(See also: "Mitt's Lesson on Discretion")
If Hollywood put out a casting call for a leading man to play the president of the United States, Mitt Romney would fit the bill to perfection. In the looks department, he has a picture-perfect smile and perfect hair. In personality, he projects an air of confidence and leadership. His family life mirrors a 1950s television show -- still married to his beautiful first wife; father of five successful, handsome sons; grandfather to many adorable little children; has never smoked, imbibed alcohol, or done drugs; is devoted to his church, gives generously to charity, and personally helps those in need; and is an excellent provider. He has been a proven success in business. The time once was when his business acumen and ability to make money for his family -- and more importantly, for others -- would have made him a PR flack's dream candidate and a role model for the small business community.
But these are different days; these days, the "politics of personal destruction" is standard operating procedure for the Democratic Party and its allies, the so-called mainstream media.
Take one example: The Romney family's picture-perfect image is in stark contrast to and colored by the health challenges that Ann Romney battles on a daily basis; she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and continues to deal with recurrent symptoms of debilitating pain, profound fatigue and weakness, problems with balance, and problems thinking clearly. The way the Romneys handle this difficult disease -- which affects more than 400,000 other Americans -- is not just admirable, but it is ordinarily the stuff of media fawning. In a sickening display of bias, the media has shown not the slightest interest in using the opportunity to highlight how one woman copes with a devastating disease and manages to live a productive and happy life. Instead, the Democrats and their media allies take cheap shots -- lots and lots of cheap shots -- i.e., 238,000 Google results -- about the "upper-crusty Republican nominee" who has enough money for the purchase and upkeep of a dressage horse for his wife's therapy.
Of course, there is nothing new about the liberal left counteracting positive images of GOP candidates. Enter the latest Pew Research poll; it purports to "show" that Mitt Romney is unlikeable. According to the poll, 52 percent of Americans have a less favorable opinion of Romney, while only 37 percent have a favorable view of him. With the media lapdogs trying to tear Romney's image apart on a daily basis, this poll is not surprising. However, if Pew had a sample that was a fair representation of the American voting public, would there be such a disparity? Would the disparity be this great?
Here's Pew's breakdown of the polling sample. Can you see the problem?
Pew's sample includes almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans. For those who identified their candidate of choice, almost 60 percent are Obama voters. Might that account for a poll result showing Romney in an unfavorable light?
With such a skewed sample, President Obama must have great results, right? The big news out of this poll should be that even with a sample loaded with Democrats and Obama voters, the president's favorable number is only 50 percent, with an unfavorable of 45 percent.
In 2008, Pew noted that Obama had a 68-percent favorable rating; that's an 18-percent drop after four years of "Hope and Change." Considering his new slogan is "Forward," it appears his supporters may be putting on the brakes.
This might help explain the incessant attacks on Mitt Romney and the need for the left to portray him as unlikeable. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) tried to claim that an anonymous caller to his office, with purported insight into Mitt Romney's tax returns, declared that Romney did not pay taxes for ten years.
Putting aside for a moment the question of whether the accusation is true, who would support a tax cheat? Oh wait, didn't President Obama appoint Timothy Geithner to the position of Treasury secretary even though Geithner failed to pay all his taxes? Not to mention the myriad other Obama political appointees with problems paying their taxes. The difference here is that Harry Reid is making an unsubstantiated allegation against Romney, while it is a proven fact that Obama supported a tax cheat.
Mitt Romney is telling Reid to "put up or shut up," because the claim is a lie. So far, Mr. Reid has produced no evidence. I don't know about you, but I find someone who stands up to unfounded allegations hurled at him to be quite likeable and, dare I say, admirable?
Mitt Romney knows what it takes to run a successful business and to take a floundering business and turn it around so that it is profitable and able to employ many people. Romney knows the rewards of hard work, long hours dedicated to a job, and the sacrifices necessary to become a success in business. How many communities across America would view someone like Romney as favorable if that person brought jobs and prosperity to their towns?
President Obama, on the other hand, recently told small business owners, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." The president seems to think that only the government can make people and businesses successful. Individual efforts and entrepreneurship are not concepts President Obama finds favorable or, quite frankly, even understands.
Let's face it: with the economy being the number-one issue in this election, Romney is a formidable candidate. Since his business and professional success is unassailable, the Obama campaign chooses to fight Romney on likeability.
We can expect the media onslaught between now and the election to reveal more polls "showing" Gov. Romney as unlikeable. The president's campaign is aware that no president has been re-elected with 50 percent or less support. They have to be worried that Mr. Obama could not muster more than a 50-percent favorability rating from a poll loaded with Democrats and people who claim they will vote for him.
The Obama campaign and their media allies will continue to portray Romney as the unlikeable candidate, but the polls are showing that it is actually President Obama who is losing the favorability race after voters have seen four years of his ideas and policies.
There is a lot to like about Mitt Romney's solid personal life and proven business acumen. November's election may show that what the American voter really does not like is someone who seeks to demonize job-creators, someone who kills jobs and businesses with higher taxes and more and more senseless regulation, over someone who has managed to create a business and provide workers with jobs.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse was a presidential speechwriter for Bush 41 and is a political commentator for Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.