How Romantic Comedies Explain Mitt Romney

Someone knows how to get my attention with a meme:

That said, the entire Tumblr this poster is from, RomCom 2012, is brilliant both as a deconstruction of Romney’s troubles on the campaign trail and of romantic comedies. Romney’s essential unlikability is the core liability of his campaign in the same way that romantic comedies always start with a man and a woman who dislike each other for some reason. In screwball comedies, it’s often because the guy is a sap, like beer heir in The Lady Eve, or the naive movie producer in Sullivan’s Travels. In contemporary romantic comedies, it’s often because the guy is a man-child, as in Apatown movies like Knocked Up or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or hiding his essential decency behind a facade of distaste for women like the misogynistic radio hosts epitomized by Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth. The movie turns when the woman involved discovers that the sap is sweet, the man-boy is capable of growing up, the woman-hater is wounded. In Definitely, Maybe, a man who switches identities along with girlfriends figures out what kind of man he wants to be, and which woman he wants to be with. That’s a dilemma that should land with analysts who have watched Romney run for president over the last two cycles.

And Mitt Romney’s problems reveal both the problem with his candidacy and the weakness of romantic comedies. Some guys are never going to shuck off the nerdy professor aura and be miraculously attractive to women. Some man-boys are not going to be suddenly inspired, and find it easy to assume a semblance of adulthood. Some guys genuinely hate women. And some candidates are genuinely stiff rich guys who, at 65, are not going to spontaneously develop a capacity for empathy or an understanding of what it is to struggle.