Sigh. Mitt Romney needs to stop pretending to relate to people. He needs to stop making jokes, stop making small talk, and just sit there, I think. Because talking to people never works out well for him
[T]he governor sat down at a picnic table set with food and made an apparent attempt at humor.
“I’m not sure about these cookies,” Mr. Romney said. “They don’t look like you made them,” he said turning to one of the women at the table. “Did you make those cookies? You didn’t, did you? No. No. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever.” [...]
The cookies, in fact, were donated from the popular Bethel Bakery around the corner from the community center, and once Mr. Romney’s comment was broadcast on local airwaves offended residents took to Facebook and Twitter to complain. The episode was inevitably called “CookieGate.”
Yeah, way to bond with the locals. Insult their popular local cookies. Take that
, Barack Obama. (Apparently, however, the comments went over well at 7-Eleven, which would like you to know that it does indeed bake its own cookies.)
All right, first off: This isn't a big deal, okay? So we're not going to make fun of him for it.
After all, it's not like he strapped cookies to the top of his car and drove off with them. It's not like he commented on how his new beachfront house has a special elevator just for cookies. It's not like he visited a shut-down factory and claimed that it'd be open if it wasn't for that meddlesome Obama, only to have people quickly find out the factory closed under Bush. (Wait, that one actually happened? Just now, you say? Oh, Christ, Mitt, are you even trying?) No, it's just a little local gaffe of the sort that Mitt Romney, consummate retail politician, the man who can take both sides on any issue faster than you can say tax cuts for rich people, makes all-the-freaking-time. It'd be mean to even bring these things up, at this point.
I think Mitt's problem is that his first instinct in any public situation is wrong. His first public opinion on any issue? Wrong, necessitating a quick explanation by his campaign as to what he really meant. His first instinct on how to pander to locals? Complement them on their "trash bag" raincoats, or the moderate palatability of their "cheesy grits," or how their locally baked cookies look like the stuff you'd find at the local Kwik-E-Mart. He wants so much to bond with the locals, and be the funny, down-to-earth guy that all of the people who he pays say he is, but it comes out wrong.
My own advice is to stop trying. I think Mitt should just bag the bond-with-the-locals act, ands start showing up to campaign events dressed like the rich guy on the Monopoly box. Screw showing up at NASCAR or NFL events, just show up with NFL team owners and say, "See this guy? He owns that shit the rest of you like." Make appearances at factories, sure, but spend the time giving them advice on how they could best maximize profit value by selling the place for parts. Anything. But he needs to stop trying to bond with people over their food choices, whether it be over their "cheesy grits" or their insufficiently homemade cookies, and just embrace the fact that he's a mega-wealthy multi-home-owning vulture capital baron who only gets rid of his illegal immigrant laborers during the times when campaign season rolls around. Embrace your strengths!