August 30, 2012
Ann Romney, dressed in Nancy Reagan red, was simply magnificent earlier this week when she spoke to the RNC and the world. Her task: Humanize Mitt, show the softer, gentler side because Americans want their presidents to feel their pain. I don't care if the president feels my pain. I just want him to end it. This reminds me of that gritty conundrum: for major surgery, would you pick the surgeon with the kind bedside manner and checkered outcomes -- or the s.o.b. who always gets it right? Do we need a president who's a regular guy -- or one who can fix the economy, among other things? They are not mutually exclusive nor are they guaranteed tandem. Mrs. Romney -- a courageous, intelligent, well-spoken woman -- and a bevy of speech writers did their best to soften the facts, which are that Mitt Romney was born wealthy, lived for most of his life in an enclave of privilege, made a fortune on his own. He faced adversity on his two-year Mormon mission, but his mission was in France, not Bangladesh or Nigeria. I hear the food's pretty good in France. Plus, he picked up a useful language. I noticed a few gloss-overs in Mrs. Romney's address: She told us about their first home, a basement apartment where they subsisted on tuna and pasta. I did not hear that Mitt was then attending Harvard or that the "pasta" was mac and cheese. Believe me, young working-class families in the 1970s didn't call it pasta and Harvard isn't a state university or community college. Somebody paid. A few nights ago I watched the 90-minute CNN special on Romney's life and times, including his romance and marriage. Ann Romney spoke from their Lake House in New Hampshire, after a weekend hosting 18 grandchildren. She mentioned how many loads of sheets she had to wash. Of course Mrs. Romney didn't mean this as disingenuous .... but hopefully their gorgeous vacation house comes with a housekeeper. Can't believe a multi-millionaire's wife who suffers from MS washes the sheets. She shouldn't. Nobody expects that. It's OK, Ann. You're human enough. You seem to have raised nice sons. You're allowed the dressage horses. You showed class when, the next morning (dressed in bright pink), you didn't scold Chris Christie for ignoring your speech and not mentioning hubby til the last half of his. As for the candidate, can't we judge him on his ideas, his plans, his methods instead of how much time he spent with the boys, his tenderness for a sick wife, his willingness to wear dress shirts from Costco? Uptightness is no a disqualification in my book, nor is wealth or religious affiliation. But I do wonder about that off-shore money. Figuratively speaking, I haven't decided whom to vote for -- Michelle or Ann. We'll see how Michelle comes across next week. I don't really care whether our First Ladies buy J.Crew or Balenciaga. It's awful that the guy with the best hair usually wins. I wish we (especially we-the-media) could move beyond that stuff and concentrate on, as Ford used to say, Job 1. In the meantime, Ann's a worthy helpmate.