As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Mitt, Let Us Watch as You Brush Your Perfect Hair

Gov. Mitt Romney is laboring under the mistaken impression that voters want a good technician to fix the economy. He’s wrong. They want a good technician to fix their car. They need to like and look up to their president.

And you know what? It helps to like your car mechanic too. I’ll probably bring my car back to a guy I like who’s competent even if the hose he just fixed burst forth a geyser of coolant.

In pre-convention “curtain raiser” interviews running today in USA Today and Politico, Romney declares that likability and an intimate knowledge of his persona are not what voters crave.

From the USA Today piece:

During the daytime program, he says, there will be “a series of vignettes, so people who attend the convention will get to know me a little better,” but outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, only a devoted C-SPAN viewer will see them. During prime time in the evening, when the broadcast networks are carrying the proceedings and millions of Americans tune in, “we won’t be talking about my life,” he says. “We’ll be talking about policy.”

Ever the business analyst, Romney says it’s more important to make a convincing argument than to put forward a charismatic persona, and that’s what he aims to do. “By and large, this is a campaign about big ideas and a very dramatic choice that America is about to make,” he says.

Well, all of that’s true, but we also need to hear about your life. The failure to discuss this in prime time means nobody will hear about it.

This is the Michael Dukakis approach. As some of you may remember, Dukakis in 1992 was selling “competence.” It bought him a footnote in history.

Dukakis needed to take this approach because he was a fussy and annoying character who seemed like he might get peevish if you contradicted his theory about the value of a good breakfast.

Romney seems perfectly likable and has had a compelling life. He has a record of achievement and experience that far exceeds what President Obama brought to the office. Why not tell us all about it?

In the Politico interview, Romney repeated Popeye’s “I am who I am” line three times for his interlocutors. That’s fine, nobody’s asking Romney to pretend to be Bill Clinton. But they need to have a connection with him.

Why is this such a strange concept to someone who purports to be all about leadership? There’s nothing inauthentic about telling us about yourself.

Romney’s position as a CEO was somewhat unique. Most corporate chieftains are part executive, and part public relations guru. They have to sell their product and their company to the public.

At Bain Capital, Romney wasn’t selling anything. Have you driven a Bain, or used a Bain in your kitchen? No. Bain was merely an entity for taking over failing companies and making them profitable. Romney worked logistics and massaged investors and other corporate types behind the scenes. But he didn’t have to let his hair down in public.

That has to change, at least a little.

Romney doesn’t have to mimic the narcissism of penning two autobiographies and then hurling himself onto the public stage as the Prophet of False Promises.

But if he thinks people only need to love his policies, he’s wrong.

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84 Responses to Mitt, Let Us Watch as You Brush Your Perfect Hair

  1. You are so right, Keith. Politics is a personality contest.
    Obama didn’t win in 2004 because of his ‘plans’, and he isn’t making this into a contest because of his ‘policies’.

    In a contest of personality let’s view:
    Reagan v Carter: Better and bigger Personality won.
    Bush v Dukakis: Ditto.
    Bush v Clinton: Ditto.
    Clinton v Dole: Ditto
    Bush v Gore: Ditto
    Bush v Kerry: Ditto
    Obama v McCain: Ditto.

    This might scare some, but Obama’s personality isn’t what it was in 2004. It’s a tad even at the moment with Romney’s…. that’s why it’s so close right now.

    • He isn’t attacking, he is giving advice. He is saying that Romney needs to talk more about who he is and what he does. He needs to get people to like him as well as respect him. Obama won last time with just being liked, there was nothing to respect in terms of accomplishment. Voters like to vote for someone they like and who they think likes them too. That’s all that is being pointed out in this article. It is a critique of Romney’s campaign style, not of Romney himself.

  2. I think he is starting to get some personal stories out there. CNN had something on last night as well as Chris Wallace Sunday morning. Unfortunatly,he is probably going to have to resort to what the current President is doing and appeal to those who vote on likability not policy. I heard this morning Obama did an interview with “Glamour “magazine! Now there’s a real hard hitting news mag!! Its pathitic that thats what politicians have to do to win votes!!

