Saturday, August 11, 2007


A few weeks ago, in passing, David Brooks said something somewhat baffling about a particular moment he'd observed at a Mitt Romney campaign appearance:

It wasn't impassioned or angry (he doesn't do anger).

In yesterday's column, Brooks repeated himself, and elaborated:

He's unable to do anger. I asked him recently who he hated, and he dodged the question.

Is that what Brooks meant a few weeks ago? That Romney must be incapable of anger because when you ask him to name someone he hates, he avoids answering?

David, David, David ... the angriest, most hate-filled figures in politics would have said exactly the same thing. Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfeld? Rudy Giuliani? George W. Bush? Each and every one of them is seething with resentment, each has a list of enemies a mile long, yet not one of them would actually reveal that fact to an interviewer. Cheney, for instance, would just go into that phony grumpy-Grandpa-who-needs-a-nap mode and say, "Oh, gosh, I don't hate anyone. We have our differences here in Washington, but at the end of the day we're all patriotic Americans." And then, immediately following the interview, he'd go right back to sharpening his shiv and examining anatomical charts of the human back.

Rush Limbaugh has built a near-two-decade career on hate; how does he put it? "I am just a harmless lovable little fuzzball." If you're a real pro, you don't admit you hate people in politics. You just hate people.

Look, I don't know if Mitt's really a hater; my sense is that he's tightly wound and driven and isn't very pleased at anyone who gets in his way when he wants something. Whatever the truth is, I'd certainly never assume he doesn't hate because he says so.

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