Mitt Romney has Al Gore syndrome. Gore was said to be hilarious and full of bonhomie in private company, but struggled to show it on the campaign trail.
Voters probably shouldn’t care whether their president would make a good dinner party guest, but they do. Yes, there is all that talk about connecting with them, showing a human touch, etc.
Maybe, though, the principal reason is a subconscious one: they know they’ll have to listen to a winning candidate the next four years and are exceedingly afraid of boredom.
That will hurt Romney. He’s been running for the White House for more than half a decade and still hasn’t figured out a way to break from his Ambien-ic ways.
So, of course, his best chance to win is if he can position himself as an exceedingly effective problem-solver (though that didn’t work during the rough times four years ago). Perhaps the best hint of his path to the presidency came on “Meet the Press” from Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, who indicated voters will have to look at him as a doctor adept at providing excellent treatment, but who has a lackluster bedside manner.
So, with his continuing inability to show a personal touch or sense of humor, should Romney take up a reported opportunity to host “Saturday Night Live”? Should he try to use “SNL” as a platform to humanize him and show he doesn’t take himself that seriously?
First, does he watch the show? He told ABC News’s Diane Sawyer: "I haven't made a decision on that, just heard about it. Of course, it would depend on the nature of the skit. I want it to be funny."
It’s skits, Mitt -- plural. He probably should know hosts do an opening gambit and then participate in more than one bit. (He did say he likes Jason Sudeikis' current portrayal of him on “SNL," so he's probably seen clips.)
Without an appreciation for the rhythm of "SNL," it’s unlikely Romney will be able to take advantage of any benefits it may offer him.
But, the main reason Romney shouldn’t hit the stage and offer up “Live From New York …,” is there is little reason to believe he could do the gig and change peoples’ perception of him as inalterably stiff and unrelatable. His attempts at humor on the stump haven’t exactly resonated, so even with the “SNL” cue cards and coahing from the show's comedians, is there reason to believe his delivery will, well, deliver for him?
He didn’t do a particularly endearing job in reading the top-10 list on the “Late Show with David Letterman” in December. He did it in character – which is the problem. His character is often hard to watch.
At times, he seems to be so uncomfortable and trying so hard with so little success, that one can actually feel sorry for a mega-millionaire mostly unencumbered by the IRS.
Romney should take a pass on “SNL” and focus on a way to let his lighter side come through when he gives his nomination speech in late August.
Maybe, he’ll also get lucky and offer a memorable zinger in the fall debates, which would do a lot to make him seem more personable.
An attempt to use “SNL” for that would be comedic. And, not in a positive way for him.