Mitt Romney as Al Gore: Embracing His Inner Robot

The comparisons between Al Gore and Mitt Romney are obvious — both are rich, stuffy, smart, privileged, very white men.  They both make Wonder bread seem like a spicy food.   This, however, may not be a bad thing — there has to be a reason that Wonder bread is the number one selling bread in America.  This excellent article in GQ does a great job of drawing the parallels between these two Presidential candidates.  It is a fascinating comparison, and, certainly with some merit.

It appears that the “Mitt Romney-as-Robot” message is gaining momentum in the national media and is driving his friends and family crazy.  I understand why.  America historically loves charisma.  It is the intangible quality that Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama possess — and a quality that Al Gore and Mitt Romney do not.  Charisma, of course, has little to do with whether a candidate will be a good President.  But, historically, it has a lot to do with whether a candidate will get the opportunity to be a good President.  This year feels different.  I don’t think charm is high on the list of presidential qualities that the electorate is looking for in 2012.

When I first read this GQ article my thought was:  Is this comparison a knock of Romney or a praise of Romney?  In the past, it would have certainly been a knock — an easy joke for SNL more than anything else.  Today, however, I think that it is possible that America is ready for a robot President.  The moderate swing voters who normally determine the Presidency have chosen the charismatic candidate in every election since 1976:  Carter over Ford, Reagan over Carter, Reagan over Mondale, Bush over Dukakis, Clinton over Bush, Clinton over Dole, Bush over Gore, Bush over Kerry, and Obama over McCain.  I think it is possible that these voters are, rightly or wrongly, frustrated with what many of these results have delivered for the country.  With our debt rising and international uncertainly growing, the voters may be looking for a nice warm glass of milk to settle their stomachs in 2012.  I would counsel Romney to not “open up the kimono” as one of his staffer’s joked or “unzip the real Romney” as his wife opined on the campaign trail, but, rather, embrace the calm, calculating robot within.  After all, these attempts to humanize or soften a candidate who is stiff and aloof never work well.  They reinforce the stereotype rather than changing it.  Romney is not as charismatic as Obama and no contrived photo-op is going to change this fact.

I don’t know whether Romney would be a better President than President Obama.  But I don’t think his lack of charisma will be a factor in that determination.  It would be refreshing for Romney to simply say:  “I am aloof, I am really wealthy, I do starch my underwear, I don’t know how much eggs cost, or who is pitching for the Red Sox, but I do know how to solve problems and I do know how to work hard.”  He needs to welcome Al Gore comparisons, not run from them.  I honestly think that would resonate with voters.  By embracing his inner robot, Romney gives himself the best opportunity to convince us that his solutions and ideas are better than President Obama’s solutions and ideas.  Most of us will never dine with a President, so we really don’t care whether he would be fun to have dinner with.  We do care, however, that our President can solve our problems.

About David Davies, Editor-in-Chief

David Davies is the Editor-in-Chief of Media Rostra. He is also a lawyer and a licensed minister, so he is basically distrusted by everyone on some level. He received his Political Science degree from the University of Tulsa and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas. He is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arkansas, a former "good athlete for his size," and current owner of The Law Offices of David Davies, PLLC -- an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm that has offices in Arkansas and Tennessee. He co-authored, with fellow editor, Aaron Brooks, the article entitled: “Exploring Student-Athlete Compensation: Why the NCAA Cannot Afford to Leave Athletes Uncompensated," in the University of Notre Dame’s Journal of College and University Law.


  1. I just watched a surgery where a robot took out a man’s prostate. They can be very handy to have around… 

  2. Like the dinner with the President comment and illustration.  Very true!

  3. Yes! Embrace the robot!