One might think that with all Mitt Romney has been through since taking over the broken reins of Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympic quest, he would have added at least a wrinkle or two to his classically handsome face. Not so. Neither the prospect of an Olympic-sized, multimillion-dollar shortfall—which his wife says kept him from sleeping in the early days of his tenure—nor his recent shakedown of IOC aristocrats in Sydney seems to have added so much as a droopy eyelid to the savior from Boston.
In just over a year, the world will be looking at Salt Lake City, and looking back will be Mitt Romney. It’s not such a bad thing that he’s better looking than both Tom Welch and Dave Johnson combined. The viewers aren’t going to be pressed for scandal details; they just want their games pure and their beer even more so. If neither happens they’re not going to blame Mitt, who is classically cast as not only the savior, but also as the referee.
He’s already passed the first part—there can be little doubt left that Mitt Romney has been a brilliant addition to SLOC. And as referee, he gets to play both sides as the other combatants duke it out over such menial matters as whether to serve beer at the medals plaza. Sure, he’s already said he doesn’t want beer sold there as children may be unduly influenced. And he’s certainly aware of a bit of local hypocrisy since Miller and Marriott sell as much beer as possible (thankfully). But get real—as an “active” Mormon who was recruited specifically for his honesty, integrity and his Mormon-ness, what else is Mitt Romney going to say? Looks like a great place for a kegger?
Take the beer from the medals plaza and you still have a million some odd tourists pissed off at Salt Lake for its shallow nightlife, its maze of liquor regulations, and for shaking them down for five bucks every time they enter a different private club. Salt Lake City and Utah will take the hit on that one, not Mitt. It’s doubtful Park City will play along, but in the aftermath Utah’s liquor cops will get even by closing every bar on Main Street. By then Mitt will be long gone.
Post-Olympics, Mitt may become the poster boy of the national Republican Party. That’s gotta be his payola, and if he puts on a successful show he’ll deserve it. So far, he’s on track. After Salt Lake, he can move right into the White House. The stage is already set.