Mitt’s Inability to Connect

Romney's inability to connectWhile reading another article about Romney’s plastic personality (http://nyti.ms/GYTNbW), I was struck by some of the stories that Romney could tell that would make him seem more human.  Why doesn’t he talk about the actual process of saving the Olympics, or about his family, the courtship of his wife, and how he stuck by her during multiple illnesses (unlike some candidates we know)?  If he would just give a peak at who he really is, we could more readily accept him as human — and not just as a financial and political automaton.

Just look back at our last three Presidents.  Whether you liked his policies or his shameful Oval Office antics or not, Bill Clinton was widely seen as a guy that you could hang out (or party) with.  His sappy “I feel your pain” quip somehow made people feel like he understood them.  One remarkable thing about Clinton was an almost savant-like ability to remember faces and names.  I’ve heard several people who may have met him briefly and then see him again years later, and he would recognize them and call them by name.

An entire persona was created around “W” to make us all feel like we could sit down and have a beer… I mean … a mint julep with him down on the ranch.  The redemptive story of his overcoming substance abuse added to his humanity.  And he did “a heckuva job” running the Texas Rangers.  He got a beautiful new stadium built, which led to increased revenues and steady improvement of a franchise that had been a laughingstock — with MLB commissioner being his dream job.

Barack Obama’s ability to talk honestly about race relations in a way that wasn’t threatening to white people enabled him to capture voting segments that were unattainable to African-American candidates before him — because he talked about the progress we’ve made and rising above our fears.  And though I personally feel he’s not lived up to his potential as a President, as a candidate he was good at wrapping himself in an inspirational story that connected him to many people — folks with immigrant parents, folks of mixed race, and (most importantly in our time) folks with divorced parents.  His story, and his ability to tell it, played a major role in his electoral victory, trumping his inexperience and nebulous policy positions.

Now, I’m not suggesting these “soft skills” actually qualified these men to be President.  But in our gradual cultural drift towards postmodernism, it’s apparent that Americans want to “connect” with our President in a way that past generations of political figures could not have comprehended.  In our age of 24/7 media coverage, social networks, and endless tabloids, people feel they “know” public figures — and we always want to know more.  We want the “back story.” We want the Oprah interview.  We want to know the unrealized dreams or the obstacles you overcame to achieve them.  Enquiring minds want to know!  We don’t care how many stanzas of “America the Beautiful” you can sing.  That doesn’t tell us what we want to know.  Hopefully, after he has the Republican nomination wrapped up, Romney will be able to Etch-a-Sketch a portrait of himself for us.

About Elton Conrady, Technical Editor

Elton Conrady is Technical Editor at Media Rostra. As a network engineer, Elton has worked in traditional telecom, wireless, state government, and DoD environments. While engineers are considered dull or nerdy in some social circles, Elton has attempted to be an interesting person -- he has played on a barnstorming basketball team in Europe, worked as a commercial fisherman off Kodiak Island, and lived in Croatia for 4 years. Now that he is "grown up", Elton spends his spare time fishing, camping, and hiking.

Comments

  1. Yes, the Oprah interview!!  That is exactly what we want.  🙂