The Democrats won big in the Iowa GOP contest, far bigger than Romney with his pitiful 8 vote margin. They won because the result not only shows the deep split in the GOP but because it trumpets how weak a candidate Mitt Romney is.
Mitt Romney and his super-pac spent over $10 million in Iowa, and what did he get? Six less votes than he got in 2008! Six votes LESS!
With a failure like that, Romney might just as well have stayed home and mailed in his campaign. His pathetic showing in Iowa is topped only by Rudy Guiliani's spending $40 million in Florida's primary in 2008 and getting one delegate.
The only pickup for Romney in Iowa is challenger Rick Santorum, who might give him real trouble in South Carolina's fast-approaching primary. If Santorum lasts long enough. With GOP candidates rising and falling every few minutes, will Santorum last? If he can make it to South Carolina, perhaps the evangelical churches can provide the campaign organization he presently lacks. But what happens to him in Florida and the other states after that? Are there mega churches everywhere waiting to volunteer for Santorum? And will Romney unleash his well-financed attack dogs on the sweater-vested, 1930s-looking college boy Santorum, who makes people weep with stories of his dead child. (I lost a son, and I would NEVER publicly exploit that boy's death the way Santorum does the death of his baby. Whatever happened to dignity and respect for one's dead?)
Santorum aside (and that's where he belongs), one things is certainly clear.
Voters don't like Romney. They just don't like him.
Even his own party members don't like him. Four years ago, 75% of Iowa's GOP voters rejected him. After four more years of his campaign in Iowa, 75% of his fellow GOP still don't like him. Six voters in Iowa liked him even less this time around..
Sure. the talking heads will tell you it's because the real hard-core, far-right conservatives don't trust his political flip-flopping. But it's more than that.
He's a jerk.
How much of a jerk? Let me count the ways:
1. He's the kid on the playground who stands on the sidelines and begs and pleads to be let in on the game. His whole being is pleading: stance and face and voice and gestures. "Come on, you guys! It's MY ball! How come I can't play?" You remember that kid? In my second grade class it was a kid named Norman, who was so clean and wore a jacket with a velvet collar. We couldn't stand him! Americans don't want would-be "leaders" who PLEAD with us, for gosh sakes! Romney couldn't lead a dog on a leash. "Come on, doggie. PLEASE!" (Again, whatever happened to dignity?)
2. He's a twit. Remember the Monty Python "Twit Contest"? Oh, yeah! He could take first place in that contest easily.
3. He's so patently insincere. He's trying sooo hard to look like a regular guy that he's now wearing jeans. Wearing jeans? Really? Has no one in his entourage the guts to tell him that men of a certain age and heft through the middle should not wear jeans? Not ever. It's as off-putting as little Norman's velvet collar. Moreso. Because Norman wasn't trying to pretend he was something other than what he was: a rich spoiled brat and a snitch.
4. Romney is Howdy Doody. You're too young to remember Howdy Doody, lucky you. He was a TV puppet in the '50s who swayed from side to side, bent from the waist, and held his lower arms out just like Romney, all the while grinning a barfy big grin painted on his face just like Romney's fake smile. His mouth was exactly the same shape as Romney's! He had big freckles painted on his face, one for each state in the union. That is sooo Mitt Romney, who recited "America the Beautiful" on his last days in Iowa in lieu of saying anything that was relevant.
5. Romney is selling. He's the guy at the front door with his foot in the door. He isn't even as dignified as a used car salesman. He's selling used shoes. Try turning off the sound on your TV and just watch him. Makes you want to slam the door on his damn foot.
6. He's telling us it's nighttime in America. Not Reagan's "Morning in America". Not Kennedy's "New Frontier". He's doom and gloom. Who needs that? The apocalypse-enamored far-right already have their gleeful doom-sayers such as the two Ricks and Newt, avidly telling us how we are plunging into "decay", moral and otherwise. It's a crock, of course, but evangelicals like being terrified by their preachers and politicians. The rest of us just want to get on with the job. We're a hopeful people. If we were to ever select a National Chicken (and why not?), it would be The Little Red Hen, not Chicken Little. (Oh, hell, we can't even agree on a national flower, let alone a National Chicken! But that's another story.)
There's plenty more about Romney that's repulsive, including his politics, but that's enough for now. Since he's likely to be the GOP nominee, there will be lots of time to recite his repulsiveness in the months to come.
"Oh, no," someone says. "That's not fair! We shouldn't judge a book by its cover. What does it matter how a candidate looks or gestures?"
Plenty, kiddo. Americans are who they are. Absent a king or a queen or George Washington, they have to feel okay about their president. And Romney makes their collective gorge rise. Think about it: Would the guys at Valley Forge have stuck it out through that winter for Romney like they did for George Washington?
If you answer "yes", I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. But first, let me get Romney's foot out of your door.