On Wednesday night's edition of "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert took on the issue of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R)'s lack of likability. In televised debates, on the stump and in interviews, the presumptive Republican nominee comes off as wooden, condescending and insincere, no matter how many folksy regional colloquialisms he tries to weave into his speech or bowls of "cheesy grits" he brags about eating.
The issue, of course, is democracy. "Our elections," said Colbert, "have come down to who people like more. It's like democracy is some kind of popularity contest."
Isn't that always the problem? You'd have thought that the ancient Greeks would have had the foresight when they were inventing democracy to provide for the unique challenges posed in a democratic system for a man as singularly unlikable as Mitt Romney.
Colbert says he doesn't know how it happened, but Romney has gotten a reputation as a candidate who is incapable of connecting to the common man, "no matter how hard he fires them."
Colbert rolled a series of clips from the campaign trail. Romney talking about how his wife Ann drives "a couple of Cadillacs," Romney expressing suspicion about the cookies he's being served ("They look like they come from the local 7-11 bakery," he said.), Romney doing a painfully bad, cornpone southern accent.
"On Monday, Mitt once and for all dispelled his image of a detached, tone-deaf, body-snatching pod creature," said Colbert. Speaking at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Mississippi, the multi-millionaire said that for most of the people before him, fallout from the economic crisis has been relatively minor.
"I know that people in this room are probably doing relatively well," said the candidate, "but not everyone in America is doing so well right now. The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they're not having a good year."
"I'm guessing their year felt worse and worse as the night went on," Colbert said. "Nation, that is how you connect with average people, because there's nothing blue collar Joes like more than having their struggles pointed out in front of a room full of rich people they are serving."
Watch the clip, embedded via Comedy Central, below: