The wimp factor

In the endless quest to sell magazines, this deliberately provocative Newsweek cover is generating some buzz today.

The Mittster told CBS this morning, he “doesn’t care what the media says..” Guessing that’s probably not true.

Haven’t read the article, but I was just musing about Mitt’s social ineptitude last night. In reviewing all the bizarre rhetorical gaffes he’s made over the course of this campaign, it strikes me this is a man who never emotionally matured beyond teenage anxiety. His apparent need to establish his status and superiority by tearing down others borders on complusion.

Thinking particularly of his huge breach in disclosing his meeting with MI6, I see a guy who is still desperately trying to impress the cool kids in prep school who never fully accepted him into their inner circle. Not sure I’d classify that as wimpy, but it certainly suggests an innate insecurity that won’t serve us well should he somehow manage to gain the Oval Office.

Update: “Robert O’Brien, a foreign policy adviser for Romney, responded to the Newsweek cover“:

…The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman, who has turned around failed companies, the corruption-plagued 2002 Olympic Winter Games and an almost-bankrupt Massachusetts – against all odds in each case. Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.

Steely-nerved businessman? Don’t believe I’ve ever seen Mittster’s predatory business practices described in quite that way.






79 replies
  1. 1
    gbear says:

    I blame Obama.

    (for knowing how to pick his opponents)

  2. 2
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    Nitpick

    It’s MI6, not M16

  3. 3
  4. 4
    hueyplong says:

    Uh-oh, the optics are never good when Mitt feels the need to be butch for a day or two.

  5. 5
    Doggie D says:

    Mitt is always trying to impress SOMEbody.

  6. 6
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Newsweek is going to be online only in a few months. Guess Tina Brown’s magic shoes couldn’t save that print hellhole.

    And I believe it’s MtheletterI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6).

    ETA: I see Canuckistani Tom got there first.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    It’s funny how Romney is getting hit with everything that normally is leveled at Democrats – elitist, out of touch, from a Not Really American demographic, and now wimpy.

    Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    @Canuckistani Tom:

    The actual title is SIS, Secret Intelligence Service. MI6 is just an old name that stuck.

  9. 9
    Libby Spencer says:

    @Canuckistani Tom: Don’t know why it’s showing up in the post that way. Reads correctly in draft.

  10. 10
    WaterGirl says:

    I like how Newsweek picked a flattering photo of Mitt, actually looking like a regular person, with emotions and everything.

    Otherwise, this would be seen as a total hit piece.

  11. 11
    Libby Spencer says:

    @efgoldman: Short answer — No.

  12. 12
    Tonal Crow says:

    Rommey’s quest to redefine reality continues apace:

    I don’t pay more [taxes] than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.

    Whaaaaat?


    Tag: Romney’s worse than Sarah Palin.

  13. 13
    Goblue72 says:

    On one side we got a guy born with a silver spoon in his ass who vacations on his yacht in Canada. On the other side, a guy born to an immigrant, raised by a single mother, who climbed to the top on his own two feet. Yet the American success story has to justify himself at every turn and the aristocrat gets a free pass most of the time. (Tina Brown’s rag excluded)

    Thank god Obama is baller or we’d be totally hosed.

  14. 14
    lamh35 says:

    Methinks along with trying to sell magazines, Tina Brown is enjoying giving Mitt what’s to for dissing her birth country.

    So how soon before wingnuts tell that dirty Brit Tina Brown to go back home to her fellow pansy Brits?

  15. 15
    Libby Spencer says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Yikes. You’re both right. Checked again. I was using the number instead of the letter.

  16. 16
    Chyron HR says:

    Robert O’Brien, a foreign policy adviser for Romney, responded to the Newsweek cover

    “But my mom foreign policy adviser says I’m cool!”

  17. 17
    dmsilev says:

    The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman, who has turned around failed companies, the corruption-plagued 2002 Olympic Winter Games and an almost-bankrupt Massachusetts – against all odds in each case. Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.

    In general, if you feel obliged to make a counter-argument of this sort you’ve pretty much conceded that the original argument is valid and you’re just spraying a cloud of ink in hopes of confusing the issue.

