Mitt Romney’s campaign team will go down in history as singularly incompetent. In a move that shadowed the ridiculous Paul Ryan photo op in which he showed up at a soup kitchen for the homeless after it was closed and pretended to clean dishes that were already clean, the Romney campaign has staged a photo op of its own. Via Buzzfeed:
… the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it “did donate supplies to the relief effort,” but would not specify how much it spent.)
This is not necessarily a bad thing if they hadn’t put it on display but they did, and that’s really all it was to them: a display. Concern for the millions of affected Americans was secondary to making sure the cameras had something to take a picture of. How do we know this?
But even as Romney, clad in blue jeans and rolled-up sleeves, hustled around his area of the gym, shaking hands, thanking supporters, and stacking cases of bottled water on top of each other, signs of stagecraft remained.
As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan T-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, “You need a donation to get in line!”
Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”
The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.
Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”
That’s how we know.
A real leader leads. A real leader does what they have to do regardless of the personal cost. Obama has lost some of the most precious and valuable campaign time imaginable, but that didn’t stop him from dropping every extraneous activity and going back to D.C. to do the job he was elected for. Romney “suspended” his campaign but continued to campaign anyway. The artificial nature of his “compassionate gesture” displays a lack of respect for the lives lost and the massive damage wrought. A real leader wouldn’t have cared about getting the picture; they would have cared about getting the right kind of supplies and delivering them to where they were most needed. Romney did neither.
Romney wants the power of the presidency but could care less about the people he wants to rule.