Mitt Romney is going the full Bob Dole. You never go the full Bob Dole.
Back in 1996, the media fed a portrayal of GOP presidential hopeful Dole as a dour, humorless opponent to President Bill Clinton.
Dole lost. Then, months later, we saw a new Dole in the press. He was funny, self-deprecating and smart, the kind of guy you could grab a beer with and trust. He got a friendly reception at liberal outposts like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It was too late then, but Dole probably enjoyed the second media life.
Now, Romney is threatening to go down a similar path, one he should be smart enough to avoid.
The former governor is making the rounds on behalf of the new Netflix documentary Mitt, a fair, personal record of his 2012 presidential battle against President Barack Obama. The film got a cozy spot on the coveted Sundance Film Festival lineup.
If anything, the film paints Romney as overwhelmed by the task of beating a sitting president, but it also goes to great lengths to humanize a candidate the press sought to make a robotic presencefrom the start.
The same media circus which made “binders of women” into a cause celebre now are singing their approval of the documentary. Had a film as balanced as Mitt hit theaters before the election, those scribes might have slammed the film for humanizing him.
On Friday, Romney “slow jammed” the news with Jimmy Fallon, the same host who did the same with Obama to help the president push his message during an election year.
Romney should know better than to temporarily team with Fallon and reporters. Fallon and the bulk of his late night pals mocked Romney during the election cycle while giving Obama a mostly free pass. Would Fallon allow Romney on his Late Night show in the heat of the election to push his agenda via the slow jam? We didn’t see it at the time.
Romney deserves respect for trying his best against a media out to get him. He should know better than to cozy up to them after the fact.