In 1987, Newsweek Magazine caught the public’s attention after it labeled then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush a “wimp.”
The magazine was obviously trying to portray Bush Sr. as holding to an old, weak, upper class mentality. Despite his heroism as a World War II Navy pilot, Newsweek wanted to examine the idea that he couldn’t and wouldn’t sully his hands to help those below him. It was an idea successfully used later by Bill Clinton to help him win the 1992 election.
Now, fast forward 25 years and the magazine has tossed the same moniker onto the Republican Party’s current nominee, Mitt Romney. The Aug. 6 edition of Newsweek featured a rather giggly cover photo of the GOP nominee and asked the question “is Romney too insecure to be president?”
In light of the 2012 election, is this wimp criticism fair? Not at all. Sure, Romney certainly isn’t a particularly heroic figure, but referring to a presidential candidate as a wimp sounds more along the lines of a fifth grade schoolyard bully rather than sticking to any serious political discussion.
While voters obviously aren’t seeking a Steve Urkel-like candidate, they’re probably not looking for a Rambo type either. After all, being the hero has never really been Romney’s thing. For one, his campaign should never be centered on casting him as the white knight coming in to clean up the corruption of the White House.
He’s not Ronald Reagan, riding in on his proverbial horse, acting as a throwback to an easier, safer time. Reagan campaigned as the guy who could outmaneuver Iran’s Ayatollah and the Soviet Union, but today’s world is too complex to have a similar threat waiting for Romney if he takes over in 2013.
The former Massachusetts governor isn’t even the genial, southern Jimmy Carter-type coming to Washington to replace a sullied administration in the aftermath of a Watergate-esque scandal.
Romney is a man running as a potential “CEO in Chief,” a hired corporate gun that can replace Obama and steer an anemic economy in the right direction. If he can convince voters that he can quickly and effectively fix the country’s checkbook, he’ll be hired.
So far, he’s been able to stay on the presidential balance beam despite several instances where he’s been close to falling off.
One of those shaky moments came during his recent recent trip to Great Britain. His trip was so lackluster that the British newspaper The Sun conjured up an adjective that may actually create a connection with some voters in November.
Staff at the British tabloid emblazoned their paper with a headline that simply read, “Mitt the Twit.”
The basic idea behind the story is that only a complete twit would insult his hosts.
Overall, Romney’s trip to London was certainly not a gold medal winning performance. After jetting across the Atlantic, he went on to critique the country’s preparations for the games and questioned Britain’s Olympic enthusiasm, essentially creating a firestorm among the city’s media.
Instead of shoring up his foreign policy credentials and looking presidential, Romney ultimately left the country on a rather sour note. It was one of a string of errors that continues to leave some voters feeling rather unenthusiastic about the Republican nominee.
There was the “corporations are people” statement, the “I like being able to fire people” miscue, the “I’m also unemployed” blunder, and the $10,000 bet debate ordeal.
Romney can overcome all his missteps if he keeps to one simple directive -- fixing the economy. If he keeps hammering that message, voters will overlook any previous gaffes, even if they still think he’s a twit.