Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Mitt Romney's week-kneed leadership style


Mitt Romney was at an event yesterday when a supporter in the audience said that she thought President Obama should be tried for treason because he was "operating outside the Constitution.

It's a familiar complaint from the Tea Party right, and it gets no more coherent no matter how many times it's said. It's obnoxious every time.

Instead of correcting the woman, Romney simply went off on a tangent about how much he loved the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I don't think he broke into song, but I'm not sure.

What I do know is that the audience was supportive of the crazy woman and Romney didn't have the balls to say no, the President is not guilty of treason. He didn't have the balls to stand up to the room.

It may have been McCain's finest moment when, in the 2008 campaign, he forcefully corrected a woman for insisting Obama was an "Arab."

When it no longer mattered, some time after the event, Romney told CNN that he did not agree with the woman that Obama was guilty of treason but that he doesn't correct all the questions asked of him. Makes you wonder which audience questions he might correct, if any.

Obama's campaign commented by saying that Romney's lack of response was an indication of a lack of leadership. Not that John McCain is perfect, but you could just tell when he corrected the woman during his campaign that his moral compass wouldn't allow him to remain silent. His response was natural and sincere.

Romney is instinctively afraid to veer from his script. Criticizing an audience member who has the support of the room is not something he has the strength of character to do. Obama's people are right. That's a lack of leadership, one of the worst kind.

I've seen politicians take on a room and it can be a thing of beauty. I have no confidence that Mitt Romney has that ability. None. And I strongly suggest you understand this as a metaphor for a more ominous failing.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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