Every week, it seems we learn something new and weird about Mitt Romney. He's got lingering beef with Eliza Dushku's mom. He's got like 27 houses. His sons are unsettlingly hot, in a steaming white bread out of the oven kind of way. He's protested against the protesters of the Vietnam War when he was in college. And now, we've learned that his hands are as soft as the finest imported fabrics, and that one of his hobbies includes firing people and being totally fine with gays and abortion. Who knew a guy who looks so boring could be so full of oddly unsettling surprises?
The most recent incongruous tidbits about Romney have come in the form of a video of the then-gubernatorial candidate in 2002 explaining to a Massachusetts news outlet that he's a "moderate" and that his views are "progressive."
This is seen as a devastating coup for his Republican opponents, because if there's one thing that conservative primary voters hate, it's anyone who expresses even mildly mainstream views. Remember when Rick Perry got all that applause for how many prisoners he executed in Texas? Remember that debate when all the candidates tossed around the term "illegals" like they were a bunch of Alzheimer-ridden retirement home racists? Voters love that shit! No apologies! America number 1! (Side note: what's with the broom motifs on Romney's 2002 gubernatorial materials? Did he, like fellow Republican Christine O'Donnell, dabble in witchcraft?)
Perhaps the most troubling/reasonable revelation from his non-nutjob past came earlier today, when it was uncovered that this side of a decade ago, Romney signed Planned Parenthood's pledge to support abortion rights for women in the state of Massachusetts. Does Mitt Romney circa 2002 support funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women? YES. Does he support comprehensive, medically accurate sex education? That, too. Does his support of the Personhood Pledge render his Planned Parenthood support moot? Or do the two dueling pledges have to fight each other until only one remains?
In other horrifyingly reasonable news, Romney's campaign has disavowed a pink flier distributed at a Massachusetts Gay Pride Parade, saying that they have no idea who made it and why, even though a former staffer of the ex-governor insists that his office was behind it. "All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference," it reads. What an outrage!
But not all of the recent ammunition in Romney's fellow Republican's mud-slinging Nerf guns reflects a character that wishes to benefit as many people as much as possible, in a socialist-type way. Mittens is nothing if not a living stereotype of what kids think rich white guys are, including the fact that his job with Bain Capital required him to buy companies, disassemble them, and sell them at a profit, sort of like what Richard Gere's character did in Pretty Woman, but minus the hookers or hearts of gold. In fact, Mitt loved his job so much that he's taken his firing people skills from Bain and applied them to the rest of his life. In remarks to the Nashua, NH Chamber of Commerce, he said that he actually enjoys culling the herd from time to time. He said, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," which, in context, was about the free market's role in medicine, but as a singular sentence, sounds pretty much like the worst thing a Presidential candidate could say during a recession. "I like being able to fire people" is a terrible way for a wealthy bastard to start a sentence if he wants other people in the room to like him.
In other cringeworthy Romney news, during this weekend's five hundred and seventy eighth GOP debate, the masterdebators masterdebated all over Romney, and Romney even masterdebated on himself a little. He accused Jon Huntsman of not loving his country enough because Huntsman served as ambassador to China rather than staying stateside and "putting his country first." Huntsman countered that he had two sons currently serving in the US military, and that Romney needs to maybe not accuse him of not making sacrifices. And Mittbot was sad.
Even though we've all spent our required time wringing our hands over the possibility of Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, or Rick Perry nabbing the GOP nomination (sorry, Jon Huntsman), from the start of the campaign, it's been clear that this race has been Romney's to lose. And depending on who you ask, Romney's either a Teflon-coated rocketship impervious to criticism or the stunted result of what happens when the Tea Party tries to interfere with natural political selection. While we don't know exactly what Mitt Romney believes, what he thinks, or what he'd do if elected President, one thing's for sure: the man's got some damn soft hands. Touching him is like strangling a baby. And don't we deserve a President without callouses?