Over the past year, I’ve been watching the Republican field of candidates for President expand and contract, until at last Mitt Romney sewed up the nomination. What has astonished me about him is the sheer incompetence he’s demonstrated as a candidate. Yes, he managed to outspend and outlast others, but that’s not saying much. Given the field he was running against, it’s more amazing that it took so long than that he won. One of his main “selling points” has been his success at Bain. No question, he was very successful there, but it hasn’t translated into competence elsewhere. In some ways, he’s an example of Savant Syndrome.
Certain savants have also been shown to display advanced skill in one or more of five major areas: Art, musical abilities, calendar calculating, mathematics and spatial skills. Socially, most savants display deficiencies, generally consistent with an Autism spectrum disorder although symptoms can recede over time.
While one may dislike the way he ran Bain, one cannot deny that he was very, very successful with it. It’s when it comes to the political arena that he’s out of his depth. A look at his record as a politician shows that while he had a couple of “signature” achievements as a governor, he’s been running from them ever since. What’s been remarkable in watching his campaign is the – no other word for it – incompetence he continually demonstrates.
Whether it’s failure to release his tax returns, inability to say what he’d do in office, the continuous outright lies, and now the disaster of his overseas tour, it has been a litany of gaffs, blunders, and inability to deal with the obvious questions that lead me to question whether he’s actually capable of being President. One of the British journalists commented that he was “worse than Sarah Palin“, and in some ways, he was right. While Palin was shoved into the spotlight, Romney has been running – or preparing to run – for the past 6 years.
The reason I’m pointing out that 6 years is because almost all of the problems Romney has had stem from a lack of preparation to run, combined with poor organizational skills. It’s been “standard practice” for over 40 years for candidates to release their tax returns. As almost everyone has p0inted out, Mitt’s father was the one who started it. The only one who didn’t think that there would be questions about not doing so was … Mitt Romney. While he’s tried to walk back his time as a governor, he should have known that his current stands would be contrasted with that time. He’s made a big point of his time with Bain, so he should have known that there would be questions about that. All of these are “see them coming a mile away” items that any competent candidate would have been prepared for. Yet Mitt Romney seems to get a “deer in the headlights” look every time they’re brought up, and implausibly tries to deflect attention from them.
The organizational skills issue was highlighted during his overseas trip. When you’re running for President, you want to have experienced people brief you and you want to prepare carefully for such a thing. After all, this is your “international audition,” where you’re going to give foreign leaders – who you will be dealing with if you win – an idea of just who you are and what you’ll do. This was a “softball” trip, a chance to “look Presidential” to the American electorate. He was going to visit three old allies, all he had to do was say the proper things at the proper times, and have his staff keep “on message” and puff up the trip. Instead, in short order he insulted Great Britain, managed to irritate the Israeli press and the Palestinians, have to “walk back” a senior adviser’s suggestion about Israel and Iran, and have his press aide tell reporters to “kiss his ass” in Poland.
None of these things say anything good about Mitt Romney as a potential President. This is not a case of someone who was suddenly thrown into a campaign, who was a “last minute” choice to run. This is someone who has had a lot of time to prepare, who has been through this before. That he can’t handle the basics, that he looks unprepared and incompetent is disturbing. He’s demonstrating that he’s not capable of handling the job he’s running for.
Mitt looks like a savant. He was very, very good on Wall Street running a venture capital firm. He was even brilliant at it. But as a politician, as a potential President? He looks like an idiot. Clueless, out of touch, unprepared, and poorly organized. He’s out of his depth, and not demonstrating the capabilities he should. He needs to go back to Bain, where he was competent, because he definitely isn’t competent as a politician or a potential President.