What’s Behind Romney’s Sincerity Problem
In a previous post, I wrote about a very revealing video of Mitt Romney. This video was filmed without Romney’s knowledge during an off-the-air conversation. In it, Romney talks sincerely and frankly in a way which we do not normally see him.
Here’s the video:
The first half of the video has the combative radio host asking Romney a series of tough questions. The second half has Romney speaking off-the-air, mostly about his church. My previous post talks a lot about this.
Aside from the religious discussion, there is another particular and very revealing thing that Romney says. It’s at the point 17:04 of the video. Here’s the transcript:
Jan Mickelson: …I take this stuff really seriously.
Mitt Romney: Oh I don’t though. For me it, this is all frivolous. *laughter* Oh come on, come on, I’m running for president…
This is a very interesting thing that Romney says, and it’s especially interesting given the way he laughs when he says it and his body language.
What Romney’s implying is that all “this stuff” – all the campaigning, all the television and radio interviews – is “frivolous.” It’s just a bunch of stupid stuff that he has to do in order to become president. It doesn’t really matter.
Now, Mitt Romney has a very big image problem. His critics accuse him of being willing to say and do whatever it takes to become president. Democrats say that Romney will flip-flop on any issue as long as it benefits him. This problem has deeply hurt Romney; it is a big reason why he lost the 2008 Republican primaries and why he’s taking so long to shake off the opposition right now.
There are a number of reasons why Romney has this problem. But one of the big reasons, and one of the most subtle of them, is illustrated in the quote above. That is, Romney’s attitude towards campaigning is a big reason why people don’t think he’s sincere. To Romney, campaigning is just a bunch of bullshit that he has to endure in order to win election. When you get down to it, that’s what means when he says “this is all frivolous.”
And it’s not the first time Romney has said this. Remember when Romney was accused of hiring undocumented immigrants? Here’s what he said in defense of himself:
So we went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals. It turns out that once question, they hired someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them.
Of course, this is a terrible attitude to have. Voters are not stupid. They can tell things like that very quickly. People are very good at intuiting what a person feels. If a candidate thinks that campaigning is dumb, they notice. Romney has that attitude. Unsurprisingly, he’s now developed a reputation of being insincere and a flip-flopper.