Monday, September 24, 2012


Writing about the current unrest in Muslim nations, Bill Keller says this:
But blaming Islamic culture dismisses the Muslim majorities who are not enraged, let alone violent, and it leads to a kind of surrender: Oh, it's just the Muslims, nothing to be done. I detect a whiff of this cultural fatalism in Mitt Romney's patronizing remarks about the superiority of Israeli culture and the backwardness of Palestinian culture. That would explain his assertion, on that other notorious video, that an accommodation with the Palestinians is "almost unthinkable." That's a strangely defeatist line of thought for a man who professes to be an optimist and a problem-solver.
But that's Romney, isn't it? He is defeatist. He thinks Israeli culture is good and Palestinian culture is hopeless. He thinks 53% of America is hardworking, and thus in his camp or potentially so, but 47% of the country is hopelessly dependent, and thus lost to him. Everyone is either good or impossible to deal with.

Romney's supposed to be a problem-solver, which is why he says it would be good to elect him president. But presidents are supposed to try to solve even problems that seem intractable -- whereas the kind of problem-solving Romney did as a private-equity guy involved making certain companies thrive while tossing others onto the scrap heap, after stripping their assets.

In that kind of problem-solving, Romney applied the same level of fatalism Keller detects in Romney's talk about Palestinians, and everyone detects in Romney's talk about the 47%: There's no dealing with these people. They're incorrigible. Just get what you can out of the situation and then wash your hands of it.

So it's not that Romney would be a bad president despite his career in business -- he'd be a bad president because he'd be likely to govern the way he conducted his career in business.


Victor said...

I don't buy the meme that "Mitt was a problem-solver."
Or that he's some kind of business savant.

I think he was an empty suit with a pretty face - the figurehead.

OTHER people at Bain crunched the numbers, worked the details, negotiated the deals, and then, and only THEN, was Mitt sent in there to look pretty, and sign the deal.

Because of who his father was, Mitt also had/has access to people with power, in and out of government, on his Rolodex - now, it's probably got them on some I-Phone, or Blackberry.

Because if he was ever a competent manager of people, his campaign wouldn't be the fuster-cluck we're all laughing at today.

I've run into too many people in the corporate world who were just like him.
They grab the credit, the headlines, and the accolades, while some other poor schmucks did all of the dirty work.

Unknown said...

Victor is right, although I wouldn't put it so strongly. I think Romney probably is fairly good at his job. But I also think millions could have done it as well. And properly nurtured there would be hundreds of millions. Not that I want hundreds of millions of people encouraged to do PE.