I suspect, at this point, everyone has heard about the video of Mitt Romney explaining how he thinks 47% of Americans are happy to depend on government for everything they need, how they think they're entitled to food and shelter, and how they would never vote for a Republican because they know Republicans are going to force them to stand on their own two feet. (No, I'm serious. He really said this. The whole video isn't released yet, so I'm still hoping for some juicy details on his Horcruxes.)
I listened to it, and I read about it, and I talked about it...and one person made a comment that suddenly made the entire campaign make a lot more sense. This commenter (on Andrew Sullivan's article on the whole mess) said that this was the first time they'd heard Romney sound comfortable and natural the entire campaign, that his awkwardness and stiffness disappeared when he started talking about how nearly half the country are parasites and leeches.
And that's when it hit me...that's why Mitt Romney seems awkward. That explains the forced grin, the leaden jokes, the quarter-hearted attempts at connecting with people on his campaign stops. It's not that he doesn't know how to deal with people, it's that he hates them. As soon as the behavior was placed into context, I recognized it instantly. We've all had to spend time around someone we really disliked, in a situation where we had to be polite with them for one reason or another. And when we do, we behave with that same stiff formality and over-rehearsed politeness. We even crack the half-hearted jokes. And deep down, what we're really thinking is, "God, I cannot wait to get away from these idiots/jackasses/insert epithet here."
I even realized that I recognized the smile. In 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas', when the Grinch has to lie to Cindy-Lou Who (who was no more than two), he gave her a sickly, pathetic imitation of a natural grin before telling her that he was only stealing her Christmas tree to fix it. THAT GRIN IS MITT ROMNEY'S SMILE. Tell me I'm wrong, here.
Thankfully, Mittster Grinch doesn't seem likely to steal this Christmas. Although, if Obama wins and someone retaliates by breaking into my house on Christmas Eve and stealing all the roast beast, I know who I'm telling the cops to investigate.