Political Animal


September 22, 2012 2:55 PM Mitt Romney: worst presidential candidate ever?

By Kathleen Geier

Well, that may be putting it too strongly, but I do believe that, on a purely personal level at least, the Mittster may well be the least appealing presidential candidate in my lifetime. He oozes insincerity, shallowness, and arrogance; those qualities would be less than awesome in any political environment, but the latter is particularly grating in an economy like this one, where so many are struggling. Worse, not only does he totally lack a common touch, he doesn’t bother to attempt it. The fake populist shtick George W. and especially George H.W. Bush indulged in could be annoying and awkward — remember pork rinds? — but I give them credit for trying. That in itself showed some humility and made them seem a little more human.

But Mittens, at this point, is beginning to emit the strong whiff of a loser. You can almost smell the blood in the water; his own staff has already started bitching to the press about turmoil within the campaign, and even his putative supporters are writing columns comparing him to Thurston Howell III. The only demographic that seems genuinely enthusiastic about the guy are the Mormons, for understandable reasons. But I think there’s an increasing sense among Republicans that they have got a gold-plated turkey on their hands. In public, most Republicans are keeping their counsel for now, but once the election returns are in, I strongly suspect the knives will be out.

Years from now, if people want to understand just what was so awful about MItt Romney, the film below (H/T: Melissa McEwan) would not be a bad place to start. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it; as McEwan says, the man is a social trainwreck. A fun drinking game would be to watch the video and take a belt whenever he unknowingly insults someone. Keep in mind that the YouTube below was released in early 2012, so it misses such golden moments from the Mittens highlights reel as “I like to fire people,” gratuitously insulting the cookie maker, trashing the Brits during his alleged “charm offensive” at the London Olympics, his cheap shots at the Obama administration during the recent crisis in the MIddle East, and, last but not least, his infamous remarks about 47% of Americans being moochers and looters who are not “entitled” to food. Enjoy!

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • dalloway on September 22, 2012 3:59 PM:

    Incompetent, insincere AND unlikeable! Congratulations, Republicans, you've hit the Trifecta with Mitt Romney!

  • Cranky Observer on September 22, 2012 4:17 PM:

    = = = and even his putative supporters are writing columns comparing him to Thurston Howell III. = = =

    I think that's a little unfair to Thurston Howell. He was an entitled jerk, but he and Lovey participated in the life of the island and Thurston wasn't above rolling up his sleeves and doing some real work when the situation demanded it.


    Open cedolso - 1st try

  • Bo on September 22, 2012 4:20 PM:

    The knives will definitely be out for The MittWit after he loses the election -- some may even be thrown at Boy Math-Whiz Ryan unless he "goes rogue" between now and then.
    The greater irony about the rMoney/rAyn ticket, though, is that it is the natural product of a broken national political party that has "gone rogue" by pandering to the obstructionists, fundies, knee-jerk reactionaries, teabaggers and bigots rather than doing the hard work of creating, communicating and actually pursuing a moderate conservative fiscal agenda.
    If The MittWit is insincere, cynical, phony and incompetent, it is primarily because he is a direct reflection of the party that nominated him.

  • Ronald on September 22, 2012 4:26 PM:

    What is even more shocking in some ways is that _he was the best the Republicans had to offer_!
    Pawlenty? Perry? Gingrich?? Cain???

  • Matt on September 22, 2012 4:33 PM:

    The fake populist shtick George W. and especially George H.W. Bush indulged in could be annoying and awkward — remember pork rinds? — but I give them credit for trying.

    It was infuriating BECAUSE it worked. (And at least in the case of Poppy, it worked because people gave him credit for trying.)

    As bad as they were, the worst you could say about the Bushes in terms of their attitude towards the unwashed masses was that they didn't particularly give a damn either way. Dubya wasn't going to lift a finger to keep the Eighth Ward from drowning, but its very existence wasn't eating at him, either. And at times, you could tell they were genuinely charmed by the shenanigans that the natives got up to sometimes.

    Romney suffers his encounters with the hoi polloi like the Queen of England sitting through a recital of fourth-graders telling their favorite fart jokes. You don't get credit for trying if you can't hide your disgust at having to do so in the first place.

    To me, the real tell on that hidden camera tape is how relaxed and personable Romney sounds. He's got a hell of a lot of charisma in boardroom settings--you can see why his inner circle of millionaires thought he'd be the best choice to neutralize Obama. Oh well.

  • Rick B on September 22, 2012 4:35 PM:

    "A fun drinking game would be ..."

    One reason Mitt is unlikeable is that he has no concept of what it means to have a fun drinking game. This Guy is simply not an American! He doesn't even have a clue! He'd rather convert us all to Mormonism then figure out what we care about.

