The differences between the presidential candidates are becoming clearer every day. Do the American people want a man who is oratorical and focused on idealistic and populist dreams? Or does America want a man who is much more analytical and results-oriented? A recent interview of Mitt Romney by Politico gives great insights into these questions.
Romney stipulates that Barack Obama still has a high personality rating, but that along with being a “nice guy,” he is a “failed president.”
The challenger understands that not all the voters like him personally. But, he believes America is “looking for someone who can get the country growing again with more jobs and more take-home pay.” Romney said that “the president had four years to do that . . . and it didn’t work.” Romney feels he represents an alternative to the administration that began in a recession and still has not provided a clear path out of it.
Romney’s likeability dilemma is clearly on his mind. He said that “he is tired of the criticism that he is stiff, distant or not broadly liked by voters.” In his own defense, he says he was “likeable enough” to “rescue the Olympics, pioneer profit-making ideas at Bain, [and] govern a Democratic state . . .” His mantra has become “I am what I am and that’s all what I am.” Unfortunately, this quote is from the cartoon character Popeye, and not a more famous philosopher.
Romney intends to run the government like a corporation where results are transparent and will recruit business people to assist him in accomplishing his objectives. My take is that Romney believes a well-run administration must include a mix of political operatives and highly qualified experts. Together, they will be able to formulate policies that will get America back on track. Sometimes, Romney emphasizes the business approach without enough clarity. What he really should be saying, for instance, is that monetary and fiscal experts will help him plot a course out of recession and his political advisors will tell him whether the plans are what Americans and Congress want.
The most important question is whether a more business-like approach in the White House will serve our country well. Unfortunately, some Americans equate this method of operation with making money and enrichment of the wealthy. Romney has not made it clear that a more analytical approach will result in greater tangible benefits. The touchy-feely style of the present administration has not moved the country forward.
Romney also recognizes that he cannot get anything accomplished without building a consensus in Washington. A productive relationship with Congress is a critical element. He said, “I don’t know each of the senators, particularly on the other side of the aisle . . . and one of the advantages of having Paul Ryan as part of the team is he does know these people well.”
The importance of this perspective cannot be overstated. One of the greatest problems with the Obama administration is that a promise to end partisanship was broken. The president has no support from the opposition that happens to control the House, and wavering support from his own colleagues on the Hill. Romney understands this issue, so the selection of his running mate was masterful.
The current administration is unorganized and too centralized directly under the president. I get the sense that he wants to make every decision personally. One man, or woman, cannot make every decision for America. It takes a trusted team of professionals (business and political), who can do the analytics, study the impact and make recommendations to help a president govern effectively. Romney believes in a “board of directors” approach, and I believe it will be good for America. The citizens of the country will be his stockholders and direct beneficiaries of this new business-like way of governing.