Mitt Romney’s fair but ill-advised comments about the Olympics highlight what seems to be a recurrent subgenre of Romney gaffe: the undermining gaffe. Romney is a rich, handsome, successful man who has to slog through all kinds of tedious crap to achieve his goal of being president. Almost all the time he manages to say that he is “delighted” by anything and everything that comes his way.
But every so often the pose grows too tiresome. No, he is not delighted by your Olympic games. Romney knows how to throw an Olympics, and your Olympics sucks. What's the deal with these crap store-bought cookies? Why are you bums wearing those cheap ponchos?
The undermining gaffe occurs when Romney is trying to ingratiate himself with somebody, yet can’t help but point out that their standards of excellence don’t rise to his own. Sucking up to people is just a completely unnatural act for him.