Mitt Romney beat out such luminaries as Amanda Bynes, Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer, Lance Armstrong, Madonna, and George Zimmerman to win the title of GQ’s Least Influential Person of 2012.
Here is how GQ described Romney, “Was anyone inspired by Mitt Romney? Did anyone vote enthusiastically for Mitt Romney? Of course not. Voting for Romney is like hooking up with the last single person at the bar at 4 a.m. The only successful thing he did this year was embody every black stand-up comedian’s impression of a white person. Thank God the election’s over. No more endless photos of Mitt staring winsomely off-camera with that attempted smile on his face. No more glaring campaign mishaps week after week after week. No more labored media efforts to make him look like anything other than Sheldon Adelson’s pampered money Dumpster.”
At first, I wasn’t sure if I agreed with this reasoning. I mean Romney did manage to become one of the two finalists to be the next President of the United States of America. That has to make him more influential than Amanda Bynes, right?
Not really. Mitt Romney spent six years of his life running for president. In those six years can you name one original idea or policy proposal that he came up with? Just one. You can’t, because Mitt Romney spent nearly a decade planning and running for president without adding a single new idea to our national discourse. Some people called Romney an empty suit, but his problem was an empty mind.
Then, there were the gaffes. Mitt Romney’s self inflicted wounds were so severe that he made Sarah Palin look like Stephen Hawking.
Romney spent the entire 2012 campaign being the least popular nominee in modern American political history. Not only was Romney completely devoid of ideas, but people felt historic levels of dislike for him. One of the great oddities of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign was that the more voters saw of Romney, the less they liked him. (At this point Republicans will point to the October public opinion polls as proof that Romney was liked, but as we found out on Election Day, the national polls were overestimating the Republican makeup of the electorate.) The writing was on the wall in state polls of places like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where Romney remained more disliked than liked.
Mitt Romney was such a turn off to voters that his political convention actually gave his opponent a bounce in the polls.
Romney’s lasting legacy isn’t that he was at the helm when the Republican Party finally crashed and burned on a national scale. This honestly wasn’t Romney’s fault. It doesn’t matter who the Republicans might have nominated, they would have lost in 2012. (Having a party platform that alienates women, African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters tends to have that sort of impact on the electoral bottom line.)
Mitt Romney’s lasting legacy is that he confirmed to the rest of America what it had long suspected. Those old, rich, conservative white guys who are looking to buy elections view the rest of the country with contempt. When these men say they want their country back, they really mean that they think they are entitled to run the show. Women belong in the kitchen. Young people should stop being lazy and get a job. African Americans are invisible, and Latinos are criminals who should be prosecuted and/or (self) deported.
Naming Mitt Romney the least influential person of 2012 isn’t kicking a man when he is down. It is telling the truth about a presidential nominee who had done so little, yet felt entitled to so much.