    Also, too, Mitt Romney has spent the last several months running away from his record in Massachusetts and more recently his record at Bain. Is he really going to run on “Vote for me, I have nice kids”?

  18. 18
    bleh says:

    The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman…

    And those sacred Mormon undergarments are actually Spandex that envelops rippling muscle and enables amazing RomneyPowers(TM), which will bring Prosperity, Jobs, and Freedom to America and will defeat her enemies through Strength!

    Now stop asking silly questions about tax shelters and offshoring, and just get back to work.

  19. 19
    dmsilev says:

    Err, the linked article is from 1987 and is about G.H.W. Bush.

  20. 20
    hueyplong says:

    At this point, doesn’t “steely nerved” conjure “cheesy grits” in your head?

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @dmsilev: Completely agree. Mitt tipped his hand when he added the sentence about his family.

    Reminds me of when I was an advocate for rape victims, and in court the defense was “I didn’t do it.” “But if I did do it, it was consensual.”

    If the first sentence was truth, he wouldn’t have to buttress it with the lame “hey, somebody actually married me and we reproduced” thing.

  22. 22
    Tonal Crow says:

    @bleh:

    The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman doormat for the people who want to export your job to China.

    Fixed.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I don’t pay more [taxes] than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.

    My Country and My Patriotism. I’ll Contribute no more than the Legally Minimum Requirements.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Nothing sums up Willard like his relationship with Donald Trump, part cheap cynicism, using someone he despises to appeal to a base he despises; part desperate terror the the Possum-Touped One will make an ego run and peel off the Lowest Common Denominator vote Willard knows he could never win without.

    “Steely nerved businessman”? I’m not denying what he did at Bain required some brains and talent, but if I have the story straight, he only agreed to take the job when he had contractual guarantees that he would be made whole if Bain Capital failed.

  25. 25
    Libby Spencer says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks. Good Lord, I am screwing up this afternoon. And I haven’t even started drinking yet…

  26. 26
    S. Holland says:

    Serious question please…..does anyone else, or am I alone, in wondering how this totally socially inept, truly clueless, bungling idiot could really have run Bain?? I’m serious….how possibly could someone this stupid have really run any company!? Think about it…….

  27. 27
    S. Holland says:

    Serious question please…..does anyone else, or am I alone, in wondering how this totally socially inept, truly clueless, bungling idiot could really have run Bain?? I’m serious….how possibly could someone this stupid have really run any company!? Think about it…….

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @WaterGirl: “Vote for me! I’m Mr Ann Romney!”
    Kind of like Romneyland has convinced itself that the SLC Olympics are a presidential-level achievement, they seem to think Ann Romney, who as political player knows how to work the media and play a part, is a wildly popular and beloved national icon.

  29. 29
    Bruce S says:

    Hey, if we elect an obviously insecure Harvard MBA second-gen/second-rate GOP pol with gubernatorial experience who chooses a bunch of aggressively self-confidant neo-con foreign policy advisors because he doesn’t know dick about global affairs, what could possibly go wrong?

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    The “Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman” bit is evocative of another bit of description for a man much admired by Southern conservatives of his time, “grey-eyed man of destiny”.

    Of course, things didn’t turn out too well in the end for William Walker.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    GOP 2012: You [People] don’t pay me enough to answer the phone at 3 am in the morning.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    The “steely-nerved” part is funny in its own right — it reminds me of a quip years ago from a grad school friend, who said that David Duchovny had two facial expressions, Steely Determination and Steely Love.

    But how the hell does “he has raised a great family” rebut the notion that Romney is a wimp? Or is it just another opportunity to work in the name of Secret Weapon Ann Romney?

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @S. Holland: I suspect he’s been a figurehead surrounded by yes-men, failing upwards, for his whole life.

  34. 34
    hueyplong says:

    I don’t think he’s stupid. I think he has no experience with trying to be persuasive. He’s accustomed to (1) giving orders to people who cannot question him and (2) otherwise communicating with kindred souls who agree with him.

