The response to this new, sad Romney seems to be mostly positive. As one woman who saw him speak in Florida told Politico,”Everyone has him on this pedestal, thinks that he’s untouchable, but stories like this make him more human.” Her friend, however, found the address to be a little morbid: “There was one too many. After the second one, I thought, ‘Please, no more dead people.'” – From: Mitt Romney Tries to Prove He Is Human by Telling Sad Stories (NY Mag)
If you’ve been following the political media at all you’re more than aware that, since the night of the debate last week, a kinder, gentler, more intimate and more compassionate Mitt (1, 2, 3) has suddenly emerged. Perhaps BagNews is the most interesting place to note this conversion for the reason that, it’s one thing to read about personality change but it’s really peculiar to see it sprout pictorially in such a sudden way in Romney’s body language and expressions (especially when, at least as I understand it as a clinician, personality is quite homeostatic). The magnitude, and “factor difference” of the smile in the shot from Virginia on Thursday, for example, is hard to square.
And then, if you read the NYT Mag profile this weekend by Robert Draper, the article details how Mitt pivoted from a moderate stance at the tail end of his Governorship, one actually consistent with this more heartfelt version, into a very hard, conservative place. If it’s true that Mitt sold his soul to the right wing, however, it’s thoroughly disturbing to try and peg where he is philosophically right now given how much he blurred those lines last week in Denver. Worse case, and ultimately more cynical is the scenario whereby Romney suddenly finds his heart and his voice in the waning days of the election, but remains wedded to that hard right agenda.
You recall the split-screen I posted in our analysis of the debate, in which I referred to Romney’s “doe-eyed” look? Little did I know that this expression and that event would serve as the jumping off point for a metamorphosis in full swing. Echoing the photo above taken in Florida on Saturday, take a look at the new FT cover with the softer eyes, the smile and the more creased, empathetic forehead, the illustration accompanying an article written Friday about the post-debate emergence of “the real Romney.”
I don’t want to preclude the explanation that Romney is tapping into a deeper place in himself. Let’s not forget, though, how much Romney’s real core seems to involve sussing out what’s most expedient and then being that.
(photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images. caption 1:Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign rally on October 5, 2012 in Abingdon, Viriginia. Mitt Romney is campaigning in Virginia coal country and Florida.caption 2: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann Romney speak to supporters during a campaign rally on October 6, 2012 in Apopka, Florida. Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida after a visit to the state of Virginia yesterday.)