Charles Pierce on the Esquire blog has a fun article asking why everyone (conservatives, that is) hates Mitt. Pierce has one awesome paragraph summing up Mittens’ various faults, as a conservative might see them.
On the surface, this elemental loathing seems disproportionate, even if you take into account how much of the GOP’s Jesus-jammin’ base distrusts the extended coven into which Romney was born. As governor of Massachusetts, Willard was relatively unobjectionable. He wasn’t as much fun as Bill Weld and his amber-colored liquids, or Paul Cellucci and his love of the track, to name only two of his immediate elected Republican predecessors. But nobody much minded him, especially when he sort of gave up on the job midway through his one term. Now, it is true that Willard is something of a foof who spends all his time falling a few yards short of sincerity. He speaks a form of trust-fund English that can be off-putting. He is as utterly unprincipled as a politician can be, and he’s about as trustworthy as a puff adder. None of these are an automatic disqualification for a presidential candidate. Even taken together, they add up to little more than Newt Gingrich with a silver spoon in his jowls. There has to be something more at work here.
But ultimately, the article is an extended query, and Pierce cannot answer the question.
I went trolling into the lowest depths of what passes for conservative thought (i.e., Freerepublic), and selected a few prime samples of the visceral distaste that the base feels for Mittens. In an article about the current contest between Mittens and Newt, the comments generally circle around the issue that Romney isn’t a “conservative,” that he’s a RINO, and the name calling tends to gravitate towards “Slick Willard,” an obvious play on the conservative nickname for former President Clinton. This one was the comment that stood out for its particularly vile and nonchalant racism:
The media denied Perry and Cain when they were challenging Romney. Why is the media now championing Gingrich? They know Gingrich is a liberal RINO and either him or Romney will be a good little house negro republican to lose against Barry.
Honestly, I don’t think that the question of why the rabid conservative base hates Romney is really all that difficult to answer. They know that he isn’t a member of their tribe. As unprincipled as he is, when he was governor, he made some decisions that were legitimately in the interest of the people of his state, and even when he mouths the current conservative shibboleths about abortion, gay marriage, immigration, and the social safety net, you can kind of tell that he isn’t motivated from the same place as a true conservative. In other words, he doesn’t appear to have a convincing hatred for and desire to punish and oppress women, gays, minorities, and the poor, and that means that he isn’t really one of them.
On the other hand, poll after poll shows Mitt as the only potential Republican candidate with a shot of winning the Presidency. I imagine that this must chap their hides. The fact that the wingnuts cannot now, and never will be able to elect one of their own really must be upsetting. The hatred for Romney, in this context, looks a lot like the natural consequences of the wingnut realization of their own irrelevance.