Friday, August 24, 2012

Who Is Mitt Romney?

Presidential campaigns almost always package their candidate as a kind of demi-god.  There's no mystery about this.  Modern presidents are almost always presented as the Father of their country, a leader of the American tribe, and presidential handlers naturally want to touch the mystic chords of memory that attach humans to their tribal leader.

In the case of Barack Obama, this reached a crescendo of kitsch in the famous acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention at which he spoke in front of a faux Greek temple.  The good thing about all the messianic rubbish of 2008 is that the real Obama came nothing near the absurd image that the liberal echo-chamber gave us.  People are disappointed, even demoralized.

Mitt Romney, in the Wall Street Journal today seems not to care about his "image," the perception that people get of Romney the man.
[T]he former businessman and governor, who gets more respect than adoration from voters, vows in an interview that he won't be part of the celebrity-style culture often favored by politicians. Despite pressure to be more revealing, he says he won't use his campaign as "a way to personalize me like I'm a piece of meat."
No doubt.  But you can be sure that his handlers are focused like lasers on using next week's Republican National Convention to get out to the voters an idea of who Mitt Romney is.

Probably he is not much more that what he seems, a results-focused business executive who has lived in the world of private equity, getting new businesses off the ground and trying to fix troubled businesses and turn them around.

Really, if you wanted to pick a guy to symbolize what America needs after a generation of putting things off, it would be the guy who writes, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, about fixing a problem of fraudulent billing at a Bain Capital company.  A competitor had been fined for fraudulent billing, so Mitt decided they had better check up on their diagnostic laboratory company, Damon.  Sure enough, Damon was doing it too.  So Mitt swung into action and audited Damon.  Writes Mitt:
The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.
There is a military motto that says the same thing:  "March towards the sound of the guns."  Why?  Because if you get to the battle-field in time you will have a chance to decide the outcome.

This tells us that Mitt Romney is a classic leader with the will to win.

In the old days, military leaders ran a highly disciplined organization that used soldiers like dumb pawns in a game of chess.  And big government followed the example of early-modern armies, building rigid bureaucracies.  Same with big business and its rigid assembly lines.

But eventually military and business leaders changed their organization model.  They changed to the model advocated by Gen. Hans von Seeckt in the 1920s, who wanted soldiers that were "self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility."

Now every army wants the same, and every business too.  That is why businesses are always going on about "teams."  That is why Bain Capital always worked hard to educate and train the people they supported with their money.  They knew that success wasn't about the money; it was about the team.

But there is one sector of America that hasn't got the message.  It is liberals and big government.  That is why President Obama pushed through his ludicrous ObamaCare that will reduce health care to a single rigid one-size-fits-all administrative program, run from the top down with no self-reliance, no dedication, and no joyful responsibility.  Just political blame games.

The problem with big government is not just that it is cumbersome and ineffective and that, when it really gets serious, as in the Soviet Union and Mao's China, its centralized plans end up killing people in their millions.  The problem is that big government is inhuman.

Barack Obama comes from a world that hasn't got the message.  Mitt Romney comes from a world that has.  So America has a choice this fall.

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