RSS
Is Romney 'too perfect' to be president?
On paper and on television, Mitt Romney looks like archetypal presidential material. Maybe that's why so many people don't like him
 
Mitt Romney's business success, beautiful wife, and "relentlessly handsome face" may make it hard for many struggling Americans to relate to the GOP presidential frontrunner, pundits say.
Mitt Romney's business success, beautiful wife, and "relentlessly handsome face" may make it hard for many struggling Americans to relate to the GOP presidential frontrunner, pundits say.
Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Super-wealthy GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is often portrayed as someone who struggles to connect with regular voters. But in fact, he has the opposite problem, says Kathleen Parker at The Washington Post. "People can't connect with him." Americans like slightly flawed politicians — think Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton — who have fallen just like the rest of us. What's flawed about Romney? "Nada." He has a "picture-perfect résumé of skills and accomplishments," a bulging bank account, a "relentlessly handsome face," a beautiful wife he's happily married to, and "he goes to bed the same way he woke up — sober, uncaffeinated, seamless, and smiling." Is Romney, in effect, "too perfect" to win the presidency?

Yes. Mitt's aesthetic perfection works against him: Romney has a robot problem, says Brian Fung at The Atlantic. When people encounter robots that are too human-like, they're unsettled and repulsed by the imperfections. And Romney "looks just enough like the perfect picture of an American president to make us uncomfortable." On TV, Romney "radiates presidential qualities from every patrician pore," so it's jarring when he has awkward moments that a flawless TV president wouldn't. He's "the politician from central casting who is stumbling through an audition for a role of regular human."
"The uncanny valley: What robot theory tells us about Mitt Romney"

No. Romney's problem is that he's a phony: Let's be honest, says Scott Galupo at U.S. News. Romney's problem isn't that people can't relate to him. "Al Gore managed to win the popular vote, after all." Romney suffers because "he's a transparent phony," a "rancid impostor" willing to say or do anything for political gain. Far from being "too perfect," when it comes to "intellectual honesty" Romney is "all too human."
"Mitt Romney isn't too perfect — He's too phony"

He just needs to embrace his perfection: The Gore analogy is apt, says Jacob Weisberg at Slate, because like Gore and "similarly unloved Democratic" nominee John Kerry, Romney is "too handsome, too rich, and too pompous to win the hearts of ordinary Americans." These patrician candidates always try too hard to establish their "plain-folks ordinariness in ways that inevitably backfire" — Gore's "earth tones," Kerry's Philly cheesesteak with Swiss, Romney's hunting "rodents and varmints." Romney isn't like us, and he should stop "running away from his own perfection."
"Romney is Kerry. Or maybe Gore."

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week