Shocker: No One Likes Mitt

1200084084A large portion of Massachusetts saw this coming. Still, today’s story by Michael Luo in The New York Times is pretty fascinating.

The gist? Pretty much all of the Republican power brokers (with the obvious exception of those on his payroll) despise Mitt Romney.

“Never get into a wrestling match with a pig,” Senator John McCain said in New Hampshire this month after reporters asked him about Mr. Romney. “You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

Wow. And it only gets worse.

Romney, who comes off as stiff and awkward whenever he isn’t reading from his sanitized talking points, got into a terrible dust-up last week with AP reporter Glen Johnson — a guy who had clearly had enough of Romney. But a lot of people dismissed the incident as the work of the biased media. (They all have agendas!)

Here, though, we get a glimpse of how his fellow politicians, his fellow Republicans, aren’t overly fond of him either. The lead to the story captures the sentiment nicely:

At the end of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this month, when the Democrats joined the candidates on stage, Mitt Romney found himself momentarily alone as his counterparts mingled, looking around a bit stiffly for a companion.

The moment was emblematic of a broader reality that has helped shape the Republican contest and could take center stage again on Thursday at a debate in Florida. Within the small circle of contenders, Mr. Romney has become the most disliked.

The story goes on to detail some of the more famous anti-Romney screeds from the campaign trail, including when Mike Huckabee’s campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, admitted that he wouldn’t mind knocking Romney’s teeth out. And Dan Schnur, a former McCain advisor, said that the collective “glee” the other candidates adopt when attacking Romney is “really unique.”

Naturally, the Romney people responded by saying that it’s not personal, and that it all stems from politicians being “taught to tackle the guy on the field with the ball.” But I don’t think that’s quite right. I think it’s closer to the instinct you get when you see a guy pretending like he wants to play, puffing out his chest and going through the motions, even though it’s fairy obvious that he doesn’t like getting hit.

Speaking of:

Mr. Schnur used a schoolyard analogy to compare Mr. Romney, the ever-proper Harvard Law School and Business School graduate, to Mr. McCain, the gregarious rebel who racked up demerits and friends at the Naval Academy.

“John McCain and his friends used to beat up Mitt Romney at recess,” Mr. Schnur said.

Luckily for Romney, he doesn’t have to worry about running out of lunch money.