One of the biggest challenges for the Romney campaign will be humanizing him, and his down-to-earth wife is clearly the most powerful weapon it can deploy on this front. The campaign released a sentimental video today of Ann Romney discussing the ups and downs of raising their five sons together, as old home movie footage and pictures play in the background.
The pictures and stories paint an image of a family that – even with its “practical jokes” and “mischievousness,” as Ann Romney puts it – seems too perfect for this world. And not because Ann Romney’s portrait of her family life is unrealistic or unusual. Just because that concept of a “normal” family is no longer an ideal we’re used to seeing on screen.
President Obama’s broken family, George W. Bush’s mid-life struggle with alcohol abuse, and Bill Clinton’s public and private infidelity all seem more fitting with modern society, not only because these lifestyles are more in-tune with the average family, but because we’ve become accustomed to the idea that dysfunction is normal.
Ann Romney’s video is a good start at softening her husband’s image and making him appear more like a person – a kind, considerate and caring person, judging from the video – and less of a two-dimensional cutout. If the campaign can keep this up, they will succeed at humanizing Romney. But helping him resonate with Americans whose visions of home life are currently being shaped by the Kardashians, the “Jersey Shore” and “Glee,” might prove more difficult.