  3. Well as an old twice divorced woman of a certain age comes wisdom. Do I care
    if Mitt tells me his life story? No we’ve seen enough to know the quality of the
    man at least those who would vote for him and you wouldn’t see it on the MSM
    anyway. I want to know how he will take care of our country finances and all.
    A smooth operator like Obama will tell you want to hear in honey tones and make you swoon. But in the morning he will be gone Mitt will be by
    your side come rain or shine. Give me substance over an amateur actor.

    • Amen to that one! He’s a nice-looking, well educated man, smiling, faithful husband, wants his family around, doesn’t seem to cultivate vacuous celebs, has used his talents to make money and also to serve his country, which he is open about loving. I am in.

      • Quote from Mitt Romney’s campaign letter:

        “My father, who never graduated from college, apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan. By word and deed, my father taught me that with an honest dream and hard work, anything was possible. That’s the America I believe in.”

        Mitt Romney is a great example of someone our children, grandchildren, and all Americans can admire. He will be a President of the USA of whom they and we, as well as World leaders, will RESPECT! He will be EVERYTHING that is missing in BHO! jb

    • Unfortunately, Romney has to appeal to the young if he stands a chance of winning. We know the young care nothing about substance and all about celebrity, looks and fashion and how much one posts to Facebook and how many tweets are sent each day. Obama understands this because he thinks and acts just like they do. His campaign understands this. And remember, Obama is the first president who grew up entirely in the climate of the current culture-the promiscuous, co-habit but don’t marry until the baby is born, if then-it’s all about ME-don’t have to be individually responsible for anything-live with Mom until late 30’s-perpetual adolescent-living off the capital and labor, industriousness and sacrifices of previous generations culture. And he is the perfect politically correct, bi-racial, abandoned by parents, recipient of affirmative action, never in the military, anti-war, pro-baby killing 21st century man. Intolerant of Constitutional restrictions, tolerant of perversity, and redistribution of wealth, all of which the young agree with and demand.

  4. Even Fox News is banging the “he’s not likable” drum, so I’m not sure if he’ll ever really break through on that. I like him, other people I know like him, my 87-year-old mother who can’t stand Obama likes him…and none of us needed to be “convinced” – guess it’s a testament to his “I am who I am” approach.

    With all the problems this country is facing right now, it shouldn’t even matter if he’s “likable” or not…but if people choose to go with Barry again on that premise, then this country gets what it deserves the next four years.

  5. I don’t want a new best friend. I want a strong, proven leader as the President of our country. I will not base my voting choice on appearance or personality. I do not believe that these thoughts are different from most citizens.

    • So true Aileen. It’s like I always told my kids. I am not going to be your best friend. I am your parent and I will behave like a parent and give you structure and rules and guidance and love, but not hang out with you at the pool party. Obama seems to want to be everyone’s best friend, I’m guessing because, from what I can see, he doesn’t have any old friends like many of us have from childhood. He seems cold and distant, as if friendship is beneath him.

      Like Aileen, I also will not be voting on appearance or personality.

      • Truly I don’t think he has friends I think his marriage is very Clinton like.
        So he gravitates to anyone who will make him feel special. I don’t want
        a needy leader I want a strong one if he’s not sparkling I could care less.

    • Same here Aileen.

      I just want a decent competent president who loves and respects America and all that it stands for, and someone who has enough respect for himself to be able to respect all Americans. Unlike the present “leadership”, I want a leader I can respect, and someone who says what he means and means what he says. Further, I don’t want to be lectured to, and I don’t want my president constantly in my face unless he has something important to tell me. I want a strong, sober adult who will treat me as adult.

        • And by the way, although this counts for next to nothing, I think Romney would “get” me as a writer, businesswoman, older person. I don’t think he’d glaze over or walk away because I am overweight, not black, not a celeb or not someone who could contribute to him. In the Fox piece, the Romneys said they buy his shirts at Costco and he irons them himself–they don’t have servants bec they like their privacy. Well, I don’t have servants, either.

