Right now, Mitt Romney is engaged in a knock-em-down, drag-em-out cage match with Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary election.
After being trounced in South Carolina, where he held a double-digit lead a mere week earlier, he has chosen a slash-and-burn campaign, with his Super PACs gearing up to spend millions trashing Gingrich.
Anyway, that’s all a side issue at this stage. The reason Romney will never be President stems from his tax returns. Tax returns, you say? Yes, tax returns indeed.
No, he didn’t cheat on his taxes. And America does not despise those who do well financially, despite his rhetoric.
However, one core attribute of Americans is the ideal – long since snuffed out in reality, but alive in the minds of many – that with hard work, one can get ahead in America. Why? Because fundamentally, a level and fair playing field exists for all who play.
What Mitt Romney’s words and actions – including every rictus of his fixed grin -are making clear to Americans today, Republicans included – is that fairness and a level playing field have long been lost and the perfect personification of this tragedy is Mitt Romney.
Son of a wealthy politician father, Romney has claimed that it was entirely his hard work that got him where he is. Wrong on all counts. His father paying for a privileged education at Ivy League schools probably had more to do with it than anything else.
Now, we’ve found out that in his last tax filing, Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9%. He was also found to have held accounts in the Cayman Islands, where most squirrel away funds to avoid taxes.
Perhaps that is why South Carolinians – turned off by his reticience to even declare his taxes – turned his double digit lead over Newt Gingrich into a double digit loss.
Losing to the twice-divorced ex-Speaker of the House who divorced his ex-wives when they developed cancer and multiple sclerosis respectively means that there is something fundamental about Mitt Romnney that revulses a large part of the electorate.
Perhaps Romney reminds them of the lost American dream and today’s America, which has become elitist and bereft of opportunity – empirically – for children to prosper beyond their parent’s circumstances no matter how hard they try.
Currently, it is neck and neck in Florida, the next Republican primary battleground.
My bet is Romney will lose in Florida. However, it doesn’t matter if he wins there or if he spends the many millions that might help him overwhelm Gingrich.
It doesn’t matter because he will end up losing the general election anyway.
Romney is a perfect embodiment of America’s lost dream. For that reason and that reason alone, he will never be President of the United States.