The Elephant in the Room

If the presidential election were a dinner party, Mitt Romney would be the 14-year-old kid dressed up as a waiter trying to sneak out booze. He just doesn’t belong.

Over the past year, Romney has done more to disqualify himself for president than actually make a case for the job. To rattle off the list would take more than one column (there are entire websites dedicated to them). The highlights of the last few months: agreeing with most of President Obama’s healthcare law, which he plans to repeal on Day One, boasting of his love for firing people, prematurely claiming President Ryan, blaming the president for the death of four Americans including the ambassador of Libya, and finally discrediting the thoughts and opinions of half this country. And I highly encourage you to check out the list above, you’d be amazed (or maybe not anymore) by the pre-2012 Romney.

For the GOP, John McCain’s concession speech four years ago did nothing but pass the baton to an already fully charged, sprinting Romney. He was a relatively popular governor, CEO of an extremely profitable and successful company, and son to a former GOP golden boy. The man was destined for the White House, or at least a shot at the office. Everyone knew it. People took for granted that he was supposed to be the nominee. It was a truism. He deserved it and he would do an adequate job.

But people earn their positions for themselves. At least when it comes to President of the United States.

It’s rare, in this informational age, to see a candidate simply in over his head. Yet that is exactly the problem that the Republican nominee faces right now. Americans, myself included, have assumed for a long time that those vying for the highest office in the land are ready for the job. Even if they disagree with them on a fundamental level, there is an assumption that in our age of total media scrutiny, a clearly unfit person cannot slip through the cracks.

Mitt Romney made it through.

I’m not the criticizing the guy for his views. I’m criticizing him for his total lack of competency in the public sphere. I’ve heard that running for office and governing require two different skill sets, and maybe Mr. Romney is only deficient in one, but as far as I’m concerned, a good leader needs to know how to talk. Everyone is going to make mistakes, but when Romney makes them, he doesn’t admit it, then he changes his opinion, and then he makes them again. He doesn’t seem to have the capacity to become a better candidate, and in almost every political decision he makes, he comes across as incompetent.

Paul Ryan was a bold VP pick because he ostensibly signified that the race’s dynamic was going to shift. It didn’t. Romney’s convention speech was going to be a rallying cry for conservatives everywhere. It wasn’t. And releasing a “summary” of Romney’s tax returns for the last 20 years was supposed to silence the Democrat critics. It hasn’t.

Almost every single political move made by the Romney campaign, and by extension, the man himself, has been un-presidential.

There are a lot of smart people in this country who agree, word for word, with Romney. Does that mean that they are qualified to be president? That they have what it takes?

I am happy to see Romney struggle. I want the president re-elected. But the 2012 election is important for another reason. For us young people, we don’t remember the last election in which there was a totally unprepared candidate. Provided Romney loses in November (which is still NOT certain), we will have here a testament to the American system at work.

Mitt Romney, in being anything but a good candidate, is an example of the American process: that we are not given good candidates—we have to choose them. I am humbled by the governor’s presence in the race, and you should be, too. He can teach us something about election politics, and remind us that it is our imperative to stay vigilant in looking for the best possible leaders.

Nobody deserves to be president. You don’t get into the Oval Office by paying your dues. You earn it from the voters. And Mitt hasn’t earned the lobster dinner yet, and I don’t think he’s even sneaking out with the booze.