10 January 2012

Romney Needs Game

First, Vox:
Tagg didn't get it back then, but now at age 37 he finally understands why his father has been willing to suspend his regimented ways when it comes to his wife. ''When they were dating,'' Tagg says, ''he felt like she was way better than him, and he was really lucky to have this catch. He really genuinely still feels that way, thinks, 'I'm so lucky I've got her.' So he puts her on a pedestal.''
Mitt Romney is a tall, handsome, wealthy man with a big family. But based on this description by his son, he's also Beta at best. That incongruence between his superficial attributes and his genuine persona may explain why male and female voters alike tend to regard him with relative indifference.
This explains a lot.  Romney doesn’t really appeal to anyone (except Ann Coulter,* apparently) because there’s nothing that striking or dominant about him.  His main desire is to please voters, as evidenced by his record in Massachusetts, and this drives voters away.  Basically, he yields to others' frames instead of pulling them into his:
When Mitt Romney tied the family dog on the roof of his car in an airtight container then drove for 12 hours to Canada, he had no idea it would come back 20 years later to piss off animal lovers around the country.
But piss them off it has.  In an interview with Fox News Romney, the front runner for the Republican nomination for President, admitted that he did it, and even more claimed that the dog really liked it.
He was confronted by the interviewer who said that in Romney’s own home state of Massachusetts the law is that you cannot (even in an airtight container) put your dog on the roof of a moving vehicle because it is considered inhumane.
Romney did keep his cool in the interview, and kept going back to his stock answer of “The dog enjoyed it, he wanted to be there, he got in willingly.” [Emphasis added.  Hat tip: Will S.]
Ignoring the sad state of political journalism (the federal government is running multi-trillion-dollar deficits on an annual basis while defrauding taxpayers of billions of dollars and their future wealth, yet this reporter somehow thinks that the non-abuse of a non-human from twenty years ago is somehow relevant to the current day? Really?!), what Romney should have done is ignored the question and pursued a nominally relevant point of his own (“I love hunting with my dogs, and promise to uphold all second amendment rights…”). Alternatively, he could have told the reporter to do his job and ask about something important.  Conservatives, his presumable base, love it when candidates stick it to the media; Romney can’t go wrong with that.  Instead, he yielded to the reporter’s frame and ended up sounding like a clown.

Incidentally, if he does get the nomination, the above story should illustrate why he will lose whatever “debates” he might participate in.  In a sense, the modern political debate is nothing more than a giant fitness test, to see which candidate will yield to the frame set forth by the media.  The one that does it the least—and looks handsome in the process—wins.  Romney has the looks part of the equation, but because he feels the need to justify himself and his decisions, he will be doomed to lose because he is nothing more than a Grade A Beta who wants nothing more than to please everyone.  Voters don’t want to be pleased—protestations to the contrary notwithstanding—they want to follow a leader.  And Romney, simply put, is not a leader.  All the money from the GOP leaders won’t change that fact.

Also incidentally, this story also highlights the reason why Ron Paul stands the best chance of beating Obama.  Paul is consistent, and simply doesn’t care if people like that or not.  He’s not going to shut up about The Fed or federal foreign policy even if people don’t like it; he’s going to keep saying what he’s been saying for years, and people can get on board with it.**

* Interesting side point:  It’s interesting how a mannish female lawyer like Ann Coulter is a supporter of such a total Beta like Romney.  I seem to recall Roissy having something to say on this relationship dynamic (strong woman/weak man), but I can’t seem to find the post.

** I was listening to Rush Limbaugh earlier this week (I’m a painter by trade, and occasionally I work for a certain neo-con who loves to listen to Rush, even though I can’t stomach him), and while I was listening a caller came on and told Rush that even though she was a huge conservative, she was convinced that Ron Paul was the best choice for the united states.  The reason for this was because she thought Ron Paul appealed the most to independents and Democrats.  And why did she say this?  Because three of her sons’ friends had switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party because they liked Ron Paul.  Then Rush called her a liberal and I stopped caring.  [UPDATE: An audio excerpt of that call can be found here.]


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  2. Painter, huh? House, graphics, vehicle? My dad is an artist/sign painter/graphics guy so I have paint in my blood.

    But I didn't know that is the dog story that ppl have been railing against Romney about. The times have changed. When I was a kid I distinctly remember standing up on the bench seat of my parents' pickup truck. I remember sitting on my dad's lap while he was driving down the highway. Maybe it was the paint fumes, but maybe people just weren't as uptight.

  3. @Chuck- House.

    People probably are more uptight today. Another factor, though, is that people also have no perspective. It's a dog, for crying out loud. They love sticking their head out the windows of moving cars. Sticking on the roof of a car won't kill them.

  4. Awesome.

    19 year old #1 Son - who is entirely apolitical - is pretty interested in Ron Paul. Romney? Ha!

  5. @Borepatch- Romney is the only candidate I know of that inspires violent outbursts of voter apathy.