Mitt Romney: The Huckster

Mitt Romney may have made $250 million as a venture capitalist, but he’s trying to sell a party that’s gone bankrupt.

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  1. Here’s Mitt Romney in a nutshell: During a town-hall event at a chapel in Merrimack, New Hampshire, some stammering yahoo in the back row gets up and asks the slick Mormon venture capitalist just exactly what he means when he says he plans to “change the face of the Middle East.”

    “I want to know where you stand on that,” the yutz pleads. “Your answer will determine whether I want to vote for you.”

    Romney smiles, humbly accepting the challenge. When it comes to the satanic art of presidential campaigning, this lean, heavily moussed political athlete is a stone prodigy, a natural who glides through campaign events with the aid of some dark supernatural power—a tie-clad, sweat-resistant cross of Roy Hobbs and Rosemary’s Baby. As he ponders the question about the Middle East, you can almost see the Terminator display screen behind his eyes, calibrating to the hundredth of a centimeter the exact distance to his questioner and quickly selecting from a prefab list of responses.

    “Well,” Romney says sunnily. “What I’d like to see is, I’d like to see a Palestinian state at peace, where Israel and Palestine are at peace.”

    Nods of approval in the front row. Peace between Israel and Palestine, what a great idea! How about a cure for cancer, water for the world’s deserts, more girls in bars who will say “yes”?

    “And what I’d like to see,” continues Romney, pointing a finger for emphasis—no other GOP candidate makes more diligent use of the basic tenets of public speaking, from the...