John Cook writing at Gawker makes an interesting case. I’m not sure I agree. I’m not sure I disagree. His idea is that somewhere along the way the media have decided Mitt Romney is such a loser that, no matter what he does, he will be portrayed as a loser:
The press is doing to Romney the same thing it did to John Kerry, and to Al Gore before him: Covering him as a loser. A weird loser. A distant loser, who is “uncomfortable in his own skin” and “failing to connect” with “regular voters.” The contempt and pity for him as a candidate is almost palpable, and each moment in the campaign is distorted imperceptibly, as if by magnetism, to reinforce the Romney caricature.
Cook makes a case. It’s not a bad argument. But I would argue that we’ve got to get our chickens and eggs in a row here (just to mix some metaphors). If he really is unable to connect and consistently says and does stupid things, as I think is obvious, it won’t take long for the press to start blowing stuff out of proportion that might not otherwise have been significant. That much I accept.
But does this mean that Romney is not “uncomfortable in his own skin?” Does it mean that he doesn’t “fail to connect” with “regular voters?” Uh, no.
The fairness issue comes into play only when we ask about the extent to which how Romney actually is makes the press too quick to magnify small gaffes and even non-gaffes that should mean nothing. This may have happened, and I’m sure it sucks if you’re Mitt Romney, but his image was not created out of whole cloth by lazy media types.
Politics is hard, or so Ann Romney told me.
(Cross-posted at Lippmann’s Ghost.)