Political Animal


September 12, 2012 5:21 PM Character Defects

By Ed Kilgore

The following is a long paragraph penned by Steve Erickson for TAP that is so succinct and powerful an indictment of Mitt Romney’s “character problem” that I will simply repost it without comment:

Romney’s current troubles don’t stem from miscalculation or even a duff convention in Tampa but are manifestations of his own political character as heard and witnessed over the past half-decade. This is a man who has altered his positions—not modified, not tailored, not hedged, but utterly transformed—on every single issue from abortion to climate change to the health-care reform that he signed as governor in Massachusetts. Now he runs a campaign that doesn’t want to talk about his record as governor or as a financier and that refuses to put forth an economic alternative of any detail beyond building the Alaska pipeline and lowering taxes for people like himself, even as at the same time he won’t show us what he pays in taxes now or whether he pays taxes at all. His adamant hostility to revealing anything that resembles an authentic belief or credible strategy for accelerating the recovery is not only losing Romney the choice part of the election but the referendum part as well, as the Democrats succeed in making this a referendum on Romney, not Obama. Romney’s selection of Ryan was meant both to reassure the party’s base and bathe the presidential candidate in the glow of the vice-presidential candidate’s reputation as a man of integrity and candor. As evinced by the ticket’s appearances on this past Sunday morning’s news programs and Ryan’s speech at the Republican Convention, when he blamed Obama for a plant that closed during his predecessor’s term and for a Medicare cut that Ryan himself supports and for not embracing a debt-commission report that Ryan himself opposed and for the country’s credit downgrading that Ryan himself brought about as much as any single individual, it is truth-teller Ryan who bathes in the glow of Romney’s irrefutable standing as the phoniest nominee of our lifetime.
Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Neil Bates on September 12, 2012 5:38 PM:

    Yes, good points. Don't forget the level of unfactuality in the campaign too, and the team's lack of caring. I think the line, (accurate?), "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers," is the Romney campaign's "I am not a witch" moment. If you have to say that sort of thing ... it just draws attention to the problem. Actually, it's worse because they're not even denying the issue (it was a silly thing regarding Christine O'Donnell anyway.) It's more like a "jump the shark" moment.

  • Mad_nVt on September 12, 2012 5:39 PM:


    It's almost like Romney was brainwashed by aliens or teabaggers or religious fantasists or something.

  • punaise on September 12, 2012 5:39 PM:

    a phony thing happened on the way to the forum.

  • c u n d gulag on September 12, 2012 5:41 PM:


    Mitt reminds me of some insecure teenager, desperate to at least be liked, if he can't be loved.
    He will agree with anyone on anything, no matter what they say, if he feels it will buy him some smidgen of love.

    And America is the date this craven boy wants to take to the prom - because it will validate his entire existance.

    It's pathetic and tragic when you see this in a craven, gutless, and opportunistic 65 year-old man who's running for the POTUS!

    Mitt Romney is a rich, entitled dick, and he doesn't belong anywhere near any position of power.

    Sh*t, if I had a dog, and this dick was the town's Dogcatcher, I'd keep my dog's ass at home, rather than expose it to Mitt.
    His sniffing and licking it might traumatize my pet.

  • Peter C on September 12, 2012 5:57 PM:

    And, on top of these CHARACTER flaws, Mitt has personality flaws too. He's awkward and doesn't relate well to people. He comes across as wooden and phony. He's not an exceptionally good campaigner. All of this will matter.

    It is time to go into high-gear and make this a wave election. Congress has record low approval ratings and the rats are jumping ship. We need to show that the big money now will want to shore up the Republicans in the House, but re-electing these obstructionists will just continue the bad behavior that is so distasteful to most of the public.

    The Republicans have been lock-step. They've sabotaged the recovery. They represent only the interests of the ultra-wealthy who like high unemployment. They all need to go down!

  • Zorro on September 12, 2012 6:32 PM:

    And yet, with all of these manifest flaws, Mittens has at least a 50/50 chance of being elected President. And, if you believe- as I do- that this election will be stolen if it's vaguely close, that's hardly a comforting thought.


  • rick on September 12, 2012 8:08 PM:

    Mitt shot himself in the head today. He's pretty much what you'd get if you selectively bred a pure doofus with a pure dick.

    U cant steal a landslide; can u feel the rumble?

  • Rich on September 12, 2012 8:24 PM:

    He's basically a sociopath. He's had the advantage of being held in check to some extent because of the structure of his Mormonism, but basically he's without empathy or shame. Ann is no better. There's no real center here.

  • Kathryn on September 12, 2012 9:45 PM:

    I agree with Rich. This is a man who would have a son lean over a dish to check to see if it smelled okay and then push the boys head into the dish. His sons told this cheery tale on Conan O'Brian's Show. The sooner he and Ann are gone from our midst, the better.

  • Rick B on September 12, 2012 9:46 PM:

    I'll agree with Rich that Mitt is basically a sociopath ready to do or say whatever it takes to win the Presidency. He represents the "oppressed" wealthy who are still smarting from their removal from power by FDR and the New Deal when they proved (by creating, prolonging and deepening the Great Depression) that they should be held at a great distance from the reins of power in America.

    The "conservative movement" is the effort of that small group (exemplified by the Koch Brothers and others like them) to eliminate American democracy and replace it with their beloved plutocracy.

    There is an inherent mismatch between operating a plutocracy and getting the head of the resulting government elected by a majority of the voters. That mismatch can to some extent be covered over by throwing great gobs of money into propaganda and control of the media, but at its base a plutocracy cannot maintain its privileges and still elect a government that supports stealing the wealth of the middle and working class in order to give it to the plutocrats.

    Mitt cannot find enough hardened and effective liars to staff his campaign offices. The many, many inconsistencies between the plutocracy they want in power and the democracy it takes to win nation-wide elections is simply too great to maintain for nearly a year.

    The game is nearly over, and the plutocrats are so isolated socially that they do not see their defeat coming. They still think they can steal the November election.

    They are not going to believe it when Mitt fails them.

  • xpatriate on September 12, 2012 9:49 PM:

    What in the heck were those dern elephants thinking anyway? That the rest of us wouldn't notice that R&R were lyin' weasels?

  • Zorro on September 12, 2012 10:28 PM:

    Rick, the problem is, most polls suggest a close election, not a landslide. And, as the past 3 Presidential elections demonstrate, you steal close elections ('00, '04), not landslides ('08).


  • DKDC on September 12, 2012 10:44 PM:

    Mitt my have stood a chance to win if only he could manage to exhibit an ounce of character. The fact that he can't stand up to the extremists in his own party tells me everything I need to know about him. The man is unfit for the presidency.

  • bluestatedon on September 13, 2012 1:09 AM:

    Mitt Romney has spent his whole life believing that people kiss his ass because they like the taste.

  • Rabbler on September 13, 2012 1:46 AM:

    'The Wave.' It might have that potential, but I don't think the Democrats want it. There are far too many economic conservatives(old, mostly rational definition)in the Democratic party. A real opportunity would be too embarrassing and destructive of an image of the party that they like to trot out for the base once in a while.

  • rick on September 13, 2012 6:44 AM:

    Obamas ground game combined with a huge demographic advantage will result in an easy win, maybe not a true landslide. Just my 2, I dont believe the polls.

  • low-tech cyclist on September 13, 2012 10:07 AM:

    In his response to our ambassador's death, Romney went beyond phoniness to the realm of things you wipe off your shoe so you don't track them inside. This Gollum with good hair makes us all look bad because he's one of our nation's two major candidates for President. If the GOP had any integrity (which they don't), they'd ask him to step down as nominee.