Authentic Mitt!

[Content Note: Classism.]

Remember Mitt Romney's monumentally failful attempts at being "authentic" during the last presidential election? In case you've wiped it from your brainpan, here's a little reminder:

image of Romney counting on his fingers to which I have added text reading: 'Let me count all the ways in which I'm totally an unofficial Southerner: 1. I like grits, and things, 2. I have friends who own NASCAR teams, 3. I drive a truck, and like 200 other cars, 4. I say y'all ALL the time, 5. I own a pair of alligator shoes, which I bet came from your lovely swamps, 6. Did I mention that I like grits, and things...?'

Oof, man. Oof.

This time around, he's trying a different strategy—and nothing says "authentic" like saying, "This time, I'll really be authentic, I promise!"
After losing two straight presidential races, Mitt Romney packed up his home in Massachusetts and journeyed west to Utah, building a mansion here in the foothills of the Wasatch Range that has served as his sanctuary from defeat.

..."He feels very at home here," said John Miller, a close friend in Utah who has been talking with Romney throughout his recent deliberations. "This is a very prayerful thing. ...In the end, it's really a decision between he and Ann and their belief system, their God. That's the authentic Mitt."

If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to rebrand himself as authentic, warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private. He rarely discussed his religious beliefs and practices in his failed 2008 and 2012 races, often confronting suspicion and bigotry with silence as his political consultants urged him to play down his Mormonism.

Now, Romney speaks openly about his service as a lay pastor in the Mormon Church, recites Scripture to audiences, muses about salvation and the prophet, urges students to marry young and "have a quiver full of kids," and even cracks jokes about Joseph Smith's polygamy.

...Although Romney served as governor of Massachusetts and his past campaigns were based in Boston, he recently registered to vote in Utah. Members of his political circle said they are considering making Salt Lake City, the cradle of Mormonism, his 2016 campaign headquarters. Wealthy Mormons across the Mountain West played a central role in financing his 2012 campaign, and a 2016 bid would lean heavily on the same network.

"He was Utah's favorite adopted son, and now he's a Utahn," said Thomas Wright, a former state GOP chairman. "People here know Mitt, they trust Mitt, they respect Mitt, and they still want to call him President Romney."
Well, that all sounds TERRIFIC. Anyone who knows me knows I can't get enough of politicians talking about their religious beliefs, especially when they couch reproductive coercion inside of god-talk! That's the kind of Real AmericanTM authenticity that makes me SWOON.

And don't even get me started on the totes authentic authenticity of an East Coast elite moving back West and finding Jesus—or Joseph Smith—again. Not only is that SO AUTHENTIC, but it's also SO ORIGINAL.

Let's hear more about Authentic Mitt 2.0.
In Holladay, an upscale suburb of Salt Lake City, the Romneys have built a manse complete with a "secret door" hideaway room and an outdoor spa off the master bath. They consider it their primary residence, near their son Josh and his wife and children.

Together with another family, the Romneys also bought an 8,700-square-foot ski chalet in nearby Park City. They still own a lakefront estate in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a beach home in the La Jolla area of San Diego, which made news in 2012 because of planned renovations that include a car elevator.

...Romney has signaled that poverty would be a central theme of his next campaign.

..."In spite of the comments about the '47 percent,' he now talks about lifting the poor," said friend Fraser Bullock, referring to Romney's 2012 remarks about people dependent on government. "That's something he's done his whole life, but he's done it quietly, ministering his faith and helping people who are struggling with this issue or that issue. That was all hidden last time."
Fair point. Romney's deep compassion for struggling people was certainly well hidden behind his contemptible rhetoric about how PEOPLE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FOOD.

The thing about the 47 Percent video, that no amount of photo ops and sending surrogates to talk about Romney's faith and good works will ever change, is that the Mitt Romney in that video is clearly, undeniably, the Authentic Mitt Romney. A man who stands before a room full of other rich white men just like him, and, when he thinks there are no cameras around, sniffs about the outrage that is people in the richest country in the world thinking they are entitled to food.

That's the real Mitt Romney. We all knew it then, and we aren't going to forget it.

[H/T to Shaker George.]

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