Maureen Dowd tries to figure out what makes Mitt Romney act the way he does:
As a candidate, he’s expected to stoop to conquer, to play a man of the people. But he really wants voters to know that he earned $250 million, and not even in the same business where his dad made a name for himself.So does The New Yorker's John Cassidy:
So he keeps blurting out hoity-toity stuff to make sure we know he's not hoi polloi -- about his friends who are Nascar owners, his wife's Cadillacs, how he likes to fire people and how he, too, is unemployed. And he builds a car elevator in the middle of an economic slough.
Despite his four years in elected office in Massachusetts and his experience in two Presidential campaigns, he still lacks the political antennae of a lifelong politician.If you put these together, I think you get a pretty good picture of what makes Mitt tick. Dowd emphasizes the pride in money, but really, as Cassidy says, Romney is proud of what he regards as his superiority in general, -- yes, he's rich, but that just means he's smarter than you, and better at getting stuff done, which is the real point. Hey, did he ever tell you about the time he singlehandedly saved the Olympics?
... He is still naive or arrogant enough to think that when Brian Williams asks him a seemingly harmless question about the preparations for the Games, which have certainly encountered some problems, it is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his mastery of the subject.
But it's odd: he's arrogant, but he's also needy. He craves reinforcement of his sense of superiority, so he keeps reminding you to acknowledge it -- and he does so in a way most people find noodgy and off-putting and sometimes insulting.
But maybe he's used to being surrounded by people who don't find it off-putting and insulting. Dowd writes:
In the Mitt-sphere, populated by his shiny white family, the Mormon Church and a narrow, homogenous inner circle, Romney's image of himself as wise, caring, smart and capable is relentlessly reinforced. That leaves him constantly surprised that other people don't love what he is saying.They're used to him, and give him the praise he craves. Much of the time, we don't.
I feel he's running for president not because he wants to do anything in particular, but because it's the ultimate affirmation of his smarts and superiority -- he wants to be president just so he can say that other people also wanted to be president, and they're not in office and he is. So there!