Mr. Romney, Tear Down That Wall!
Stairways in all directions, a magic lantern backdrop that transported attestants to farms, forests, the Great Plains.
Those who rose to testify included a fire fighter, a bereaved mother, a “liberal democrat” from his Massachusetts gubernatorial cabinet, a Bain Capital colleague, a Staples CEO, an achingly sincere Mormon bishop, 2002 Olympians, and a parade of pols. Plus a wild card, Clint Eastwood, who asked Mitt to “Make my day.”
This fulsome spread lacked only—the beef. Thanksgiving without turkey, Fourth of July without an American flag. Mitt Romney’s beautifully crafted speech lacked nothing you can name or put on paper. But whatever invisible barrier surrounds him, the phantom moat that seals him off from the world (perfectly symbolized in his refusal to release his tax records), was still there. Ronald Reagan, worshipfully referenced in the preliminaries, was needed in person to say, “Mr. Romney, tear down that wall!”
It is Mitt’s tragedy. No one doubts that he is a decent man, a loving man, good husband, father, loyal church member. Which makes the barrier mysterious; the head says “Yes!,” the heart cries, “Stop! Something’s missing!”
How would a man with his particular weakness function in the world’s toughest job? Will his negative aura be felt by America’s allies, competitors, enemies? Would it irritate them, goad them? One of the pols said that G.W. Bush be credited with preventing a second 9/11 attack. Mightn’t a more alert President have noticed that aliens in Florida were taking flying lessons without bothering to learn to land, and stopped the first?
Would Mitt Romney be able to anticipate another 9/11, or is he more likely to incite one? Would he slide us into another Cold War? He intimated that he’d use force against Iran, even against Putin! Is this a man to whom the U.S. can trust its fate, along with the fate of Planet Earth? The urgent take away of the Republican brouhaha in Tampa is: “Be afraid! Be very afraid!”