Among the American Republicans, Mitt Romney had the biggest chance to be Barack Obama’s opponent in the upcoming fall elections. However, now Rick Santorum is close behind him, recently winning the support of two Southern states. Romney’s other big opponent is himself, because his unfortunate "cracks" could cost him votes.
Rick Santorum is now celebrating his recent victory in Mississippi and Alabama and says that he is still hoping to win the Republican elections, defeating Mitt Romney.
Ironically, Romney might even help him win: With his recent series of bloopers he has created an image of himself as a rich tycoon, living in a bubble, who has no idea about the problems of everyday people.
The well-off entrepreneur has previously stated that he is not concerned with the very poor. A statement like this cannot be popular even in the U.S., as of course the president represents the whole of society, not only the middle class. But he did not stop there; he also talked about how the government takes care of the very poor — an especially bad point for the conservative voters, who believe that "he who doesn’t work should not be taken care of." His supporters said that his words were taken out of context, and that he talked about how the middle class should receive more attention, while the very poor will get help anyway.
Romney tried to prove his "average American" nature by talking about sports on a radio show, as this unites supporters independent of their class. He was talking about Peyton Manning’s possible new team, but again, the main message that came across to listeners was that he is good friends with rich owners of many sports teams. So he again managed to emphasize his "rich American" image, while hundreds of thousands are demonstrating how the 99 percent — the poorer proportion of the population — is oppressed by the remaining 1 percent — the rich. Mitt Romney’s answer to them was that he is a successful business leader, and since the U.S. is a business too, he is the best equipped to lead it.
Maybe he was trying to emphasize his ability to lead when he talked about how he likes to be in a position where he can fire people. However, a lot of his potential voters lost jobs during the economic downturn. He also once said "I’ll bet $10,000,"* which yet again does not suggest that he is an average American.
The National Interest says that the problem with Romney is that he is an elitist, his campaign is poor, and he cannot persuade his voters that he is "one of them." The Democrats are increasingly portraying him as a millionaire and anything but relatable to an ordinary American. It is a question of whether he really has a chance at the Republican candidacy, and if he wins, against Obama.
*Editor's note: Romney's actual quote, to Rick Perry in a debate, was, "Rick, I'll tell you what. 10,000 bucks? 10,000-dollar bet?"
Edited by Laurie Henneman