Authored by Christiane Montuori on Friday, September 2, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Add the first comment!
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Mitt Romney’s current rush to embrace the Tea Party and, he hopes, have the Tea Partiers embrace him is a tactical necessity. In Texas Governor Rick Perry, Romney finally has an opponent who can appeal to both establishment conservatives and the Tea Party faction. Until now, he has been able to let the rest of the field fight and divide the Tea Partiers while he concentrated on being just a tad to the more sensible side of them and thus be the standard-bearer for all of those Republicans who think the Tea Partiers are just too far out there. So Romney has torqued his schedule around for the long Labor Day weekend to squeeze in some Tea Party events he had previously declined.
Romney’s well documented ability to slip and slide to wherever his political ambitions require him to be is well understood. There are some advantages to that. The country needs people in high office who are not committed to positions they will later regret when they come face-to-face with reality instead of campaigns. We need politicians who have the courage to learn and adapt, not hold on rigidly to positions and promises and pledges that sounded good on the campaign trail but get in the way of governing.
Their problem, of course, is that we don’t want our politicians to learn. We’d rather have them stick to their positions, and be predictable and consistent, rather than learn and adapt.
What do we call politicians who learn? Wishy-washy.
The good news about Romney is that no one knows what he really believes, or whether he really believes in anything except his ambition. The bad news is that he doesn’t understand is that being smarter than the average pol is not enough to get elected, or to lead. Barack Obama is learning that lesson now.
Mitt Romney is the 2004 John Kerry: smart, educated, articulate, strategic and appropriately ambitious. What Kerry learned in his run for the Presidency is that an intellectual connection is not enough to get elected or to lead. To lead a complex, diverse nation through a myriad of never-seen-before challenges requires an emotional connection as well. George W. Bush made that connection, so did Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan. In order to take on the toughest issues, endure necessary sacrifices, make hard choices, we need to believe in someone, not just agree with them.
Leadership requires competence both above and below the neck in order to succeed.