If Mitt Romney as presidential candidate is driven by a religious – indeed, prophetic and messianic – mission too closely held and too easily misunderstood for public words, then its essential convergence with the politics of the Republican right would be of more than biographical, cultural, or esoteric interest: It amounts to the consolidation of a new theo-political establishment waiting only for a mass-electoral mandate.
It may not be impossible to win over the electorate without invoking the deity by name, just as it may not be impossible to please a lover without saying “I love you,” or to work magic without a spell, or to meditate without a mantra, but the strain will tend to be evident, will tend to awaken suspicions, and may generally increase the likelihood of failure.
All successful politicians must by definition adapt to the system which in its pure form – something to be feared – is the system of empty opportunism (we hold empty opportunism to be self-evident). The figure of Mitt represents its nothingness exquisitely, but the meaningfulness of its meaninglessness would have at least as much to do with us and where we are with poor rich Mitt.
The economic liberal whose personality is another “private equity” is the human exponent of the universal equivalent, money, and approximates its mode of operation in his chameleonlike adaptability. Yesterday he was a social liberal, today he’s a social conservative. He doesn’t “really” care. He isn’t “really” anyone, at least as far as we’re concerned. And that’s who he is for political purposes – same as what he comes across as – no one in particular.