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The Unbearable Fakeness of Being Romney

Romney still doesn’t understand why so many people dislike him:

If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to re-brand himself as authentic [bold mine-DL], warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private.

The article says that he would talk more about his religious background in another campaign, but this isn’t going to fix anything. The biggest problem that Romney had as a candidate wasn’t that he couldn’t talk openly about his religious beliefs, but that he so frequently altered or abandoned his political positions. He seemed willing to say almost anything to win an election, and he gave the impression that he had very few political views that weren’t negotiable or for sale. As a politician, Romney has always seemed phony, and he has encouraged people to perceive him that way by trying to be whatever his intended audience wanted him to be. And nothing could be more phony than to try to “re-brand himself as authentic.” Maybe authenticity is overrated in our political culture, but if it means anything it is something that can’t be invented as part of a “re-branding” exercise. The fact that Romney doesn’t seem to understand this guarantees that whatever persona he assumes in another campaign will be correctly perceived to be just as fake as all of the others that have preceded it.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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