          • Star – You hit on such a good point…they always have those stupid polls asking “Who would you rather have a beer with?” – and, for me, it would be a no-brainer in choosing Romney. As a writer, businessman, and soon-to-be older person myself, I know he would “get” me, too, and it would be a great conversation.

            Barry would have no interest in me, and, frankly, the feeling is mutual.

  6. I love (not like) the fact that Romney is the polar opposite of Obama. I love the fact that he will roll up his sleeves and put in 10 hour days in the Oval. I love the fact that this first couple will not be using the U.S. Treasury as their personal ATM machine. I love the fact that a President Romney will not be in our faces 24/7. And I love the fact that Romney loves this country as much as we do. Oh, and I LOVE the fact that First Lady Ann will not be doing potato sack races and sweaty Big Loser work-out sessions in the East Room!

    • She will be a wonderful First Lady. I can see pictures of the White House at Christmas with all the Romney’s decorating the trees with
      traditional ornaments America returns!

  7. Mitt is a genuine, honest, faithful man who loves this country. He doesn’t need this job to boost his ego. He is the antithesis of Obama. What’s not to like?

  8. I know all I need to know….and the ones that don’t never will.

    The current -resident interviews with “Glamour” ragazine! Disgusting….

  9. I have to respectfully disagree with you Keith. We’ve had enough of the snake oil salesman and his narcissistic cult of personality. Time to elect a humble man and his number-crunching geek sidekick to bring our ship of state back from brink. Think it was Larry Sabato who said Americans have been so polarized over the past few years that there are very few if any undecided voters at this point. That’s something else we can thank the divider in chief for.

    Romney doesn’t have to sell us anything. All he has to do is be honest. He needs to look us in eyes and tell us what his plans are to restore America, without the aid of a teleprompter hopefully. Lie to us, and you’re outta there in four years…just like President Kardashian will be come November.

  10. Meanwhile, two more American servicemen killed today by “accidental” shooting by an Afghan police trainee who tripped and fell. Causing his weapon to fire thus killing both.

    Hmmm. Obama’s war is not going well.

  11. Well, if its about personality, which candidate does this describe?

    1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
    2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    3. Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    4. Requires excessive admiration
    5. Has a sense of entitlement
    6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
    7. Lacks empathy
    8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
    9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

    http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html

    You only need five of these to be able to certify a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Someone running for President has demonstrated all nine. Hint; not Romney.

    Look at the list again. From this, some people get “likeable”?

    • Gen. Chuck Yeager (Ret.) in his biography, “Press On”, said it best simply as “If you can do it, it ain’t braggin.” Private business experience, Winter Olympics, Gov of a State. Great resume for the top executive and commander in chief for a country of 313 million if you ask me.
      BTW, Yeager has a choice story about the Neil Armstrong as a young Test pilot that is pretty funny.

  12. I’m not worried – he will do fine. Let the people around him – his wife, Rubio, Christie, his family, friends, etc. tout his generosity. He can do some of that, but really – do we need to be wined and dined by him? Just compare him to the way Pres. Obama released a picture looking at the moon when commenting on Neil Armstrong – Need I say more.

  13. I think Keith’s point is that to attract people on the fence, Romney needs to come across more personally. We people here do not have to be convinced, we already are that he’s the right person for the job. Is that a comment about the stupidity of many American voters, it sure is but its also reality. We have a lot of people like that to thank for Obama’s win in 2008.

  14. I concur with you here. I like Mitt Romney just the way he is. I am glad that he doesn´t participate in frivolous entertainment shows and magazines just like…oh, you know who. It wouldn´t be natural for him, he is a serious man. Why not let the charming Ann Romney do the talking about personal issues ? She is much better here, I believe. No, I want Romney and Ryan to appear as serious, competent men who are here to restore the US.

  15. Keith, I must disagree with you. It is very disappointing to see the cult of personality take over politics. Once politics was about ideas, goals for the country, and values. Now, many people are more interested in electing a person they would like to have dinner with, rather than someone who shares their views on what this country is, and should be, about. I was about to say that the cult of “personality politics” ultimately will prove harmful to the country. But then I realized, “personality politics” already has harmed America. President Obama was elected because the people bought into this view that personality, as opposed to the beliefs and values, matters.

    • I think politics has always been a cult of personality and that personality reflects the dominant culture. An Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton personality reflected the dominant culture of their times, didn’t it?

      • But those “personalities” (re: Ike, JFK, Reagan, Clinton) had a REAL PERSON behind them.
        Unlike ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ with all his questionable records: “birth certificate”?, SEALED “college records”?, work as a “community organizer”?, “missing” Illinois political records?…

        • His records in Illinois aren’t missing, he was too lazy to keep them. However, the Illinois legislature was not. Every one of his votes, mostly “present”, is recorded in the record of the General Assembly. So is his phony “sponsorship” of the bills that Emile Jones, Jr. put his name on to “give him legislative credibility.” Seriously, Jones said that when asked why he put Obama’s name on bills he had nothing to do with. Obama claimed “they couldn’t have passed without me”, but he lied, as usual.

        • Obama is a real person according to his supporters and according to a lot of people who voted for him. He really is a true representative of the following people:

          1. Blacks. Vote for him merely because he is partially black. They do not care that he and the Democratic (sic) Party are simply their modern slave masters.

          2. Those receiving some kind of government (taxpayer) assistance. An ever-expanding number.

          3. Those who really believe government exists to solve problems, create jobs, and cares about the little people.

          4. Most people between the ages of 18-30 who like Obama, experience a gilded life who have never had to sacrifice anything to live the good life possible only because of the sacrifices of the generations before them. They believe it is their birthright to enjoy their gadgets, their new fashions, their monthly allowance from Mom or Dad, their pot, their alcohol, and their college subsidies paid for by taxpayers. Those who served or are serving in the military are the exception.

          5. Some seniors who have lived off the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security, built their lives around the false promises of the government, and are used to that monthly government check which they believe will continue only if the caring, compassionate Democrats are the majority.

          None of these people seem to care a hoot about Obama’s past, his mentor’s, friends, and associates, or anything else a mature, intelligent, informed, citizen considers important when choosing a candidate for public office.

  16. After surviving four years of the horrendous Obummer economy, with not one single economic number looking good or even showing signs of improvement – unemployment, GDP, housing values, gas prices, etc. – I think that enough Americans have wised up and realized that this is what you get with an American Idol presidency. People need to wake up, grow the hell up, get serious and realize that it’s time to elect a strong leader (and VP also) who knows WTF he’s doing and can get the job done.

    As far as this likability crap, I have never understood the problem with Romney. While we’re not on his level as far as wealth, I have to say that all of my friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues are much more similar to Romney in terms of style and character than the beer-guzzling temporary Preezy. I don’t care if anyone thinks that’s boring but I’d rather surround myself with good people who love their families, are intelligent, hard-working, dependable, solid individuals than some celebrity ass-kissing, basketball playing, constantly goofing off, or playing golf, or vacationing, low accomplishment, poser, lying, narcissistic moron.

    • We may understand that substance is more important than appearances. However, many vote on the latter, unfortunately.

      I know nothing about President Taft, but can you even imagine someone of his size and appearance even being considered for the presidency nowadays?

      Mr. Obama walks the walk, talks the talk, and has the look that many want their president to have.

      • I don’t get warm fuzzies over Mitt. However, I don’t need to. I use to work in Corporate America where our CEO was very competent yet seemed very aloof. The more he led the company with integrity and solid morals the less one cared whether he was personable or not. He was an incredibly well-educated and intelligent man who steered the company in a way that benefited him and all other employees, as well as vendors, other companies we worked with, etc. This is what endeared him to us, his employees. That is how I feel about Romney. Whether I can relate to him or not, I feel confident he is capable of effectively leading.

  17. Can we agree that Romney isn’t “bubbly” and doesn’t wear a sh*t eatin’ grin 24/7. OTOH, “bubbles” pop and “grins” wear thin, particularly when they’re worn as a veneer. If it comes down to “Father Knows Best” or another season of the “Kardashians” – it’s an easy enough decision for adults. Unfortunately, there are too many who have never seen the former and think the latter is “normal”.

    • Can we also agree that Romney’s team is woefully short of women and that Dems will raise problems with his Mormonism that he’s going to have to figure out how to deal with? This is a flawed candidate and those flaws are going to become more apparent the closer we get

      Romney has enjoyed a relatively easy ride so far. The Bain attacks weren’t all that devastating, ham-handed as they were. It’s about to get a heluva lot nastier on the campaign trail. Let’s hope Mitt’s up to it.

      • “Dems will raise problems with his Mormonism …”

        Maybe Romney can ask Harry Reid for pointers – doesn’t seem to bother the Dems.

        • How true and regarding the women the lineup of speakers Obama
          has headed by Sandra Fluke is a sideshow to avoid the issues like
          jobs and the economy. Birth control pills won’t get Ms Fluke a job
          a good time maybe but I doubt it will pay the rent!!

      • I don’t think our, uh, “Christian” President really wants to get into religion. That strategy will probably go “to the dogs” as well!

  18. I understand Mormons are to go abroad to ‘spread Their religion’, usually 3rd world nations (re: Africa, S.America, Pacific Islands); But Mitt Romney went to FRANCE to ‘spread the Mormon religion’…?

  19. Keith, I see your point. This morning I watch a C Span program sponsored by Politico. They interviewed Karl Rove for 30 minutes. He make a point similar to what you are getting at. He said voters will be looking at a candidate and ask themselves do they want to invite him into their living rooms for the next 4 years.

    Certain people connect.. I go back to FDR and remember the day he died. My mother was putting the finishing touches on my birthday cake. She was crying up a storm. As a 6 year old boy it did not compute. There was a story that when FDR’s casket was moved to the train for the trip to Hyde Park there was a guy there crying. A reporter asked him if he knew FDR. His reply was …no, but FDR knew me.

    Rove went on to say Eleanor Roosevelt had it and so did Barbara Bush.

    • Well, Mitt has to be actually nominated by the Republican Party and elected to the White House before we’ll really get to know him.

      After almost four years in office does anyone really know Obama?

        • Yeah, he’s not a bill written on paper. When the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for peanuts did they know they were selling one of the greatest baseball players to ever live? No, that wasn’t known until he actually played the game.

  20. From the personal stories I’ve read about Mitt rolling up his sleeves and just helping people with a can-do attitude because that is what needs to be done, my guess is that he finds “narcissism” to be somewhere between irritating and irrelevant. This is a brilliant man who is more focused on accomplishing the goal than being fawned over. Probably also bristles at losing all family privacy; something worth protecting. Still I think you are right, we need to see Romney the man. I watched the Chris Wallace interview and really appreciated getting more background on Romney. I was going to vote for him (or I should say against Obama), already, but I would love to really feel good about the man who will sit in the Oval Office. Some of us out here still try to gauge the personal integrity of those we elect, recognizing that most of what we see is packaging. I respect Romney for not wanting to be packaged, but I do like learning more about the good man that he is.

    • I do not have visions of Romney coming into the Oval Office at 10:30 in the morning or him putting his feet up on the desk while he has a chit-chat on the telephone.

      I hope the campaign used Ann Romney. She connects.

    • Susan, I’m sorry to say this but I believe the Republican Party leadership is so out of touch with reality, they have no clue as to how to stop the Progressives from destroying us. In fact, I believe they are working towards the same goals-one world government-except they expect to be the rulers rather than the Progressives. How else do you explain the nominations of George W. Bush, John McCain, and now Romney? How else do you explain their utter failure when they had both the presidency and the House? They just don’t represent true conservatism, Republicanism, or represent any of the principles and values we need resurrected to survive as a Constitutional Republic. By the way, did you know Ronald Reagan nominated Eric Holder as a judge? It seems even he was fooled.

      • I really thought the party could be reformed. Why pick a fight with grass roots less than 3 months before the most important election of our lifetime? You’re right Elaine, the party elites are either out of touch with reality or they are complicit. I have a feeling it’s the latter. The Bushies won’t give up control without a fight. They would rather lose the country to tyranny rather than share a table with the Tea Party. At least now I know why Sarah Palin didn’t go to Tampa.

    • Rome wasn’t built in a day and the culling of Rinos [by election of course] will take more than one or two election cycles. The progressives, on both sides of the aisle, have been at it for a 100 years. I think we need to look at changes, small and large, like a “political 401k” – we keep at it, keep saving the good stocks, sell-off the bad ones and hopefully, our political portfolio will eventually be worthy.

      • You’re right, Sadie. Guess I’m impatient because I’d like to make sure this magnificent country is in good hands when I leave this earth. Time is getting short for my generation.

        • There’s something in the air, something good. MrO’s pleadings for donations are sounding desperate, while MrR’s sound positive and hopeful.

          A piece now in Politico.com about MrO sitting for an interview with Glamor magazine has about a 1,000 comments. The comments range from disgust to ridicule. It’s worth the read.

        • Susan – Impatience is fine, it just means you’re not passive. I have mixed feelings about Sarah Palin not attending. A friend, many years ago, said he wanted to run for a position in local politics. I suggested at the time, it was easier to rattle the cage when you’re not locked in “it”. We all become dismissive of politician’s promises. I’d like to see a cadre of Sarah Palins rattling cages and not just during election cycles.

          Suggested read for one and all here: FrontPage Magazine today. It takes a look at Grover Norquist and the American Conservative Union.

      • I’m sorry but it doesn’t look as though this election cycle is one where rebuilding of anything necessary to save our Republic is evident. Not many, if any, election cycles are left.

  21. Breaking News: Robert Gibbs, Antonio Villaraigosa and Maryland Gov. O’Malley are setting up a ‘war room’ in Tampa – a few blocks away from the Convention center. They will hold a Press Conference this morning to attack Romney and Bain.

    There isn’t a dumber person on the planet than L.A. mayor, Villaraigosa. I’m serious. He is borderline illiterate and he is also the Convention Chair. It figures.

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/08/obama-camp-dispatches-gibbs-to-tampa-133451.html

    • The chair-stiiters on today’s MSNBC’s MorningJoe were discussing how this campaign has become all about Romney/Ryan on both sides. The Obama campaign only talks about the 2-R’s and of course, so does the Romney campaign.
      Now, as if to prove the point of the MSNBC group, the O campaign is sending MrGibbs, et al, to Tampa to talk about…..Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

  22. Read this and weep,these stats are just for the month of August.Companies that have laidoff,filed bankruptcy or closed.This is Obamas americahttp://www.dailyjobcuts.com/

  23. I am not sure on the Romney does not have enough women on staff–that what’s her name–Little Debbie and the other one, Cutter, not to mention that birth control beggar, sure don’t give women in politics a good name. I don’t expect Palin to be out in front on this one–she did not support the candidate as I understand it–this is hardball (sorry, Matthews term). Also, don’t hit me, but we have heard her a time or two.

    I agree with SrDem and some others–the agitprop machine is in full rev. My soon to be exc-paper, The Arizona Republic, is now running two cartoons–so cutesy…one liberal, one conservative. Cancel each other! Get it? I am so tired. Obama has worn me down to nothing.

  24. Well….our little “crook in chief” has already proven that you can’t use the Popeye adage. The problem with this country is that you can have the best CEO as a businessman, but if you have bickering and “posing” ninnies in the basement (Senate and Congress) who “appropriate” everything…you can’t do a damned thing….Time to WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN from Obama on down….Both houses….Toss them all out and re-elect some “new blood”

    And yes…Obama ain’t who he claims to be. You can’t replace the foundation on an old house if it still has the same old rotten “roof”…..