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Rove Misfires, Pitting Obama Celebrity Vs. Romney Void

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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I take it back, conceding Karl Rove (a.k.a. Turd Blossom) must be smart. Didn't this PR con artist mastermind the re-election of our most illiterate, incurious, wastrel president -- whose habitual "deer facing reality" gaze let slip his opacity?   Notwithstanding, this twice-elected regime unleashed our most virulent, Constitution-bashing V.P -- still haunting us, an undying zombie from a bad horror movie.

Yes, the old man's Supreme Court iced the flunkey's first appointment, but that's no match to ripping John Kerry with this abysmal "compassionate conservative" turned botched "war president." All the impressive considering Bush-Cheney's serial albatrosses: caught defenseless by triple sneak attacks, storm-trooping us into non-9/11 wars, the Plame-Libby scandals, and incessant class warfare -- altogether a walking-talking gaffe of a presidency.  

But today Rove appears over the hill and losing his golden touch. Item, his cross-eyed Crossroads America's "personality ad war" to boost Romney against Obama.   As if Rove now cares for truth (though Obama is the world's greatest celebrity), here's the old sleazy fringe ploy: undermine your opponent's greatest strength. High risk, as Obama's personal story and likeability remain splashy virtues. By what logic does Rove's Romney, the privileged offspring of a rich auto executive turned governor, getting even richer as unapologetic corporate raider, stand against Obama's remarkable, self-made ascent? Is Romney not opposite this ex-Food Stamp, poor minority kid with single-mother, whose student loan debt followed him for decades -- all without a sugar daddy?

Rove must figure if he can't win on policy or sound bites, try the failed '08 McCain ploy: Obama's nothing more than ambitious "celebrity." As if that's a bad thing in a culture obsessed with celebrity, equating fame with moral virtue, however facts defy this linkage.   What's Rove thinking, since in any personality sweepstakes Romney measures a -20 (on a scale of 10)? "The least interesting person in the world," quips Bill Maher, so boring he's what "Ambien takes when it can't sleep." If ambushing Obama celebrity is the best shot from the rightwing smear machine, think 2016.

Vulture Capitalists as Bore

Not only does Romney crow about triumphant exploits as "vulture capitalist" (thanks, Rick Perry), neither his treasure trove, nor advisers can polish his persistent, lackluster image.  He escaped his primary siege as the scaliest, phoniest, most fabricated non-entity in memory.  T hus, his incredibly low 34% national approval rating, with only 62% GOP favorability. Unlike Gingrich or Santorum, Romney's congenital, off-key mendacity doesn't make him compelling, a double loss for lying exacts a price. How incredible all the king's men can't transmute this Humpty Dumpty into a more plausible phony. Romney is the Tin Man without a heart yet whose insides are now stuffed full of his own blatant flip-flops. Nature may abhor a vacuum, but better politicians fill in such gaps.

Say what you will about W.'s psychic bottom-feeding, the primitive selling "the only thing to fear IS fear itself," yet he had an identifiable, if coarse personality. Think prodigal ferret on the way home, crashing the family car as he gets ambushed by believing his own B.S. Though both fronted for a dreadfully cynical regime, Rove sustained W.'s image as just plain folks, making him, like moronic Joe the Plummer, a guy Tea Party morons favor.

So, if persona now decides all, is not Rove's weird message that Romney's "impossible-to-read, whiter and weirder-than-thou" personality can outshine Obama's popularity? Even Republicans don't buy that this Robot's ever-complaint, poll-driven mask shows leadership or character, only that he could defeat the WH devil. Further, aside from losing to both Ted Kennedy and that fraudulent maverick John McCain, what makes this thinly-resumed, one-term governor anything more than a "celebrity Republican" cartoon?   Unemployed since 2007, except for failed presidential runs, Romney boasts no federal or Washington experience, actually less qualified than Obama at inauguration.   Obama's resume, after all, boasted years as a political mediocrity.

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What further strikes me is how Rove makes Obama hipper than in real life, when he stumbles over words or dumps more fudged reversals. Hardly "cool" to the left, yet Rove magically portrays this evasive compromiser as stylish man about town worth having a beer with (as pictured). If "mere politician" is the crowning career put-down, then elevation to the world's greatest celebrity is a stirring endorsement.   Maybe secretly Rove wants Romney blasted, prepping 2016 for the next Bush. Okay, he's not dumb.  

Romney's V.P. Puzzle

Because Romney the 90 lb. weakling lacks charisma, experience, and ideas, his V.P. pick is especially daunting: finding someone respectable who's strong enough to help yet won't  make Mitt look even duller, richer, more out of touch, or less savvy. What decent V.P.'s resume wouldn't shrink Mitt's veneer? We're talking Herman Cain, though with less personality as circus hawker. Forget GOP primary numbskulls: all are more experienced and/or far more ideologically consistent. That leaves guys with no more magnetism than Mitch Daniels, Rob Portman, or Paul Ryan.   Scratch vile Joe the Plummer or any top female -- too lively.

So I don't get it, setting Mr. Presidential Personality against Mr. Rich-Remote Capitalist whose scary emptiness would double down W.'s reign, a hollowed-out hustler up against the world's most famous, celebrated hustler (pace Bill Clinton, now BO ally). Clearly, Romney's forte is unscrupulous business know-how, whose greater flip-floppery could well surpass Obama's devious "pragmatism." I begin to see Rove's quandary.

All in all, Romney works as political vampire, the bloodless fiend who gets vitality by predating the life force from less affluent victims. List one identifiable idea he didn't steal, or posit a core that sustains a big idea? Right, his own embarrassing state health reform? Just as vulture capitalism feeds off hemorrhaging companies, Romney campaigns like a spider, ready to pounce, anesthetize, then suck the life out of foes. So Rove is deluded in promoting this sound-bite bloodsucker against a youthful and energetic street fighter with decent footwork for his effective rope-a-dope, so far.

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Is Romney Any Body?

The "anybody but Romney" zinger now expands to a more damaging puzzle, "is Romney any body"? Is anyone truly at home, zipped or not? A personality void only magnifies his other flaws:narrow experience, none in Washington, and now cynical alignment with the reactionary New Rethugs. But Romney faces a campaigner expert at knocking off (once, more) famous, well-funded rivals. Yes, the country wouldn't mind changing horses, but not from a popular high-stepper to a mulish, out of touch tycoon with both a dog and an anger problem. Really, elect a guy whose smug advice to impoverished college students is "borrow money from your parents"? That wins over the youth and parent vote, for sure.

Finally, there remains the nagging question, exactly how weird is Romney, as with articles entitled, "Why is Mitt Romney so Incredibly Weird?" What if, as one physicist depicted the mysterious universe, Romney is not only stranger than we now imagine but stranger than we can imagine. Someone off-the-wall nutty, say, a much wealthier, more self-delusional oddball like Tricky Dick Nixon. Of course, the best thing about Romney is that his incessant gaffes guarantee he can't hide his dim light under a bushel. What and who he is, especially as desperate underdog, will soon enough emerge in the rough-and-tumble election season.  Rove better up his game or he's kaput as political genius.    


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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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