We know that no matter who wins the Republican nomination, by this time next year lots of people will be driving cars plastered with bumper stickers, showing up to rallies in, wearing T-shirts, and otherwise really, really into whoever the GOP candidate is. No matter how charisma-challenged, it is the nature of our two-party system to create adoration for presidential nominees. Primary candidates, however, are another matter. And while we know that Mitt Romney has fans -- for more than a year now, a reliable 20-something percent of Republican voters have told pollsters that he's their choice for president -- we can't say we've ever really seen one out in the wild. So we thought we'd do a little exercise: There are tons and tons of Mitt Romney T-shirts for sale (see above) on the Internet. But is there a picture of a person wearing one?
We had two ground rules: the photo had to be from this election cycle and it couldn't be on an official campaign site. And preferably the person should look happy to be wearing a Romney T-shirt. Google Images was no help, although it did introduce us to this T-shirt model. There were a few people on Twitter who said they liked some pro-Romney T-shirt designs, but no pictures of them wearing them. Over on Flickr, we found a picture of an Arizona man wearing Romney stickers on his Red Sox T-shirt on Gage Skidmore's page. But that wasn't quite what we were looking for.
Ok, then. What about the web, which is built to contain multiudes? The site Ultimitt appears to be the leading place for Romney fans to gather, but the site is pretty quiet. Most of the recent discussion threads are only active because someone is posting spam replies. And its blog roll connects to a bunch of sites that haven't been updated in months or even years, like Utahns for Mitt, the Mitt Romney Encyclopedia. The now defunct Elect Romney in 2008 is the top blog listed. Moms 4 Mitt hasn't been updated since January. Why Romney is a much better-looking site, but it looks like it's meant to promote the "Writings of Ryan" -- as in Ryan Larsen, the founder. His essays include, "A Quick Case for Capitalism." Nothing's happening on the Mitt Romney Fan Club MySpace page. Not much more is going on at the Mitt Romney Meetup page, at right.
She spent most of her time marveling at what a phony he’s been on the campaign trail. "He’s a better person than he is as a Republican candidate," she said. "I think he has very strong values, very strong principles." Example? "He has very strong values about education."
For some reason, when people talk about Mitt Romney, they can't help but use romantic metaphors. Republican voters have had brief flings with several other candidates -- Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Rick Perry -- but Romney will be the one they settle for, the line goes. "Mitt Romney, never Republicans’ dream date, hopes to be the one they marry," read one Washington Post headline. "Mitt Romney’s an arranged marriage [for Republican voters], but they’d marry Rick Perry for love," Republican consultant Rick Wilson told National Journal. It's clear that Romney lacks a certain charisma. But while some candidates have much more flamboyant fans, Romney's never fallen below less than 20 percent or so in national polls. Some people, somewhere out there, have loved Romney the whole time. Who are those guys?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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