Sunday Afternoon Open Thread: Is Mitt Romney A Wimp?

Michael Tomasky at Newsweek:

He’s kind of lame, and he’s really … annoying. He keeps saying these … things, these incredibly off-key things. Then he apologizes immediately—with all the sincerity of a hostage. Or maybe he doesn’t: sometimes he whines about the subsequent attacks on him. But the one thing he never does? Man up, double down, take his lumps.

In 1987, this magazine created a famous hubbub by labeling George H.W. Bush a “wimp” on its cover. “The Wimp Factor.” Huge stir. And not entirely fair—the guy had been an aviator in the war, the big war, the good war, and he was even shot down out over the Pacific, cockpit drenched in smoke and fumes, at an age (20) when in most states he couldn’t even legally drink a beer. In hindsight, Poppy looks like Dirty Harry Callahan compared with Romney, who spent his war (Vietnam) in—ready?—Paris. Where he learned … French. Up to his eyeballs in deferments. Where Reagan saddled up a horse with the masculine name of El Alamein, Mitt saddles up something called Rafalca—except that he doesn’t even really do that, his wife does (dressage). And speaking of Ann—did you notice that she was the one driving the Jet Ski on their recent vacation, while Mitt rode on the back, hanging on, as Paul Begala put it to me last week, “like a helpless papoose”?

Yes, of course Willard is a wimp. Hey, he doesn’t even have the guts to admit to use his own first name! The only time Mitt feels tough is when he’s beating up on someone weaker than he is–like his opponents in the primaries. He’s still just a prep school bully who’s overcompensating for his own insecurity.

Back to Tomasky:

In some respects, he’s more weenie than wimp—socially inept; at times awkwardy ingratiating, at other times mocking those “below” him, but almost always getting the situation a little wrong, and never in a sympathetic way. The evidence resonates across too many years to deny. What kind of teenager beats up on the misfit, sissy kid, pinning him down and violently cutting his hair with a pair of school scissors—the incident from Romney’s youth that The Washington Post famously reported (and Romney famously didn’t really deny) back in May? The behavior extends, through more sedate means, into adulthood. The Salt Lake Olympics remains his greatest triumph, for which he wins deserved praise. But to many of those in the know, Romney placed a heavy asterisk next to his name by attacking the men he replaced on the Olympic Committee, smearing them in his book, even after a court threw out all the corruption charges against them.

And what kind of presidential candidate whines about a few attacks and demands an apology when the going starts to get rough? And tries to sound tough by accusing the president who killed the world’s most-wanted villain of appeasement? That’s what they call overcompensation, and it’s a dead giveaway; it’s the “tell.” This guy is nervous—terrified—about looking weak. And ironically, being terrified of looking weak makes him look weaker still.

Romney claims the Newsweek cover doesn’t bother him even a tiny little bit. It’s the first time he’s been called a wimp, he says. Really? See here and here.  The meme is catching on.  If Willard weren’t a wimp, he’d release his tax returns tomorrow and dare the media to find anything to be ashamed of. But he can’t, because he’s terrified.

Psychoanalyst Justin Frank, author of the books Bush on the Couch and Obama on the Couch, provided a first pass on Romney’s psychology at Salon. Frank notes the way Romney frequently responds to situations by seemingly speaking without thinking ahead.

When Brian Williams asked him what he thought about the London games, Romney first tried to answer the question directly – something most politicians usually don’t do. He said, “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.” He then began to talk about his own work running the 2002 SLC winter Olympics in what seemed like a canned response. What strikes me is the confidence with which he spoke and the remarkable lack of thought he exhibited. This has become a pattern for him, and not just on this trip. But it is more noticeable than before because he is largely left to his own devices, without prepared remarks that he could use in informal conversation.

In many cases, Romney ends up having to walk back his initial comments as he did in London with his criticisms of Britain’s preparations for the Olympics. Frank’s assessment of Romney so far (emphasis added):

I think the force behind this behavior is massive anxiety, pure and simple. He is anxious about revealing who he is and about interacting with people he doesn’t know. He appears to have much less experience than Obama in interacting with people from all walks of life. Basically, he is uncomfortable except within his own family and in the presence of those who share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. There are many ways to defend against overwhelming anxiety, one of which is to act certain about every answer given.

What comes out besides this sense of smiling certainty are signs of anxious contempt toward others – whether it is how the British run their Games or saying that kids who can’t afford college should borrow money from their parents. Put together, these and many similar statements – his pleasure at firing people or his belief that corporations are people (is that why he can comfortably bankrupt some?) – are all evidence of a hostility not dissimilar to stories about his bullying of others during his prep school days. At this stage, I suspect Mitt Romney is too anxious to be an effective president.

26 Comments on “Sunday Afternoon Open Thread: Is Mitt Romney A Wimp?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Bob Shieffer asks Debbie Wasserman Schultz if Romney is a wimp.

