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Romney: Pullin’ a Palin?

September 20, 2012

Is Mitt Romney throwing the presidential race?

Forgive me if this sounds far-fetched.  I’ve been in a conspiracy-minded mood ever since the September 11th anniversary and Libya consulate attack.  But Romney has been saying a lot of dumb things lately–the kind of things that cause media controversy–of course that could just be because he’s dumb, but doesn’t he, this late in the game, have good enough advisers to muzzle him?  Yes, they’re statements that the Republican base agrees with–I’ll come back to that in another post or few–but he’s a general election candidate, aren’t they supposed to be trying to get the swing voters?

I’m thinking about Sarah Palin’s career.  She’s been very successful since getting plucked out of the Alaskan tundra to be McCain’s running mate–not in terms of legislative or executive power, which she didn’t want anyway, but in terms of fame and money: book sales, speaking fees, etc.  She became rich and famous by making polarizing, combative, and often stupid and untrue statements that were exactly what a certain group of people wanted to hear, that cemented the group’s loyalty to her and to each other.  Romney doesn’t need the money, but maybe he wants the adulation of a devoted conservative fan base, more than he wants to be president.  After years of being a centrist governor, making compromises that annoy everybody, and years before that at Bain Capital being hated by the workers he forced companies to lay off, who wouldn’t be?  And maybe his handlers are really the same people handling Obama and they feel that Obama puts a friendlier face on austerity and endless war.

Or maybe Romney is being way smarter than the mainstream media gives him credit for, and his statements will energize the Republican base enough to translate into victory at the polls.  Imagine what that would say about America, who we are as a country.  Now there’s an idea scarier than any conspiracy theory.

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