The Former Future President of the United States: On Mitt

Mitt Romney has just announced that, sadly, he will not be running for president in 2016. I guess he figured that if you can't even beat the black guy who can't even bowl during a recession and high unemployment, you might as well just throw in the towel. The 47 percent has won. And that, gentle reader, is the last snarky thing I will say about the man, because I just watched the Netflix documentary Mitt and realized that he is a flawed and vulnerable human being. A boring, generic, and not-altogether-convinced-he-should-be-in-politics sort of human being, but a sentient creature nonetheless.

Netflix is following in the footsteps of HBO and creating original documentaries in an attempt to piggyback on the success it has been having with its other original series. The site's doc The Square, about the revolution in Egypt, has been nominated for an Academy Award and is a front-runner. But since Netflix exists on the web, it seems to straddle both TV and film, which means it can clean up at the Golden Globes, the Emmys, and the Oscars. (Metacritic has Mitt listed under its TV coverage.)

Like its namesake though, Mitt won't be capturing any victories. The filmmaker had “unprecedented” access to Romney and his entire family behind the scenes during both of his runs for the presidency, which is interesting for about 10 minutes. They hug the crap out of each other and they pray a lot in hotel rooms. The only insight we glean about the man is that he seems to care a lot about the opinions of his kin and his followers and he does not want to let either of them down. “If you don't win, we'll still love you,” his son Tagg tells him with tears in his eyes.

It might strike you as strange that I needed to say that he is a human being. Let's leave out that most people who run for high office are supposedly sociopaths. But I demonized George W. Bush and saw him as sub-human. It wasn't until he was out of the Oval Office and painting those delightful bathtub scenes that I began to view him as a sort of nutty uncle who was just trying his best. It also helps that I debate with the far right on a daily basis in groups on Facebook and have gotten to know and love some real nutters. Every week, there's fresh fighting-fodder for us libtards, as the righty debaters call us. Duck Dynasty, Coca Cola ads, and those MSNBC comments about Mitt Romney posing with his adopted black grandchild all sparked conservative outrage. We even have some really far-out white supremacists, one of whom posted recently, “That whole Superbowl was Illuminati symbolism. Just another arm of world Jewry. The 49ers game was thrown to have it be a Seahawks-Broncos game. Had to get the Dark Horse symbolism.”

A certain camaraderie has emerged among all of us, though, no matter our sides. It might be Stockholm syndrome, sure, but it stripped away any bigotry I had about people whom I don't agree with politically.

So maybe that's why I got a bit verklempt during the scene in Mitt when he realizes that he's lost the 2012 election. He had spent the entire day feeling sure he was going to win. Paul Ryan — who I'm sure is a sociopath — also skipped through that Tuesday with visions of world domination. But then it all sinks in once Ohio is lost. Romney has tears in his eyes. We know that later, when he is alone with his wife, he had to have broken down. I felt sad for him, the same way I used to get sad as a little kid when I would see “Going Out Of Business” signs in windows. I want people to be happy.

The real victor of the documentary is his wife, Ann, who comes across as a sincere matriarch who won't let her multiple sclerosis get in the way of her life. She was someone I had demonized, too, for her elitist dressage pastime. As it turns out, though, riding and caring for horses helps her with her condition. I guess you really never know a person until you've walked in her Christian Louboutins. She's only human.

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