I keep reading comparisons between Mitt and Bob Dole. Historically, that makes sense because Dole ran in 1996 against an incumbent Dem, Bill Clinton, who had suffered major losses in the preceding congressional races of 1994.
But I think personality-wise, Mitt is more like Bush 41 and comes with his out-of-touch, rich guy, patrician liabilities. Bush won in 1988 because the country wanted a third Reagan term. When he ran in 1992, no longer wrapped in the Reagan mantle, voters didn’t like him.
Bush was distrusted by conservatives in his second run because he’d broken his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge. Mitt suffers from that same mistrust because of his flip-flops and prior support for abortion and gay rights when he ran in Massachusetts. He’s also the father of the individual health care mandate that conservatives used to support, but now believe is unconstitutional.
Less ideological voters turned against Bush in 1992 because his preppie persona contrasted poorly with Clinton’s warmth and folkiness. The tax thing didn’t bother them as much as Bush himself did.
My theory of presidential elections is that the less preppie-seeming guy always wins.
Both Mitt and President Obama went to very fancy prep schools (the President got a scholarship), but Mitt has led a much more privileged, sheltered life, and it shows. He can’t manage to sound convincing when he proclaims his concern for the middle class. He’s never spent a day of his life as an actual member of the middle class.
What happens when two preppies run against each other? Al Gore and Bush 43 both went to very elite prep schools. But Bush managed to come across as more down-home Texas than high-flown Andover.
The less preppie guy wins — Obama beats Mitt.