There’s an article by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast about how the press supposedly encourages Mitt Romney to act artificial:
Romney’s story [about his father closing a factory with humorous consequences], on its face, is a parable of the frequent absurdity of politics and campaigning, which often present reality as viewed through a funhouse mirror; by telling it, Romney not only revealed his little-known sardonic side (and an appreciation of the bizarre nature of the democratic process that speaks well of his sense of perspective), but he also treated Wisconsin voters like grownups who are themselves sophisticated about that process. [Emphasis Mine.]
Predictably, the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign’s media machine pounced on the anecdote as further evidence that Romney is an out-of-touch plutocrat with zero capacity to feel the pain of laid-off autoworkers, never mind that the great majority of these particular workers, who lost their jobs in Michigan 58 years ago, are feeling no pain themselves.
Journalists, Grove complains, attacked poor Romney for this remark, their reportage on the incident being more or less in line with the Democrats’ line on it. This, he argues, will in turn make Romney even more artificial.
In a way, both sides are right here. It is true that this was an instance of Romney being less artificial, but it’s also very telling that, when Romney is kicking back and telling a funny anecdote, it’s about factory closings and politics. The thing that makes Romney look out of touch here is not so much his lack of sympathy for those workers all those years ago, but rather that his mind, even when relaxed, focuses on issues of running big businesses and political strategy.
In other words, running big businesses and political strategy are all the guy knows. That’s not his fault, and it may even be to his credit in a sense; as those aren’t bad things for a President to know. But the point is that that’s his life, and he has very little visceral understanding of other things. Laughing during the story isn’t what makes him seem out of touch; it’s the fact that that’s the kind of story he thinks of. Romney seems out of touch because he, in fact, is.
I can only hope that this piece by Grove, which doesn’t seem to quite get that, is an April Fools’ joke.