"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."
--Joseph Stalin

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is "Likability" Killing Romney?

Will Malven

Is "likability," or the lack there of, the missing factor in this race? 

Mitt Romney is imminently qualified to be President--far more qualified than the President is, even today, and he is laughingly so when compared to the joke candidacy of Barack Obama back in 2008 (unfortunately, the joke ended up being on all Americans).

So, what is the problem?  Why is Mitt Romney, a man with a very impressive record of success and accomplishment, so far superior to that of Barack Obama that the comparison is laughable, why is he behind in almost all of the polls.  Why is this disaster of a President--clearly the worst President for the American people in the past 60 years--leading in the polls?

A number of factors are in play, not the least of which is the extreme efforts that the mainstream media have put into bolstering and promoting this President and the lengths to which they have gone to protect him from the same level of scrutiny they focus on other candidate.

However, one of the most important factors, one that seems to be ignored by many, is  . . . well, let's face it . . . MITT ROMNEY IS NOT A "LIKEABLE" GUY.

I don't like him.  I didn't like him the first time I saw him and I haven't liked him since.  Perfect hair, perfect smile, perfect family, perfect tan . . . if I saw him on a used car lot I would run, not walk, in the opposite direction. Mitt Romney exudes that "used car salesman" personality. 

Romney also exudes that "high-up on the corporate ladder" feel, you know, those guys that you rarely see in the hallway who run the whole operation and who have all the apparent warmth of a winter night in Minot North Dakota (you usually run into them just as you're returning from using the copy machine to promote your football party) .

Combine that "feel" with his squeaky-clean, holier-than-thou life-style that Mormons live (no smoking, no drinking, no coffee--no life) and you have a very steep hill to climb in convincing people to like you. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's a great guy.  Mormons usually are "great guys" (and "gals").  They have no vices, they tend to be very devout and moral, but . . . they tend to be about half-a-bubble off when it comes to being average Americans. 

Most adults have smoked cigarettes at sometime--even once--in their lives.  Most adults have swilled a few adult beverages in their lives, and coffee is the life-blood of our society.  Most people have done all that and more, which makes relating to the Mormon life-style all the more difficult for most Americans. 

I think that, in America, one can be "too perfect," too squeaky-clean.  The American people like a little dirt--not much--not anything too far outside the bounds, but a little something that brings home their humanity . . . something that makes them accessible.  The reaction to Tim Tebow reflects that same discomfort.  People like him well enough, they just don't relate to him

Yes I'm generalizing and no that's not fair, but stereo-types are based on reality--no matter how much the political correctness police try to say otherwise.

The third strike against him also touches on the "likability" factor, and that is his perceived lack of optimism. 

People are attracted to optimism--if you don't think so, look back at the Reagan/Carter race.  Reagan gave us "that shining city on the hill," Carter gave us "malaise" which came to characterize his administration.

In the clip of Romney that Mother Jones released yesterday showing Mitt speaking at a donor's meeting, gives us an image of a man who isn't positive.  Instead of optimism which says "Yes 47% of voters are arrayed against us from the start, but I believe we can win their hearts and minds with the right message," Romney's take was . . . "Well, I can't win their support, so I won't worry about convincing them, I'll just have to focus on winning the others."

Does anyone remotely believe that Ronald Reagan would have uttered those words?  Reagan was the ultimate optimist--he was a realist as well, but he had an innate confidence IN AMERICA, he had faith in our system and in our economic model.  Ronald Reagan believed in American and it was evident in everything he said or did as President.

I'm sure Mitt Romney loves this country.  I'm sure he has faith in our system.  I'm even certain he's a nice guy.  The problem is, it doesn't shine through. 

Mitt Romney believes that America can and will come back.  Mitt Romney believes that all Americans are important.   Mitt Romney believes that building a business friendly environment will return America back to it's position as world-leader.  He believes in all the right things . . .

. . . I THINK.

And therein may lie the real likability problem; Americans also like men of conviction.  It matters less what you believe than that you appear to believe it whole-heartedly.  Romney lacks core political values.

Somewhere along the line Romney made the decision that success in politics is more important that what one believes.  It is therefore not surprising that Romney has been all over the map on many issues, depending on to which audience he was speaking.  Pro-abortion rights, anti-abortion rights.  Pro-state-run healthcare, anti-state-run healthcare, pro gun laws, anti-gun laws . . . if people can't figure out where you stand, then maybe you're not standing anywhere . . . and people don't like that either.

The bottom line is that Romney's problems go way beyond the issues--in fact, most Americans agree with him on the issues.  Poll after poll show the American people favor conservative principles over those the Democrats offer.  The disconnect here is "likability."

That is a gap that I'm not certain Mitt can close.  Is it enough to defeat him?  I don't know, but it certainly doesn't accrue to his benefit.

Just my take.

Long Live Our American Republic!!!

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