    It's not his religion I object to. It's his belief that I need to adopt his religion. I'm one of the people he will reject, and I damned sure don't want a President who thinks I should be "rejected."

  • wheresthebeef on September 22, 2012 4:38 PM:

    Way, way, waaaay down inside I'm actually starting to feel a little sorry for Mittens. I know that he's a souless twit, a despicable panderer, a serial liar, and a hypocritical, unrelatable and unlovable piece of shit...but, looking into his eyes, don't you get the sense that he knows it, too?

  • RepublicanPointOfView on September 22, 2012 4:48 PM:

    Too bad you peon classes will never be able to see how relaxed, charming, and humorous Mitt Romney is when he is among his peers.

    Mitt has a great sense of humor and is a great joke teller. For example, one of his best jokes is:

    "After I take the oath of office on January 20th of next year, my family and I will move into the White House on the 3rd of February. The reason there will be a two week delay is that I have been told that it will take a full two weeks to defumigate the building and repaint it white again."

    Mitt had a great standup comedy routine that in November of 2008 included "Can you believe that OUR country is letting a black man become the president? My, how time flies. Talk about forced integration. It has now become 30 years since we Mormons had to stop calling them 'mud people' and had to start letting them into our Mormon Temples."

  • c u n d gulag on September 22, 2012 4:50 PM:

    Almost anyone sane would have looked like a giant compared to the other dwarves and feckin' idjit's vying for the candidacy from the Republican side.

    And out of the grifters, certifiable loons, religious maniac's, and grifters, one sociopathic man came out of the Conservative mental fog and mist intact - Mitt Romney.

    And he had to spend a fortune to win it!

    And still, "the base" hates him with a passion that's only red-hot, compared with the white-hot hatred of that Nigrah President.

    If Obama was a white man with a "normal" American name, this election would be a blow-out along the lines of LBJ in '64 and Reagan in '84.

    Mitt Romney, the CEO, and alleged grand master of business and economics, that the Republicans have as their default Presidential candidate, has proved to be an aweful manager, and about an inept a CEO as one could find who doesn't get Federal bail-out money to save his sorry ass.

    He won, because it was, "Money, tag, you're Mitt!"
    Unfortunately for him, the rest of the nation isn't totally wired into FOX "News" and right-wing talk radio, where his VP is the REAL KING!

    And, sadly for the Ryan, this election will taint his brand.
    It will take a lot of effort to wash that Romney stink off of him in the coming Presidential elections - which is where his dreams lie - almost as much as he lies.

    Mitt Romney's campaign, make the any really horrible Democratic Presidential campaigns look like FDR's and LBJ's.

    So, congratulations on Mitt, your default CEO - now try to sell him as the POTUS!

  • Rick B on September 22, 2012 4:51 PM:


    You're right. Mitt was the very best the wealthy Republican funders were willing to allow to run for the Presidential nomination.

    Almost all of the discussion of the Republicans is about the Republican voters who are allowed to speak to the media. The money Republicans and the evangelicals simply ignore the more sensible traditional Republicans. Those people seem to have no effect at all on who the party nominated and elects these days. I still know of some of them, and they accept the evangelicals, money Republicans and tea bagging Koch acolytes who direct their party.

    The sensible Republicans are disinterested in the inheritance tax, for example. That is a Scaife/Koch/Prince/etc issue which the politicians are catering to.

    The funders are after power and for the most part don't care what happens to the society as long as they get control of the economics. The evangelicals want to change the society and they want the power to control the police and justice departments. The rest of us want a society and economy that works.

  • Rick B on September 22, 2012 4:56 PM:

    @wheresthebeef 4:38 PM

    Have you considered a career as a social worker? We need more like you. But the sympathy for the individual needs to be balanced against the advocacy for those who really need help.

    The wealthy have to power to get their own help. Don't let the sympathy for the failed individual blur who really needs help.

  • Just Guessing on September 22, 2012 5:07 PM:

    @wheresthebeef - I'm actually starting to feel a little sorry for Mittens.

    I have no sympathy for him at all because of the hurt and pain he has caused so many other people throughout his life. The situation he now finds himself is a small but fitting punishment for his unbelievable arrogance, dishonesty and greed. Fuck him.

  • gregor on September 22, 2012 5:08 PM:

    Where did the vaginas go?

    Who cares for mittens when there are vaginas?

  • Rick B on September 22, 2012 5:14 PM:

    @c u n d gulag 4:50 PM

    My suspicion is that the wealthy funders of the conservative Republican Party funded the crazy-clown-candidates in order to trap Mitt into committing to the ideology they wanted. It was also a test of whether he could possibly get the unified Republicans to vote for him. G. W. Bush passed this latter test first, and was one of the money Republicans.

