Romney wasn't always this way. In the first part of the candidacy process, as he made his early case for his cause, he was quite the lively contender. He was also highly dishonest, as his fellow contenders were quite happy to tell you, and flip-flopped so many times you'd think he was the world's first self-turning pancake.
(And I think the fine makers of Etch-A-Sketch were pleased as punch to have the world at large discover that, yes, they still make them.)
But then, as time went on, something strange happened. The light started going out of his eyes. His debating skills became less sharp, less deadly, and soon only his own, negative ads were the only things that had any teeth. He suddenly seemed content to coast, rather than run.
And now? Well, you watched the speech. You saw how he was, how he looked at people, how he moved. Is this the proper way for a winner to behave?
Somehow, I don't think so.
So what's changed, then? What could have made him go from wanting this badly enough to devote time, effort, and a whole lot of money (and self respect) to this goal to just sort of flying on auto-pilot?
The bottom line is this: if Mitt Romney, by some dark miracle, wins this election and becomes the President of the United States of America, I believe it will be because the voters wanted it, and not him.
I do not think he wants to be in the position he is in, right now -- going up against Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States. I believe that his is an accidental candidacy, bourne upon the tides of strange luck and stranger politics. And I think that it's fairly clear that he would like nothing more than to beach his craft and swim for shore than endure the rough waters ahead.
But it's too late for that, now. Much, much too late.
For an explanation, let's start at the beginning, at part the first.
You know the story of Romney by now: rich kid with well-moneyed, political family; gets into business himself, does very well; goes into politics, does alright for a time, and then gets out to go make more money.
His detractors talk about him having a silver spoon up his ass, and maybe they're right. But I think that it goes deeper than that.
You see, not everything in Romney's life was simply handed to him. He has worked for the things in his life. He has had to persevere and get through the day, just like the rest of us. It's just that his level of "rock bottom," which we all seek to avoid, is much higher than ours may ever be.
(And, I suppose, if things really went pear-shaped, he could ask dad for some bucks. Isn't that what your folks are for?)
But, much as Conservative pot-stirrer (and inveterate gobbledygook-peddler) Dinesh D'Souza would like us to believe that President Obama has the tribal ghost of his father hanging over his shoulder, and somehow infecting his every thought with anti-colonialist socialism, it seems clear that Romney has a similar ghost over his head. That would be the ghost of his father, ever lurking nearby to remind those who question Mitt's ideas or qualifications that he is THE SON OF GOVERNOR GEORGE W. ROMNEY, BY GOD, and that they should treat him accordingly.
So is it any wonder that good opportunities and things sort of leaped into his path, grabbed hold of him, and didn't let him go? Is it any wonder he got academic and business opportunities he might not have otherwise gotten?