Rich Galen

There is much gnashing of Punticratical teeth in Your Nation's Capital over how NBC is presenting the events that they paid about $1.1 billion to present.

I've tried the iPad apps but I can't make any sense of them, so I am reduced to flipping through the channels (who knew Bravo was an NBC network?) to catch Field Hockey, or Boxing on one of the cable nets, or the omnipresent Beach Volleyball on the broadcast mother ship.

I would rather there were more action and less back-stories, but at 65 years old, I am WAY out of "the demo" NBC and its sponsors are looking for, so I recognize I don't have a vote.

All day, every day, contestants in the Twitter Olympics race against each other to report the results of events as they occur live or, as we like to say nowadays, "in real time" (even though we don't say "nowadays" nowadays, by golly). I have no problem knowing in advance who came in second in Handball and how the Women's Gymnastics team did.

I am one of those people who only watches an event when the USA does well.

I don't need to spend an hour watching John McEnroe interview all the American swimmers' high school girlfriends only to find out the favorite got water up his nose on the start and finished 13th.

I got a call from David Corn of the dreaded Mother Jones magazine. I know how much this is going to irritate you, but I like David. I don't agree with him on almost anything, but he's smart and funny and I like him.

Corn and I have been going back and forth about the overseas trip of Governor Mitt Romney since before the trip. He called to ask if I thought it was a win, a loss or a draw.

I said, because I am honest, that it was maybe a half point into the minus column but only because the campaign had lost control of the message from the very beginning when Romney told the truth about the potential dangers of not being in full control of security at the Olympics.

"After that," I said, "the press corps was looking for any and every opportunity to make a big deal about anything the could consider to be a 'gaffe.'"

I said that it wouldn't surprise me to find that a Jewish scribe had been assigned as pool reporter to see if Romney knew the difference between a Matzo Ball and a piece of Gefilte Fish.

A Lutheran reporter wouldn't have known, either.

I said during the extended primary campaign that the conventional wisdom that it was helping Romney to become a better candidate was wrong. He had been running for nearly six years and this was as good a candidate as he was ever going to be.

You might remember that in spite of his not being the best candidate in the history of candidates, Romney - and his campaign team - beat Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, Cain, Bachmann and everyone else who thought they might have had a shot at the nomination.

I had read earlier in the day a piece by Politico's Dylan Byers who had determined that:

"In one week abroad, Mitt Romney has managed to enrage both the Brits and the Palestinians. Now add to that roster his own press corps."

I Tweeted "For the GOP base, 2 out of 3 is a rousing success." If Romney was good enough to enrage the U.S press corps and the Palestinians on one trip, he could start measuring for drapes in the Oval.

David Corn made the point that Romney just couldn't relate to people. I said that if this was a contest between who was best liked, we could go home right now. But if it was - as I believe it is - a contest between who can best fix the economy, Obama is in trouble.

Then I reminded David about Hubert Humphrey, who was known as the "Happy Warrior." He was upbeat. Happy. Positive. Related well to everyday Americans.

And … he lost.

To Richard Nixon.

Nixon was arguably the most socially incompetent presidential candidate, president, and maybe the most socially incompetent human being in my lifetime.

The problem for Barack Obama is he is likeable, but incompetent. The problem for Romney is he is competent, but not terribly likable.

That's why they hold the elections.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.