(The Root) — Here's yet another very good reason to rejoice over Barack Obama's triumph in last year's presidential election: Mitt and Ann Romney are not our first family. We have thus been spared four years of hyperexposure to the self-absorbed utterances of this shockingly out-of-touch political couple. From now on we can ignore them.
These uncharitable thoughts were provoked by the Romneys' televised joint appearance with Chris Wallace of Fox News last weekend, during which they sought to explain why the electorate made such a dreadful mistake by not recognizing how entitled they were to what they evidently regard as a throne.
Their analysis bordered on solipsism. Romney's loss, says his wife, was "a crushing disappointment," not for them but "for the country." They were so enthralled by the passion of Romney's supporters, she says, that they were "a little blindsided" by the intensity of those on Obama's side.
If only the media had allowed voters to see her husband as a "selfless person that really, truly cared about the American people," he would have been able to bring to bear his "enormous skill set in dealing with difficult issues," and "we would not be facing sequestration right now." If only, if only, if only the voters had recognized how wonderful they are.
It does not seem to have occurred to the Romneys that voters got a very accurate impression of Mitt and what he stands for and rejected him on that basis. He does not admit that he veered far, far to the right to fend off the challenges of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries.
He claims that he did not mean what he said in the famous videotaped speech to fat-cat contributors, when he denounced the "47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them … " If only, if only, if only he had been better understood.
But of course, that couldn't happen because Obama did not play fair. Obama, Romney says, "had the power of incumbency," and he used it to buy people off. "Obamacare was very attractive, particularly to those without health insurance," says Romney, "and they came out in large numbers to vote. So that was part of a successful campaign."
This was especially true of Hispanic, African-American and other minority voters, who overwhelmingly rejected Romney. "We've got to do a better job taking our message to them," he says, " to help them understand why we're the party with the ideas that will make their life better."
One of those ideas, of course, was Romneycare, the groundbreaking health care reform adopted by Massachusetts while Romney was governor, which became the model for Obama's approach. Obama chose it in the hope that he could gain bipartisan support by adopting a Republican idea. But Romney, like every Republican in the House and Senate, repudiated the plan simply because Obama endorsed it. Has it ever crossed Romney's mind that voters may have weighed the GOP's intransigence against Obama's flexibility and found the Republicans wanting?
Historically, defeated presidential candidates who do not hold some elected office tend to stay off the public stage for a while to lick their wounds. That is not the Romney way. He accuses Obama of being primarily motivated by partisan gain in his handling of budget negotiations. His strategy, Romney charges, is "to get a headline that will make it look like those terrible Republicans aren't willing to come together." He even goes so far as to accuse Obama of fiddling like Nero while Rome burns.
Such carping ignores the fact that it is the Republican majority in the House, not Obama, that is resisting the will of the people. Poll after poll shows that most voters, including most Republicans, favor the president's balanced approach of fixing the budget by both cutting spending and raising taxes over the GOP no-new-taxes stand.
Enough already. It's clear that the Romneys are so bogged down in a self-serving political fantasy about what might have been that they have nothing useful to contribute to our ongoing political struggles. It's time for them to ride off into the sunset while the rest of us try to deal with the real world.
Jack White, a former columnist for Time magazine, is a freelance writer in Richmond, Va., and a contributing editor for The Root.
is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.