Emmett Tyrrell
WASHINGTON -- There are some campaign advisers who would counsel former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to jog on the campaign trail tirelessly, probably in short pants and with a catchy T-shirt emblazoned with some memorable phrase, say, "Fred Fna Ate Here," a la Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter started the presidential candidates' jogging craze, and since him there have been a horde of presidential joggers, all wearing little boys' outfits, the notable exception being Ronald Reagan -- possibly because, as he campaigned from 1976 on, he was considered too old to be president. On the other hand, the old cowboy had a sense of dignity that all other would-be presidents in recent years have lacked. Perhaps Romney should be photographed windsurfing as John Kerry was in 2004 and downing shots of firewater as Hillary Clinton did in 2008. Or he could filch a page from President-elect Vladimir Putin and campaign shirtless. Adopt the he-man look, Mitt!

Alas, Romney is a normal middle-aged American. He is the kind of man we all would like to have live next door. Facts are facts; all the aforesaid candidates save Reagan and now Romney are weird! Americans do not mind having them wearing funny hats and eating ethnic food on the campaign trail, but almost no American would want them as neighbors. Not so Romney. He would be welcome in our neighborhoods and maybe even trusted with a key to the house. Romney is NORMAL.

That is one fundamental reason, as this campaign season draws to an end, I am glad he will get the nomination. Think about it. Practically everyone who has run for the presidency over the past few decades has been odd. You would not want any of them in your neighborhood. Why would you want one of them in the White House? Rick Santorum ran a fine, if improbable, race, emphasizing values many of us share. Dr. Ron Paul reminded us of our constitutional principles that set Americans apart from the citizenry of other nations. Yet Newt Gingrich was the standard-issue candidate of recent decades. He was as bizarre as Bill Clinton but lacks Bill's charm -- if that is the word for it.

Romney is normal. That is what those in the press corps really mean when they say things like he fails to inspire or he commits gaffes. Compared with whom, with Joe Biden? The other day, Joe addressed the perfectly nice female president of Scott Community College, Dr. Theresa Paper, as "Dr. Pepper." Joe's list of gaffes is encyclopedic. Moreover, Romney is campaigning for things most Americans believe in and, in fact, many consider exigent.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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