From TPM Reader TH …
I’ve also been struck by the weirdly normal images of Romney turning up everywhere. They are captivating, humanizing and I think completely intentional. I don’t assume that all public figures are constantly crafting their image; quite often I think recognizable people are just living their lives hoping not to be recognized.
But not Mitt Romney. The man clearly has a pathological capacity (and need) for artifice in his identity. I think what DN said in your last post on the subject, about the 47% comments being Mitt’s “rich Republican” mask, is plausible, but less likely affected than his current behavior, which has a clear PR benefit for him.
His public persona was annihilated by the campaign. He entered it a somewhat boring, perhaps boringly strange, figure. He left it as a sneering, lying plutocrat bent on delivering the country fully into the hands of the privileged. Showing up a Pizza Hut hair unshellacked, being deeply familiar now with the fact that he will be photographed and those photographs will be dispersed widely without any work on his part, is a great way to rehabilitate that image.
He’s still a public figure and a businessman. He’ll want to write books, get on the lecture circuit, etc. He needs to delouse himself a little, and lousing up his hair for Twitter’s consumption is probably the best way to do it.
TPM Reader TB …
I have to say that this “real Mitt” thread has me wondering about the naivette of the average TPM reader, if not even a certain de facto tire-swingish quality to the editorial thread itself. What’s going on here isn’t rocket science: rich folks, in business or in Hollywood, don’t “lose” and then go home. They hire consultants who specialize in recontextualizing their only apparent losses, and rehabilitating their temporarily distressed images. Mitt was successfully marketed by Chicago as the enemy of the common man. He knows that; he also knows he’s a fairly young man, with a clutch of sons to bring into the family brand. And so lo, in the aftermath of November, here’s Mitt being uncontroversially common, in as many locales as possible. The tell was the Thanksgiving photo of Mitt and Ann in the kitchen, Mitt rumpled and loving, as Ann looked attractively harried and about to cook (before actually ordering out to Boston Market). When we begin seeing truly unattractive shots — Mitt in the restroom on the 405 outside Santa Ana, Mitt checking his teeth for chives at a Sizzler in Tacoma — then we’ll know we’ve tapped the nerve.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.