Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Loser's Luck

San Jose, CA – It may not be as bad for Mitt Romney as we thought that he lost the election.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous Frenchman who wrote his book Democracy in America in the seventeenth-century liked many things about America, but there were some things about us that made him uncomfortable. One of them was what he saw as the odd obsessive compulsive need of Americans to constantly to be shaking each other’s hands up and down. “They couldn’t seem to stop!”

Another thing he thought was different was their constant need to win. Every little game, he observed, both the boys and girls were desperate to win. He saw Americans as needing to be constantly graded. If you won, you were alright, and other things could be forgiven a winner, while losing might reveal some deeper form of weakness or character flaw in yourself. But then of course, there was the ultimate form of contesting. Politics. When the child grew into the man or woman, election was and is the ultimate form of grading. Everyone tells you what they think of you with their vote.
Of course, in some ways de Tocqueville was right. Losing hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. Some people have trouble coping. Losing an election is a massive form of rejection. But there is another side of this fitful and fickle coin. For in politics, and perhaps in politics alone, there can occasionally benefits to losing.
In 1960 the Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon lost the election to JFK, (how could he not?) and then, two years later lost a bid for governor.
But it was a blessing in disguise. Over the next eight years America had many difficulties, loads of them. But Richard Nixon was not in power. His name was untouched. Instead, he road above all of the fighting, and came to power eight years later.
Now America may be having a similar Nixon Moment. In 2012 America said no to Mitt Romney, and he has since said he is not running again. But then, what a politician says is not necessarily what he does. Former Senator Scott Brown earlier this year said he moved to New Hampshire for personal reasons, it had “nothing to do” with politics. Well, he’s in the race now, and doing quite nicely, I might add.
The very fact that Mitt Romney is claiming not to be running may make him more desirable. The thing just out of reach is, after all, usually what a child wants. According to preliminary results to a Newsmax Poll on GOP 2016 candidates that I saw recently, second place was Benjamin Carson, with 8%, but first place was Mitt Romney, at over 50%. The president's approval, according to the FOX News poll they regale you with at the end of every political article on their sight, is only 38%.
American's are very unhappy about the way the government is going, and Mitt knows that But he is not the man in White House, all the better for him.
Mitt, that internet documentary that told everyone he was not a robot has helped to polish his image a great deal. Meanwhile everything the president says is analyzed, and all his problems noticed. While Mitt can simply sit back and watch it all, and decide later if he wants to run for president. However, we must certainly hope that if he does run and win in 2016, he does not follow the Nixon story too closely.

Andrew C. Abbott

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