“The other pleasure of covering campaigns is getting to play American Idol judge, evaluating the political performances.
Mitt Romney is never going to be confused for Pericles on the stump. Every sigh and utterance is prescripted, so watching his rallies is like watching the 19,000th performance of the road show of “Cats.” And he has terrible reaction responses. When somebody else is talking and he means to show agreement, he mugs like someone from a bad silent movie. His wife, Ann, is much warmer and more natural on stage.”
(Here Mr. Brooks comments using metaphors drawn from popular culture to garnish his opinions. In sum Mitt Romney is wooden yet well coached, rehearsed, and above all sincere.)
“But Romney’s awkwardness seems to endear him to audiences, because he’s trying so hard. He spends an enormous amount of time after the speeches shaking hands, taking pictures and holding babies. Beads of sweat form on his forehead as he throws himself graciously into the crowds. He also has a nice startle response. When something unexpected happens, his face lights up and you get a burst of happy humanity out of him.”
(Mitt is an awkward but loveable white boy who appeals to Republicans who feel their world under attack from the other: socialists,blacks,gays, jihadists etc.)
“Newt Gingrich’s presentations are forceful. He has a genius for pithy formulations and a consistent theme: The solutions to everything are obvious if only the idiots would get out of my way.”
(Mr. Gingrich makes his own rules and is unapologetically, insufferably arrogant.)
“Ron Paul’s supporters are so grateful. The world was once confusing, but then they read “End the Fed” and the scales fell from their eyes. Paul himself is fascinating because as some smart person observed (I’ve forgotten who), he thinks serially, not causally. The income tax happened and the Patriot Act happened and the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, bailed out the banks and job growth stinks. Paul doesn’t bother with logical links. He just strings events together and assumes causation.”
(Respectable Republicans believe Ron Paul is a crackpot!)
“I brought my 12-year-old son on this latest trip. My rule is that if a candidate can’t relate well to a 12-year-old, they’ll never win a general election. He approached all the candidates, and they were all wonderful except Gingrich. But that wasn’t Gingrich’s fault. My son, whose heroes include John Boehner and Tupac Shakur, picked an argument about gay marriage. Gingrich engaged, but after 10 seconds signaled security to brush my kid away.”
( Gingrich is demonstrably unfit for the presidency because he gave the bums rush to my kid.)
“Rick Perry ran a poor campaign but seems like the guy you’d most want to have a beer with. He took the time to tell my son how important it is to study hard and prepare for whatever you do.
Dad really appreciated that one.”
(Mr. Brooks likes a fellow dad who takes the time to reinforce respect for the protestant ethic.)