NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 17, 2012

Foot in mouth disease afflicts Romney, again

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Big Freddy and I had just about done with our post mortem of the presidential election when I asked why Romney kept getting caught out with something politically damaging.

“He took the wrong graduate courses,’’ Freddy said.

“He took significant ones for law and business,’’ I said.

“Better he should have taken a masters in public relations across the river at Boston University,’’ Freddy said. “Then, maybe he’d think twice before he says what he says that gets him in trouble. It cost him a lot of votes in the run up to the election he lost, and he keeps right on getting hammered, this time by members of his own party who went to bat for him.’’

“Because of calling federal programs ‘gifts’ to special interest groups,” I said.

“And gets smacked on TV by two Republican governors for saying it,’’ Freddy said.

“Shades of his father from way back when he did pretty much the same kind of turnoff that didn’t go down very well politically,” I said.

“It must be a gene thing, and it’s like shooting himself in both feet,” Freddy said.

“The first time was before the election when Democrats picked up on it and made hay over what he had said back always about Latinos and such at a business meeting, and then this one, lumping government programs as gifts to half the population.

“Words mean different things to different people, and when you’re running for public office, you better watch what you say and how you say it because the other side is going to beat you over the head with it.

“He insulted just about everybody having anything to do with receiving the benefit of government programs, and Democrats don’t have to make to big a thing about it because Republicans are doing it for them.

“His problem is he’s politically deaf. That’s suicide for a politician. He’s a very smart, decent man who wants to solve the messes we’re in. His heart’s in the right place, and, who knows, he might even have been able to do it, but shooting yourself in your foot is not the way to get there.”

“Getting out of this mess is up to Obama now,” I said.

“Give him credit for not quitting, but it’s going to take more than the President,” Freddy said.

“We’ve faced the worse of times way back when, you and me and we’re not there yet. But he’s going to have to find ways to get both parties to come together, and he hasn’t had much luck so far with that, even over health care. He got no support at all from the Republicans and some states are opting out. Democrats had a tough time ramming it through because Republicans wanted no part of it.’’

“There’s irony there,” I said. “Romney didn’t have to ram it through in Massachusetts.”

“Because Democrats wanted it, and what Republicans there were at the State House supported it,” Freddy said.

“But Romney’s against the federal program,” I said.

“Because he sees it the way a lot of states see it - overloaded with one size fits all,” Freddy said.

“There’s talk about maybe Obama reaching out to Romney to help with it,” I said.

“Which he might just do because, at heart, he’s a good man who wants to do what he can to help,” Freddy said. “But it’s his foot in mouth disease that gets in the way so he should shut up already and let the dust settle because there’s too much of it already.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.