Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I wouldn't have suspected that James Lipton, the strange man who asks his guests on Inside the Actors Studio what they hope God says to them or their favorite profanity, would have a particular insight into what makes Mitt Romney so creepy and off-putting, but on New York Magazine's website, he totally does:
When challenged on the illegal immigrants caring for his lawn, Mr. Romney responded: “We went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake.” While a few illegal immigrants on the lawn might not faze private citizen Romney, “running for office” requires a separate set of rules and, more important, a separate persona.
It’s that “other” Romney that seems to be confusing the public, and that launched my assignment in the Times. As worthy as the real Romney may be, he is not, has never been, and never will be the common man, and when he assumes the role in a crowd, his evident discomfort tells us that this guy doesn’t fly coach, much less go Greyhound, and, without the demands of “running for office,” wouldn’t be spending much time with these people who do.
Of course he’s within his rights. As he’s taken to pointing out, there’s nothing wrong with being rich. But one wouldn’t cast Henry Fonda in Bringing Up Baby or Cary Grant in The Grapes of Wrath. Miscasting matters – in drama and politics – and absent a miraculous Brando-level acting performance, Mr. Romney’s going to continue to fall victim to self-consciousness, the actor’s worst enemy.