    Being forced to pretend to have empathy for anyone/anything is a tough thing to do when you’ve lived this long without doing it at all. He so transparently doesn’t care about anyone other than his kind that you have to wonder why he’s bothering to run for president unless it’s just an ego thing.

  35. 35
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WaterGirl: Oh, you think that’s it? “Hey, no fair, I’m not a wimp, my pen1s totally does too work!”

  36. 36
    hueyplong says:

    It’s not every day you see a reference to William Walker.

  37. 37
    Hungry Joe says:

    @S. Holland: You are not alone. If he had any talent, brains, or aptitude for anything, you’d think some glimmer of it would have shown by now.

  38. 38
    hep kitty says:

    I disagree. Perhaps Mitt is socially inept but it’s never really had to be a problem for him because of his privilege from birth so I have some doubts about him being insecure.

    Why else do you think someone thinks he can get away with insulting one of our few allies? Insecurity implies self-doubt and I don’t think Mitt ever second-guesses what he does, however ludicrous, craven or out of touch.

  39. 39
    Hal says:

    Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.

    Wow, that is totally a winning argument right there. No other person or politician has ever raised a “great” family before. Thanks you Mittster for reminding the world what your greatest qualifications for this job are; Bain, but only until 1999, and raising a family, which you effectively completed 20 years ago.

    Also, I am getting all kinds a Jack Ryan flashbacks with regards to Mitts super duper secret tax returns. I can’t help but think there is a tax equivalent of wanting a group sex experience with 7 of 9 like Obama’s old opponent Jack Ryan. Let’s hope Allen Keys is ready to take over running for President in September.

  40. 40
    Emdee says:

    I was hoping the media wouldn’t resurrect the “wimp” word that caused GHWB to go all “I’ll show you” and go into Panama and eventually Iraq. It’s not the right word, anyway. To most people, a wimp is someone who backs down from confrontation even when in the right.

    Romney’s not a wimp. He is (and I really apologize for the sexist ramifications of this word) a pussy.

    He lies like crazy about the President but wants an apology when his own actions are questioned. He not only backs down at the sign of confrontation (canceling today’s meeting with the Israeli opposition party), he quickly aligns with whoever he perceives as the strongest bully around him and starts throwing punches. And when he starts jumping on the bully bandwagon (running his own “you didn’t build that” commercials after the Super PACs pushed it so hard), he cries like a child when anyone points out his hypocrisy. He hides behind everything he possibly can at all times.

    I don’t think the word “wimp” adequately conveys that deep level of personal, non-physical cowardice. I’d love a gender-neutral term for “pussy” but I don’t have one, so until I get one, my response to every Romney whine is:

    “What a pussy.”

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    The article questions why Mitt is afraid to release his tax returns and 27% say leave Mitt alone.

  42. 42
    Bruce S says:

    @S. Holland:

    “does anyone else, or am I alone, in wondering how this totally socially inept, truly clueless, bungling idiot could really have run Bain??”

    Running Bain didn’t require any entrepreneurial genius or capacity for techonological innovation or even sales and marketing. It required a laser focus on certain clusters of numbers and how they could be manipulated to a single calculus of bottom-line advantage. The fact that a dick like Willard could become adept at that isn’t particularly surprising. There are multiple “intelligences” and Willard seems to excel in one that is very narrow, with embarrassing implications when as a presidential candidate he’s required to perform at a very high level across a broad spectrum of emotional and intellectual abilities. Reagan probably couldn’t have run Bain and was almost absurdly ill-informed, but he had performance and communication skills that were perfectly suited to campaigning for public office. There are different kinds of intellectual and emotional capacities and, for that matter, different kinds of idiocy. Romney’s problem is that he is so obviously hollow. Romney’s tenure at Bain revealed a singular talent that, frankly, isn’t serving him well as a presidential candidate – and increasingly it looks like it’s where he’s placing all of his chips.

  43. 43
    TG Chicago says:

    Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.

    Wait, is he saying that raising a family with Ann Romney requires steely nerves? That doesn’t seem very complimentary.

