Will the Real Mitt Romney Ever Let His Guard Down?
All presidential campaigns are ultimately run by the candidate. If a candidate is willing to do or say this or that, they will. If they aren’t, they won’t. So has Mitt Romney stymied suggestions by his campaign (presuming it has made them) that it run ads portraying him as someone whose character and personality is worthy of the office? If so, why? Is he that rigid? That cold? That aloof? That confident?
Voters seem perfectly open to the option of firing the president, but the Obama camp has given voters– specifically in swing states where wall-to-wall advertising is running– reason to hesitate about hiring Romney. Puzzlingly, the Romney campaign has offered very little to build up its candidate as a real human being, someone of character who’s worthy of being entrusted with the Oval Office.
The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally– not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks– seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable. Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.
As I wrote the other day, Frank Rich said not long ago that Romney’s face “doesn’t look lived in.” True. And I think lots of people feel that way. So why isn’t the campaign working to change that? I can only imagine the answer lies at the top; that Romney is so afraid of being seen as vulnerable or sensitive — or human — that he won’t allow it.
Pray tell this is the last presidential candidate we have to contend with who has daddy issues.