nation great, dammit, and if you make a deal with the country that involves spending millions of dollars for the presidency of the United States, then the country reneges on that deal, what results is anarchy. How can rich people ever trust the value of their money and privilege again?
I have no doubt you've missed the Romneys since the destiny Mitt had been promised since birth slammed headlong into the ugly reality of what the American people actually wanted. If Mitt Romney's lightning-fast exile to historical oblivion shocked you, trust me, it shocked Mitt, Ann and the rest of their family even more. Ann had already decided between "Chamois" and "Chesapeake Sunset" from the Ralph Lauren paint collection for the White House Family Dining Room and had commissioned a to-scale mock-up of the bedroom closets so she'd know how best to arrange the sweater sets and magic underwear for the next four years; Mitt had booked Taylor Hicks to play the inauguration; and Tagg, I'm sure, had fully worked out the "First Son" pick-up line most likely to get him to that sweet spot between first and second base with the BYU co-eds who'd be crowding him during speaking engagements. In the end, though, all of it was for nothing -- and now the Romneys are talking about what went wrong in the weeks and months leading up to what sure as hell seems like the one and only time they've been denied something they wanted.
Unfortunately, they still have no idea. Oh, they think they know what went wrong, but the reality is that they remain entirely oblivious to the real reasons the American voters didn't choose Mitt Romney over Barack Obama last year. And the irony is, it's this arrogant bewilderment that answers the very questions they're asking about why they lost.
Yesterday, Fox News aired the first full-length interview with Mitt and Ann Romney since the pummeling Mitt took back in November. It was clear right out of the gate that Chris Wallace's sit-down would be merely the first stop on the 2013 Romney Rehabilitation Tour, a return to the public eye most Americans are waiting for with all the excited anticipation of a sequel to the Bee-Gees-and-Frampton Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. Mitt Romney's going to be making an appearance at CPAC -- seriously the last place you'd ever expect to see him, considering the way his campaign was regarded through most of the 2012 race -- and beyond that I'm sure he'll be popping up here and there, likely trying to gain some kind of foothold in Republican politics moving forward despite the fact that I can't think of one person who'd be happy to hear a word out of his mouth these days.
During the interview, Mitt Romney confessed that it "kills" him not to be sitting in the White House right now, doing the work he believes he could do to make the country better. He says that Barack Obama is still campaigning rather than governing and therefore, on issues like the sequester, he's failed the American people and is driving the political sides farther apart rather than uniting them. He admits that his infamous comments about "the 47%" damaged his campaign incalculably, but he argues that the issue wasn't that he expressed a grotesque, sneering plutocrat's vision of the country and its people but that his words were simply taken the wrong way because he was caught in an unguarded moment. "What I said is not what I believe," Romney told Wallace, unwittingly summing up exactly why voters didn't like him: because of the sheer audacity of his dishonesty and willingness to morph into anything necessary at any given moment as long as it would help him get to the White House.
Ironically given the perception of her husband as a cipher, Ann Romney claims that the problem -- the reason for the election day drubbing -- was that voters were never able to "really get to know Mitt for who he was." She also, predictably, says that she's "happy to blame the media" for supposedly casting her husband in a bad light. Ann insists that the press was always in the tank for Obama and that this opinion is "pretty universally felt."
And there's your problem tied up in a nice little bow, right there.
The Romneys see the media being worshipful of Barack Obama as a universal truth only because their universe is so incredibly small. Their entire campaign took place inside a bubble generated by Fox News and the rest of the conservative entertainment complex. In that bubble, everybody thought Barack Obama was ruining the country and it was therefore a given that he'd lose and Romney would win in November. Romney and Co. were positively shellshocked by the outcome of the race because they simply weren't living in the same reality as the rest of us. Theirs was informed by the bullshit proclamations of Dick Morris and relied upon the "unskewed"prognostications of Dean Chambers. They were happily draining a 24/7 IV drip of pure Kool-Aid.
That's not necessarily offensive, just stupid. What is offensive, though, is that to this day the Romneys refuse to accept that the American people decided what they wanted, and it just wasn't them. They can't fathom the possibility that we did know what they were all about and really didn't like it. I'm not expecting Mitt and Ann to look right into a camera and say, "Yeah, we suck; we get it." But the lack of grace, the imperiousness conveyed by a flat-out refusal to say that the voters had their say and the opposition deserves credit, and, again, the arrogant obliviousness is just mind-boggling.
And it once again reminds us how we dodged one hell of a bullet by making sure Mitt Romney will be little more than a trivial cultural footnote, rather than the historical titan he was sure he would be.