No foolin’: The more I write about these populist blind spots of his, the more I find them goofily endearing. What’s the big knock on Romney? That he’s an overly scripted phony who’ll say anything to get elected, right? Well, rest assured: No one would script this line. This is the real Mitt, doing his awkward best to relate. Not in a snobby way either — I think the class divide implicit in his answer utterly escapes him. He’s just trying to connect with NASCAR fans and this is the best he can do. I almost want to tousle his hair and say, “Good effort!”
Think we can convince every independent in America to share my view?
Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
Democrats and liberals quickly ridiculed the remark on Twitter. “I don’t know people who fish but I know people who own yachts,” tweeted Brad Woodhouse, communications director of the Democratic National Committee. Ari Melber, a writer for the liberal Nation magazine who apparently was watching the Oscars, tweeted: “Do I like movies? Well I have some friends who own movie companies.”…
For Romney, it was just his world and his friends. For Democrats, it was a political opportunity. “This is just the latest example of how out of touch Mitt Romney is from the average American experience. From an economic plan that provides tax cuts to line the pockets of his friends — like those who own NASCAR teams — to wanting Wall Street to write its own rules, Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it and won’t work to restore economic security for the middle class,” said DNC press secretary Melanie Roussell.
Sounds like something Mr. Howell might say to Gilligan. And hey, everyone loved Mr. Howell. Optimism.
The punchline, of course, is that despite the left’s theatrical mirth about Mitt being out of touch, he’ll almost certainly beat Obama easily among NASCAR fans in the fall. Watch the clip, then restore your equilibrium by reading this BuzzFeed piece about Romney’s heroism nine years ago when he and his sons heard a family screaming for help on Lake Winnipesaukee. Whatever else you think of Mitt, he’s awfully good during a personal crisis.