  44. 44
    S. Holland says:

    @FlipYrWhig: you are probably right cuz that’s all that makes any sense……

  45. 45
    S. Holland says:

    @Bruce S: Ahhhhhhh, I thank you!

  46. 46
    WereBear says:

    @Bruce S: Precisely. He’s good at deciding to pull the plug and order minions to sell off the assets.

    I mean really, does this require more expertise than hiring accountants and tax analysts? Is there anything Mitt has done that requires more than the ability to meet a payroll?

    And for that matter, the ability to hire “good help” seems to have deserted him at this juncture; judging by his spokespeople alone.

  47. 47
    stannate says:

    @Chris: “MI6, but not a word to the Eskimos.”

  48. 48
    ThresherK says:

    Finally, “wimp” used as it should be in American politics: Someone who’s insecure with himself is a wimp.

    But (here’s the secret, Newsweek), so are tuff-talkinggg gee-dropping fake Southwesterners. So are grown men who never quite got over the boyhood pastimes of playing cowboy by making a “pistol” with their hand, or pulling a bedsheet over their shoulders and saying “I’m Batman”.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WereBear: And this, to me, speaks to the strangeness of running on “Mitt Romney, Businessman.” He didn’t make money because he had an idea for a product or service, like, say, Steve Jobs or Ron Popeil or Ray Kroc, and then he hired on people and expanded and whatnot. Even the vile Koch Brothers have a fortune amassed through popular consumer products. That’s not Romney’s story AT ALL. But he talks as though it is. What he made was… deals.

  50. 50
    Ed in NJ says:

    It’s going to be fun to see what Mitt does over the next couple of days to counter the Wimp” suggestion. He can either talk tough and go on the attack, which always leads to hilarity, or he can complain about it, which makes him look like a, uh, wimp.

  51. 51
    LanceThruster says:

    @dmsilev:

    Vote for me, I have nice kids

    Doesn’t that mean in Mitt-speak that they also hold the “outcast” kids down and shear them?

  52. 52
    different-church-lady says:

    Wow, so Democrats really aren’t the only ones to get hatchet jobs from the press.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    I see this as a clear sign the press corpse has decided Mitt is a Loser; and they can pile on in the hopes he’ll do some more newsworthy Loser-type stuff.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Bob Somerby is going to pitch a fit about this.

  55. 55
    Libby Spencer says:

    Update: Found and added the correct link for the article if anybody wants to read it.

  56. 56

    I hear Mitt plays a mean game of Full Contact Sudoku.

  57. 57
    Thymezone says:

    Summing up Romney’s “business experience” :

    He played a government-assisted board game and won a huge pile of cash. Whereupon he exclaimed, “You mean, this is real money? I better hide it somewhere.”

    The end.

  58. 58
    S. Holland says:

    @Hungry Joe: Exactly!!!

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    …The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman, who has turned around failed companies, the corruption-plagued 2002 Olympic Winter Games and an almost-bankrupt Massachusetts – against all odds in each case. Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.

    Anyone else remember the theme song from The Might Hercules? That’s all I could think of when I read that desperate, fawning paean.

    Only have to alter the lyrics a little bit to get the campaign song, I guess.

    Romney Man, worship his business story.
    Romney Man, he of Olympic glory.
    Fighting for the right,
    Fighting with his might,
    With the strength of ten, ordinary men.
    __
    Romney Man, people are safe when near him.
    Romney Man, only the evil fear him.
    Softness in his eyes,
    Iron in his thighs,
    Virtue in his heart,
    Fire in every part,
    Of the Mighty Romney Man.
    __
    Join us at his side,
    Standing there with pride,
    Victory is here,
    Raise a mighty cheer,
    At the sight of Romney Man.

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    Heh. Neglected to link to the original.

  61. 61
    marv says:

    Was this just a press release or did a human being actually say “steely-nerved businessman” out loud? It just seems important to me.

  62. 62
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Wasn’t the crazy eyes cover what killed Bachmman? Mittens is dead even before the convention.

  63. 63
    gogol's wife says:

    @NotMax:

    I’m so late to this that you’re probably gone, but thanks for the nostalgia! The tune immediately came back into my head. I especially love the dreamy bridge section and the “fire in his thighs.” I used to drive people crazy singing that!

    ETA: Sorry, “iron in his thighs”!

  64. 64
    Liberty60 says:

    @Chris:

    I say “Mitt The Wimp” is a meme we need to run with.
    The red base will put up with any sort of shit from their guy, except wimpiness; they put way too much of themselves in their claim to machismo.

    Lets hammer that home every chance we get.

  65. 65
    different-church-lady says:

    @marv:

    Was this just a press release or did a human being actually say “steely-nerved businessman” out loud?

    There’s an app for it.

  66. 66
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Nerves of steel?

    I’d believe balls of brass. Ask the workers whose pensions he stole.

  67. 67
    Lurking Canadian says:

    I believe the steely-nerves part, insofar as I am supremely confident he never lost so much as five minutes’ sleep worrying about the workers and pensioners whose livelihoods he destroyed.

  68. 68
    The Pale Scot says:

    @dmsilev:

    “Vote for me, I have nice kids” “Vote for me, I have 5 strapping sons who like me never served, and they didn’t even have go to France.”

    Fixed it fer ya.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    who has turned around failed companies

    Yes, U-Turns after parasiting them of cash from assets and pensions for payouts.

    Still surprised the former victims are not whacking Corporate Vampires like Mitt left and right. What else do they have left to lose at this point?

  70. 70

    Cripes, in R-money’s response to the cover he brings up Lebanon during a paean to Regan’s steadfastness and resolve… WTF? It was a slip and he said “peace-keeping” but fuck me running. Reagan/Lebanon = terrorists winning & St Ronnie knew who they were and where to find them.

    Oh for sure – run to the St Ronnie mythology ya pussy.

  71. 71

    I give the f**** up

  72. 72
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Bruce S:

    Running Bain didn’t require any entrepreneurial genius or capacity for techonological innovation or even sales and marketing. It required hiring people with a laser focus on certain clusters of numbers and how they could be manipulated to a single calculus of bottom-line advantage.

    Fixed that for you.

    CEOs don’t crunch numbers. They’re high level sales persons.

  73. 73
    Jay C says:

    @WereBear:

    I agree, except that I was really sure that the “MSM” would only rouse itself from its Republican/onanistic torpor after the RNC at the end of August (which I still think is going to be a 21st-Century version of a Jim Crow lynching party): I’m guessing that it is only the fact that Mitt has so wonderfully succeeded in turning (so obviously very much unlike Barack Obama in 2008) his Big Pre-Nomination Foreign Tour into a buffoonish laughingstock that has let them start in on the “Romney The Loser” meme so early in the campaign.

  74. 74
    catclub says:

    @Hal: “Let’s hope Allen Keys is ready to take over running for President in September.”
    All the other candidates only suspended their campaigns. I am leaning towards Herman Cain as the replacement. A better quality Alan Keyes.

  75. 75
    AA+ Bonds says:

    There is no media, only troll

  76. 76
    Thymezone says:

    Is Romney a steely-nerved businessman?

    Hell yes. Who wouldn’t look at his record and think, that guy has a lot of fucking nerve?

  77. 77
    Bruce S says:

    7 arguingwithsignposts Says:

    Newsweek is going to be online only in a few months. Guess Tina Brown’s magic shoes couldn’t save that print hellhole.

    Tough decision when she merges sites – is it DailyWeek or NewsBeast?

  78. 78
    Chinn Romney says:

    Steely nerve indeed. It takes very large cojones to accept a gig like Bain. Heads Mitt wins, Tails Mitt wins. Gotta think that kept Mitt up at night.

  79. 79
    redshirt says:

    I’ve rolled with these level CEO’s, and for those of you who think it requires intelligence, let me tell you: Not necessarily! If you can somehow find yourself in one of these rolls (which usually does require intelligence, but not in Mitt’s case), the job is more about being a pompous dick who dresses well and knows how to please the Board of Directors. That’s it. Real work is done by everyone else.

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