What’s a guy gotta do to get a little respect from the Republican party? Win an election?
It seems the GOP has turned CPAC into a litmus test for who’s their BFF (Rand Paul! Rand Paul!), who’s been uninvited to the party (Chris Christie is a doody-head!), and who’ll they’ll tolerate with an eye roll and turned back.
That’d be Mitt Romney.
In a show of blatant disrespect to the man who would be king… I mean, president, Mitt Romney found out this week what it’s like to put on a show and have no one show up with the camera. As he stepped up on the stage at CPAC to make his first extended speech since losing the election 4 1/2 months ago, nobody was watching. Well, they were watching from the audience, but no one in TV land got more than a few-minute glimpse because none of the major cable networks bothered to cover the entire speech. From The Huffington Post:
As he started speaking, both CNN and MSNBC cut to the CPAC stage. After about ten minutes or so, both moved on, with MSNBC cutting to a commercial and CNN moving to a story about the military.
Fox News was even less kind to Romney. Even though the former governor gave his first post-presidential interview to the network’s Chris Wallace, Fox News avoided the CPAC speech completely, focusing instead on a Michael Moore blog post, Benghazi and the Steubenville rape case. Anchor Megyn Kelly even spoke to radio host Lars Larson, who was being filmed from CPAC, and a blurred outline of Romney speaking could be seen in the distance of his shot.
But, of course, the speech can be found everywhere online and, once heard, it was clear the Mittster hadn’t lost his touch for silky syntax. Consider this ham-handed gem:
“Mother’s are working two jobs so their kids can have the same kind of kids other kids at school have.” [Source]
But more than style points, it was his take on what comprises the nobility of life in America that drew some ire. As he carried on from the oddly expressed line above, he said:
“Dads who don’t know what a weekend is because they’ve taken on so many jobs to make sure they can keep the house. We’re a patriotic people. The heart of America is good.” [Source]
As noted by various listeners, he seemed to be extolling the virtue of working multiple jobs, as if that status was the definition of patriotism, rather than the exhausted and inescapable demand of low wages, high expenses, and a troubled economy. Some compared this section of his speech with a memorable town hall meeting of George Bush’s back in February 5, 2005. During the exchange, a divorced woman with three adult kids, one disabled, expressed concerns to Bush about entitlement reform, mentioning how she had to work three jobs to just get by. This was met with a seemingly dense (or insensitive) response from Bush:
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
MS. MORNIN: Not much. Not much.
That’s so funny, right? One can imagine Ms. Mornin didn’t find working three jobs to be particularly funny or “fantastic” Nor, one can assume, do the generic “mothers” and “dads” Mitt Romney speaks of. The disconnect of wealthy, privileged men from the struggles of the average working American comes into high relief in moments such as these, and makes clear the perspective on what equates patriotism is very, very subjective.
Which brings us back to Fox and its cable cohorts, who didn’t seem to think Romney’s speech deserved their primetime attention. Whether one can interpret that as criticism or distain for his philosophy, or just a matter of timing and technical logistics, one thing seems undeniable: Mitt Romney’s relevance is old news.
See video of Romney’s full speech with an introduction by Governor Nikki Haley: