The pre-Paul Ryan poll movement in favor of President Obama may be the result of one grossly felt yet little considered aspect of the Mitt Romney campaign—Romney’s inability to fight back. Perhaps a leader’s most necessary trait is the willingness and ability to get into the trenches when it truly counts. Ryan is certainly of great assistance as he is an effective and dignified warrior and will become somewhat of a model to allow Romney to “evolve.” Yet if Romney’s pre-Ryan behavior is indicative of a hard set character, even Ryan’s influence could fall short of what is needed.
Obama has no difficulty displaying anger. In fact, he is the master of his own emotional palette. We have seen him numerous times display an attitude of conviction while at other times heard him voice a tempered pragmatism. That is, he has mastered how and when to display his anger most effectively. Because it is a carefully measured and manicured maneuver, it effectively conveys the proposition: if such a cool and respectful man can be led to anger it must be because some true injustice is at issue.
Romney, unfortunately, had been completely unable to demonstrate a passionate anger. More than his wealth, his houses, his wife’s horses, his hair, his pants, and any number of other targets thrown up to explain, Romney’s so called “inability to connect” is due to this one aspect: he does not seem capable of showing that he so desperately wants to win that he will fight like many of our leaders of past.
For months, the apparent block in Romney’s psychology was attributed by many to the notion that he felt guilty and/or ashamed of his wealth. Many of his supporters and pundits took the charge and grind away at the notion that he should be proud of his success. Romney moved significantly on the issue but not without allowing the opposition to pound away at an issue that Romney should have locked away long ago.
Now, in the face of pure lies and thuggish assaults from Obama operatives, Romney has been hamstrung and unable to voice much more than the equivalent of filing an objection at a local town hall office. Is it a wonder that some of the critical “independents” and “undecideds” can find this emotional void unbearable and conclude that at least Obama knows how to fight if and when it ever may become necessary?
The common psychological analysis of Romney suggests that his motivation comes from a deep desire to accomplish that which his father did not- the presidency. This certainly might explain his desire, ambition, and mostly, his willingness and ability to run for five years straight.
Yet, as a distinguished psychiatrist argued recently, Romney’s father may present more of an obstacle than a vision. This psychiatrist reasoned that he sees in Romney a barrier based probably upon the notion that there is something wrong or dangerous with usurping his father. The conclusion was that, ultimately, Romney would sabotage his own election. It is not so much that Romney conveys a kind of automaton in his behavior. Rather, the concern is that he is programmed to automatically sweep defeat from the jaws of victory. To great disappointment, this explanation made much of what seemed “unconnected” make sense. Perhaps even Romney’s slip in Norfolk, where he introduced Paul Ryan as the next “president,” was truly Freudian, demonstrating a compulsion to distance himself from the apparent goal.
If such hypothesis is even partially true, it does not mean that Romney does not have it in him to win. In fact, his performance post-Ryan shows signs of greater passion. Conversely, it suggests that a tremendous amount of energy is spent holding himself back and locked in such conflict. He simply needs to be released from such self-imposed limitation on his success.
Ultimately, the truth of such a theory lies with Romney. Yet, in the event that there is some morsel of truth here, it needs to be addressed immediately. Just as his supporters were able to help free him up to declare his pride in his success, they must (like Adrienne in Rocky) also help convince him it is not only ok to surpass his father, it is necessary. The fate of the nation is at stake.