  2. List of X says:

    I think it’s not fair to describe Mitt Romney as just a wimp. He has shown himself to be pretty tough on sissy gay kids, employees of Bain-acquired firms and the poor.

    • dakinikat says:

      Great point. He’s the typical bully. He can be tough with the weak and helpless! He just whines when some one stands up to him.

      • List of X says:

        I agree, bully is a much more appropriate description. A high-functioning sociopath is another good one.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Bullies behave the way they do to overcompensate for their insecurity. That’s exactly what Romney does. If he had had the guts to just explain his lengthy exit from Bain and release multiple years of his tax returns back in the primaries, neither of these issues would be on the front burner. But he’s afraid of dealing with the consequences, so he puts it off. He’s a coward.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Interview with Romney in Israel

    • bostonboomer says:

      Mitt the liar: Obama hasn’t taken supporting an attack on Iran off the table.

      At 6:28 he addresses the Newsweek cover and criticism from McCain.

    • dakinikat says:

      I bet Netanyahu likes the fact Mitt Shady is such a push over to bigger bullies.

    • northwestrain says:

      There are some Christian denominations who do believe that the US exists solely to support Israel. According to some fundamentalists — Jews are God’s children. Mostly the focus on Israel and the Middle East have to do with End Times mythology. It is the aim of some radical fundamentalists to do whatever it takes to hasten the End Times or Apocalypse which according to the New Testament will begin in the Middle East. I’m not sure exactly how the Mormon cult feels about the End Times — if that belief exists in the LDS — but the way Mittens is placing himself as a servant of Israel. . . .

      Need to Google my own question. My Grand dad never spoke of this part of his father’s cult belief.

      • northwestrain says:

        It would seem that Evangelical Christians and Mormons held very similar beliefs in regard to the “end Times”.

        We believe that the last dispensation has begun (the preparation period for Christ’s return), that the gathering of Israel has begun, that Christ will again rule on the earth and that Satan will be bond for Christ’s millenial reign and then be loosed for a season. The work Joseph Smith has been given to do has been done–namely restore the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth, restoring the priesthood and turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers, lest He (Christ) should come and smite the earth with a curse. 

        Pasted from

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Interesting phrasing in the above quote, “turn the heart of the fathers“. I had mentioned earlier in the week that Mitt’s phrase of “change the heart of Americans” when talking to Brian Williams about the Aurora tragedy sounded disturbing to me. First using the singular form instead of plural, heart vs hearts. It sounded, to me, like he was talking about converting Americans. The phrase in your quote & Mitt’s phrase are quite similar.

      • HT says:

        I continually wonder what makes people believe and think this way. I was raised in a strict religion – when I was 8 I started to get sick every saturday night (so I wouldn’t have to go to Sunday services) when I was 12 I told my parents that I was never going again. Other kids were not on the same wavelength, including one of my sisters and continue to attend services today. How can anyone contemplate an annihilation of any congregation of people just because they don’t fit the criteria of their very narrow definition of faith. I do not blame the bible, or the Koran or any other book that was written thousands of years ago. After all, they were written by men (and men only) who had not concept of the world outside their extremely limited experience. I blame the people of today who are influenced by preachers/imams/and leader of faith who is making multi millions in propagating this insufferable concept of “the other”. It doesn’t surprise me that the Mormon’s are no different – most cults latch onto what will invest their leadership with the most money – and Mitt is a leader is he not?
        It’s bloody sad actually. Hate breeding hate and more hate. I thought I was born at a time when things would change and up till 15 years ago I still had hope. Today – they are breeding not just children, but their skewed view. That’s why they want to take over education, disable the government, eliminate regulation etc. It makes me very sad.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Peggy Sue noticed that we went over a million views this weekend.

    We’re now at 1,000,600 views on the wordpress counter.

  5. HT says:

    Congratulations on the over 1M views. Some people are paying attention!

    • pdgrey says:

      Mother of Pearl, I hope so. You are the only sane people left.

      • dakinikat says:

        Thanks for that … I have noticed there are others that are down the same path we are. Tennessee Guerrilla Women, Reclusive Leftist,and Cannonfire come to mind. I think a lot of it has to do with how concerned you are about what happens to women, the GLBT community and racial and religious minorities. What I see it boiling down to right now is completely less than perfect and total disaster!

  6. Boo Radly says:

    A Judge was interviewed on the tube -‘ there is no rational reason for what some people think/do – they are just stupid and you can’t fix stupid’. I don’t recall his name. It rang true when I thought of ‘some’ people.

    • dakinikat says:

      I try to remind myself that there is a bell curve out there in all dimensions of human attributes and behaviors and to just try an embrace it for what it is.

  7. SELRACHCO says: