Thursday, December 19, 2013

New documentary confirms Mitt Romney lost 2008 election, never became president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I've never liked Mitt Romney. Well, he was okay back when he was a "moderate," back when he was Massachusetts governor, back before he decided he needed to give the far right a massive bear hug in his quest for the presidency, at least if you ignore the cruelty he inflicted while heading up Bain, but 2012 pretty much confirmed that he was, as I kept calling him, from as early as January, a privileged rich douchebag with a plutocratic sense of entitlement, the champion of the rich against the people -- and especially against the "47 percent."

But you know what? Through all that, and despite all that, he's always seemed like a fairly likeable guy. He's a plutocrat, to be sure, but all that right-wing nonsense on social and foreign policy made sense as a shameless appeal to the Republican Party's right-wing mainstream, to both the grassroots base and the movement conservatives whose support he would need to secure the nomination. No, I don't excuse him for embracing the far right, but it was always pretty clear that deep down he wasn't terribly comfortable contorting himself so shamelessly, whatever the political necessity of doing so.

In any event, he is what he is and he's largely gone from the political scene, and so it's both hard and pointless to keep up any level of vitriol against him. There's still a lot I don't like, and he's still -- and will always be -- a privileged rich douchebag, but... whatever. And yet... he is back, sort of. There's a new Netflix documentary, MITT, premiering on January 24, that looks at Romney's two White House runs, in 2008 and 2012 -- the filmmakers followed him on his campaigns for six years. Stunningly, it includes the very moment Romney realized he lost the 2008 election (among many other private and personal moments). Yes, he deserved to lose, and yes, he should have known it was coming, but one can't help but be touched by the intimate sadness of the moment. This was a man who had committed so much of his life to his quest for the presidency, and he had come so far, and so close (if not all that close, actually), and then it was over, just like that.

Anyway, it looks like an interesting film, an intimate portrait of a man who, whatever his privileges, almost made it to the very top but who, throughout, seemed to have traded in his soul, who stopped being human, in a do-whatever-it-takes effort to realize his ultimate political goal. Even if you don't like him, even if you object to everything he is and stands for -- and I object to a lot of it -- you have to admit that there's something tragic about that, and you can see it on his face when defeat finally hits him.

Here's the trailer:

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