    None of the clowns was going to win the primary. They were all in the contest either because of the money they had access to (Perry and also Gingrich and Cain) or because they represented the evangelicals (Bachman, Santorum.) It was Mitt's to lose and he didn't. But the minority Republicans were sucked in and given the feeling they had a chance. The Ron Paul Republicans were the only ones not similarly suckered into supporting the national party. Even they were given the clear understanding that they had no other place to go.

    It was a near thing, though, and Mitt only won because he had no real competition.

  • N.Wells on September 22, 2012 5:14 PM:

    "Romney suffers his encounters with the hoi polloi like the Queen of England sitting through a recital of fourth-graders telling their favorite fart jokes."

    Matt, you deserve an award for that image.

    More broadly, Nixon, Reagan, Dole, W, and McCain were all horrible candidates who (except Dole) had tremendous trouble with the truth. Bob Dole simply made Kansas dirt look exciting by comparison.

  • Mudge on September 22, 2012 5:17 PM:

    I just read Richard White's Railroaded, about transcontinental railroads. One of the main subjects is Charles Francis Adams (1835-1915), grandson and great grandson of the presidents Adams. He was president of the Union Pacific Railroad from 1884 to 1890. White notes that Adams says in his autobiography,

    "..business success-money getting...comes from a relatively low instinct. Certainly, so far as my observation goes, it is rarely met within combination with the finer or more interesting traits of character. I have known, and known tolerably well, a good many "successful" men-"big" financially-men famous during the last half century; and a less interesting crowd I do not care to encounter. Not one that I have ever known would I care to meet again, either in this world or the next; nor is one of them associated in my mind with the idea of humor, thought or refinement. A set of mere money-getters and traders, they were essentially unattractive and uninteresting."

    Remind you of anyone?

  • castanea on September 22, 2012 5:17 PM:

    I do not mean to paint all members of the LDS church with the same brush, but I will say that after pulling three tours behind the Zion Curtain, Mitt's awkward kind of humor is not all that uncommon among a certain sort of Mormon.

    Whether it comes from the social isolation of interacting only with your fellow Mormons, or whether it comes from being in a very male-dominated society and religion, I do not know. I realize that Mitt really isn't "from" Utah, but he no doubt has had enough interactions with the hierarchy of the church to absorb some of the "humor."

  • g on September 22, 2012 6:03 PM:

    Romney suffers his encounters with the hoi polloi like the Queen of England sitting through a recital of fourth-graders telling their favorite fart jokes.

    Let's be fair. I think the Queen actually would be mildly amused at such an occasion.

  • bluestatedon on September 22, 2012 6:11 PM:

    This Daily Show clip with the "Moment of Zen" tells you all you need to know about what kind of person Mitt Romney is:


  • emjayay on September 22, 2012 6:12 PM:

    Hey you people, lighten up on the Queen. She can drive a stick shift Land Rover and never tied any corgis on top.

  • bluestatedon on September 22, 2012 6:18 PM:

    By November 6, Mitt Romney will be one of the most hated and despised men in America. It's an open question whether Democrats or Republicans will hate him more.

  • Doug on September 22, 2012 6:28 PM:

    emjayjay, as an Anglophile and an appreciator of subtle wit, thank you!

  • Rick B on September 22, 2012 6:45 PM:

    castanea 5:17 PM:

    Romney is not just one of the LDS types. He is one of the direct descendants of one of their apostles. He was raised to be LDS royalty.

    Whatever is either good or bad about the individuals who belong to the Mormon Church, Romney has it in spades. He is the very essence of "Mormon." He was born and raised to be exactly that!

  • bluestatedon on September 22, 2012 6:51 PM:

    "Mitt Romney's campaign, make the any really horrible Democratic Presidential campaigns look like FDR's and LBJ's."

    I bet George McGovern is looking forward to November 6 with an unusual amount of anticipation.

  • Hue and Cry on September 22, 2012 7:47 PM:

    Absolutely the worst candidate ever. And so very tiring. His name comes up every five minutes. Everyone I know has Romney fatigue.

    And it would appear that Romney is so self-centered, to the point of not being interested in his father's advice---actually much like George W. Bush, one of four Worst Presidents Ever, according to historians...wow they have a bit in common.
    Here's what Mitt failed to take into consideration, as the nation scoffs at his "summaries of past years taxes."

    As we know, George Romney wisely observed--if releasing one's tax returns as a candidate:

    "Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much. One year could be a fluke, **perhaps done for show**, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul."

    Over the long haul indeed. The Achilles Heel of Income Taxes is what becomes of Mitt's campaign of distractions.

    Here's a gem of an article, with small excerpt:

    “...Since 'capital gains taxes' are different than 'income taxes' they don't really count towards Mitt's total, which leaves Mitt paying less than one percent in income taxes...

    ”“Ha, ha. We're in the stretch, aren't we?" Mr. Romney said before promptly changing the subject and pointing to the sky. "Look at those clouds. It's beautiful. Look at those things .”


