When it comes to his fluctuating frontrunner status, or his sometimes awkward demeanor, or his position as the next-in-line candidate, Romney has plenty of political predecessors.
Mitt Romney would probably rather we not mention them. Most of the time, the comparisons are not too flattering.
But often when we talk about Mitt Romney it’s in the context of another political candidate or entity. Some are Democrats, some are Republicans, some are winners, and some are losers.
Rachel Maddow went all out in a segment comparing Romney to Rick Lazio, the New York politician who lost a 2000 Senate bid to Hillary Clinton and then a race for governor in 2010.
Maddow pointed out that both Lazio and Romney have reputations for being 'sober' and 'next in line' candidates. But ultimately, she said, both lack substance.
'Everything works on paper but the parts don't add up to the sum of anything,' she said.
Slate's Steve Kornacki points out that Dukakis, like Romney, was an accidental frontrunner who endured a long road to the nomination, plagued by many setbacks and defeats. Similarly, he was considered 'a broadly acceptable nominee' for his party.
Dukakis was able to get the Democratic nomination, he lost the general election in 1988 to George H.W. Bush. So while Romney probably wants his current setbacks give way to victory, he should hope that the comparison to Dukakis stops at the nomination.
Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts. Know who else was a politician from Massachusetts? John Kerry!
And like John Kerry, the line of attack goes, Mitt Romney is liberal, elitist, awkward, and French. Also like John Kerry he's a flip-flopper and he's going to lose. All of this was pretty handily summed up in a Newt Gingrich ad.
Like father, like son? The comparisons are inevitable. Both are politicians, both launched presidential campaigns. But how does Mitt Romney really compare to his dear old dad when it comes to the issues?
They're not too similar, really. Mitt sites his dad as a big influence, but in comparison George was much more liberal and much more pro-government.
Matthew Dallek, in a Politico opinion piece, says the difference is to Mitt's benefit: 'If Romney's positions now aligned with his father's from the '60s, his poll numbers today would be near the bottom of the Republican pack.'
But there may be one similarity: cringing awkwardness. Governor Jim Rhodes of Ohio described the original Romney campaign this way, 'Watching George Romney run for the presidency was like watching a duck try to make love to a football.'
Much to Romney's chagrin, his legacy at Bain Capital has become less about job creation and more about about corporate greed. In the process, comparisons have emerged between the candidate and the fictional corporate raider, Gordon Gekko, from Oliver Stone's film Wall Street.
The liberal group Americans United For Change has even launched a whole campaign, 'Romney Gekko 2012,' devoted to the comparison. Its website includes an ad attacking Romney's off-shore holdings in the Cayman Islands as well as a game where you can guess whether the source of a quote is Romney or Gekko.
Really, this comparison is all about the hair.
Mitt Romney's coif may appear like one of his finest attributes, but it can be politically polarising (it's too perfect, it's too slick, etc.).
The same issue was a problem for John Edwards, the vice-presidential and presidential candidate whose $400 hair cuts jeopardized his appeal to everyday Americans.
Since arriving in the Sunshine State, Gingrich has been pushing hard to tie Romney to unpopular former governor Charlie Crist, reminding voters that Romney has hired members of Crist's staff to work on his campaign.
A comparison to Crist is bad for Romney, because Crist was once a Republican and is now an independent, and Romney has been trying to assert his conservative credentials.
In December, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts noted that Mitt Romney's 'campaign slogan,' 'Keep America American' was the same one used by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Romney couldn't have liked that one.
One good reason for not liking that is that it wasn't entirely true. Romney had used the phrase on a few occasions, but it wasn't an official campaign slogan, and the way Romney used it did not have the same implications as the KKK slogan.
The network later formally apologized for the comparison: 'It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this, and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologise, we really do, to the Romney campaign.'
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