Even if Mitt Romney continues to be painted as the “whitest”, gaffe-prone, most “out-of-touch” presidential candidate in decades by the media, campaign ads, and even his own actions, does it really matter if he can prove to provide a jobs-filled economy better than President Obama starting next January?
It does seem like it keeps coming: the slams against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on everything from stinging campaign ads painting him as the rich fat-cat type that puts his money over America’s prosperity to criticism from London over his (fairly benign and previously noted) comments over previous issues concerning Olympic security as the Summer Games began overseas.
Even when the controversy is not directly coming from Mr. Romney, there are times when it swirls around and from his camp. Such was the case recently when multiple Republican supporters publicly pushed the former Massachusetts governor to release more tax returns to satisfy calls for additional financial disclosure. Flak also came Romney’s way when former New Hampshire governor John Sununu questioned if President Obama “…knew how to be an American…”
And yet, truthfully, none of it really matters – not with the GDP numbers that came out this week, the on-going jobs situation in the nation (including the 14.4% unemployment rate in the Black community), and the impending unemployment numbers coming out for July on Friday.
How much does the elephant in the room really matter to voters – the one that keeps pointing out that, in contrast to the first Black president running for re-election on the Democrats’ ticket, the GOP has one of the most atypical, non-diverse, and “boring White guys” running for president this fall that it could have chosen on its slate.
That contrast makes the media, image, and style match-ups poor ones for the GOP as they go against the incumbent. The GOP and Romney camps do not want more pop culture comparisons between the smooth-crooning, Chicago-based incumbent and the rigid, hard-to-connect-to Mormon. Yet, as long as President Obama has to answer for on-going bad economic numbers, fears of another recession on the horizon, and position “evolutions” over the past few months that came through a need to strengthen a weary political base, there are plenty of opportunities for the Romney camp to pin Mr. Obama’s record to his campaign and watch the American people squirm in the process.
Whether we choose to admit it or not, the choice is becoming clearer each day: if Americans are willing to apply their 2008 criteria to the 2012 election, the guy with more Washington experience during a historic economic crisis (without any real hope for turnaround in sight) loses the election to the new guy in town, despite the newbie’s questions within his record. Although culture did matter in 2008 – as everyone from first-time voters to Black Republicans such as Armstrong Williams wanted to be on “the right side of history” – the economy mattered more.
As a result, there is room for enough Americans to ignore the white elephant of pop culture contrasts between Romney and Obama in 2012 to elect Mitt Romney as the 45th President of the United States in November.
Catch more of Lenny McAllister’s “How Much Does “The White Elephant in the Room” Really Matter to You?” on Politic365.
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