In my prior life as a news anchor, on one of the group of radio stations I worked for (the politically left-leaning talk station), I used nicknames for a lot of the people in the news. I clearly labeled the 5-minute news breaks “news and comment”, just in case some dweeb with a room-temperature IQ couldn’t figure out that opinion was involved.
I called Juan Jose Lopez “double-J-Lo” in his role as a Madison School Board member. Juan and I are friends and he actually enjoyed the nickname, and understood that the ribbing I’d often give him on the air was not mean-spirited. Once, while on the air, Juan called me “a fellow big-and-tall customer”, which was not only true, but funny. I called Madison state senator Fred Risser, the longest-serving member of a state legislature in the US, “Great-Grandpa Risser”. I called Madison School Board member Carol Carstenson “Grandma Carstenson” – which a lot of hard lefties thought was a slam, but as I often explained, it was because of Carol’s deep concern for all the school children of Madison, like a surrogate grandmother to them all.
There were a score of other nicknames I used, so many that a former columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal once published a list of them.
My favorite, I think, was “Boss Bruer”, my nickname for south-side Madison alderman and long-time city council member Tim Bruer. For several years, I owned a home in his council district, and even put up yard signs for Tim when he campaigned for re-election. I called him “Boss” in the political sense, for many reasons: his long tenure as the voice of the south side of the city; his personal attention to any municipal issue you brought to his attention; his relentless fight against the city constantly siting low-income facilities on the south side; his championing of the renovation of the Park Street corridor; and many others. If you had a problem, you talked to Tim, and he’d shoot straight with you. Boss Bruer.
I’ve decided to call Mitt Romney “Boss Romney” for different reasons. Knowing Romney’s history and watching his performance in the debates during the Republican Primary and now in the Presidential race, he appears to me as a man who is used to being “the Boss” in the sense that he RUNS things. He’s used to being in charge. He’s not used to being disagreed with and obviously dislikes it.
This is a guy who, representing huge sums of other people’s money (Bain Capital was not Mitt’s money, sports fans, it was other people’s money), would stride into corporate board rooms and tell CEO’s and COO’s and CFO’s what they should be doing. Giving orders. Issuing commands.
He is not accustomed to being disagreed with, and it shows, when another candidate calls him on a point of difference, whether it be a difference in opinion or a difference about what’s factual and what isn’t.
Mitt is used to being THE BOSS.
In a few weeks, we’ll know how that image has played out with the American people. Because, let’s face it: unfortunately, this whole thing is more about style than substance.