Mitt Romney's campaign promoted the speech he gave today as his "closing argument." Underneath the fluff, that argument boils down to this: Give me the presidency or your economy gets it.
The PuffBot 3000
Romney's speech was so weighted down with pre-programmed platitudes it could've been written by a computer: Just feed in the cliches and let 'er rip.
"If you believe we can do better, if you believe America should be on a better course, if you are tired of being tired, then I ask you to vote for real change."
You mean, "change we can believe in"?
"... our campaign has gathered the strength of a movement. It's not just the size of the crowds, it's the depth of our shared conviction ... the readiness for new possibilities ... the sense that the challenges are clear and our work will soon begin."
The 2008 campaign just called. It wants its Democratic candidate back.
"This is not just about Paul and me -- it is about America."
This particular cliche usually doesn't include the word "just." I can almost picture Romney saying to his speechwriter (or "speechbot"), "Whaddya mean, not about me? Not even a little?"
"... strive even more to be worthy of the office ... to campaign as I would govern ... to speak for the aspirations of all Americans... bring people together ... big things ... common good ... 'best of America'..."
I kept waiting to see a screen pop up before my eyes: "AWAITING NEXT USER COMMAND."
Remember when Sarah Palin mocked Obama voters by asking, "How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?" Romney's "hopey-changey" message is more of the same right-wing extremism that crashed our economy once before.
I. Am. From. Your. Future.
If there was one pedal on the rhetorical organ Romney overused today it was the word "future," which left his lips nine times in today's speech. (He even used the phrase "campaign for America's future," which should disturb my colleagues to no end.) "Words are cheap," Romney also said. "A record is real."
Romney's record apparently missed today's rally.
"I built a business," said Romney, "and turned around another." But he "built" that business as a paid employee of its parent, Bain and Co., and "turned around" several others by laying off thousands of American workers -- and, at times, by choosing executives and designing payment incentives that led to rampant medical billing fraud. (See "Sick Money.")
Who was that Mitt Romney, if not the candidate on today's podium? A clone?
"I helped turn my state from deficit to surplus," said Romney, "from job losses to job growth, and from higher taxes to higher take-home pay."
There's a "Gov. Romney" in the public record, but that Romney raised fees and taxes on the middle class, left the state a billion-dollar deficit, and lagged so far behind a booming economy's job growth that Massachusetts fell from 36th to 47th place. So who was that guy?