  • rainey on September 22, 2012 8:25 PM:

    If you survey a cross section of Mormon blogs and the people who comment to them you'll see a growing sense of frustration and even disgust with both the campaign and Romney personally. Some are saying outright that they're unwilling to vote for him and some are saying he's been an embarrassment and a net negative for the church and Mormon community.

    There are always about 20% of Mormons who vote more liberally. But the willingness to be candid about the failings of a high profile Mormon is pretty atypical and even surprising given the usual eagerness to be recognized by the country at large.

  • sick -n-effin-tired on September 22, 2012 9:56 PM:

    @ Hue and Cry
    It looks like the arrogance is going to piss off even more republicans after the 60 minutes interview Sunday if the clips are any indication . They have him saying ,...there's nothing wrong with my campaign.
    Another scathing Noonan column 3...2...1 .
    I live in Redneckistan Central Florida and I see all these
    worn old cars with Romney bumper stickers . I want to pull them over and ask What...Is...Wrong..With You ?????
    Don't you know he is lying and is going to fuck you?
    Fox derangement syndrome I guess.

  • Rich on September 22, 2012 9:59 PM:

    Bad candidates--there have been many and fortunately most have lost; Mittens sharsa a few things with many of them: Romney is a nasty, wingnut version of Adlai Stevenson, a rich feckless loser. A winger version of George McGovern, who was a total disaster and failed to capitalize on his own resume (he was a war hero which would have been a good basis for effective opposition to the Vietnam War). Tom Dewey aka the little man on the wedding cake--Mitt seems like a road company, low rent version of that. Warren Harding (who actually won)--he was greedy like Mittens, had an unlikable wife and was happy to work with the corrupt, but unlike Harding, he can keep his genitalia in his pants,.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on September 22, 2012 10:55 PM:

    Way, way, waaaay down inside I'm actually starting to feel a little sorry for Mittens.

    I actually (shiver) had similar sentiments. But something always came along to cure it. Like Romney popping off yet another bald faced lie with that smirk of his. Or visualizing what hell scape this country would look like with an rMoney/rAyn administration rubber stamping every looney tunes bill that come out of that Teaparty controlled House and Corporately bought Senate. Or the next two SC justice picks throwing the court balance into "corporations are now defined as deities" territory.

    I'm over it now. F*ck him. He can't lose by enough.

  • alwaysiamcaesar on September 23, 2012 6:17 AM:

    I don't wonder that dear old Mits presidency , I bet he'll like the the sound of that , would in the main be much of a variation of the interminable descent into hell his dear old governorship was . Sorry old chap ...

  • Gov't Mule on September 23, 2012 10:16 AM:

    You have to give GWB credit as a campaigner. He was reasonably good at it — unlike his father who could not hide his patrician disdain for "those people." Bush may have played a fake Texas complete with a fake ranch and fake accent and he certainly had his own share of cringeworthy awkward moments, but compared to Romney he was a genius. Yes, Bush shared many of the same bad qualities of Romney like bullying, like having tantrums in front of low level underlings, and a penchant for saying stupid things. But nonetheless, there is something to a degree about people wanting to have a beer w/ GWB. I'm sure I could find something to talk to him that doesn't revolve around politics like baseball and it probably would be an interesting conversation. OTOH, Willard Romney makes my skin crawl and we have no common interests so I would probably get up and walk away as far as possible if he tried to approach me.

    The one thing Romney and I have in common is we both lived in Belmont. He lived there for many years, including a stint in his son Tagg's unfinished basement. I only lived there for one year in graduate school before I met my wife.

    The conversation would go something like this:

    Me: You know, I used to live in Belmont.

    WMR: Really, where did you live?

    Me: I rented half of a two-family apartment.

    WMR: Oh.

  • JM917 on September 23, 2012 1:21 PM:

    @ emjayjay:

    The Queen is also a certified auto mechanic, at least as far as vintage 1940-45 vehicles are concerned. That's the work she did during the war. I've heard that she's quite qualified to tell her chauffer why the limo isn't running properly.

  • Don Quixote on September 23, 2012 2:31 PM:

    Romney's charm offensive in London was partly successful. Though he wasn't charming, he was certainly offensive.

  • Anonymous on September 23, 2012 4:45 PM:


    NINTH Ward!

  • Dragpit on September 24, 2012 11:52 AM:

    Don't see many Romney bumper stickers here in OC, Calif. Still see almost 2004, 2008 GOP stickers. We aren't a swing state, but c'mon Mitt were a moneypot.

  • geff on September 29, 2012 11:55 AM:

    Wow. I don't think Mitt Romney would know a good laugh if it hit in the face with a cream pie. This man is so stiff someone should check his pulse.