What’s Romney made of?
Howard Kurtz says that Romney has got to stop being the management consultant whose every move is calculated and “show what he’s made of” if he is to survive Gingrich’s challenge and win the nomination. But that raises the question, what is Romney made of? Or rather, does Romney have a “made of” to show? As I said of him back in 2008, Romney is oriented toward externals. He sees a problem, and he sets about finding ways to solve it. So, for example, in ‘08 he saw that conservatives were looking for a leader, and he set about filling that need, by presenting himself as a conservative leader. The results were remarkable. His speeches laying out a social conservative philosophy were extraordinarily intelligent, way above the mark of what we normally get in American politics. It’s not so much that he was lying when he embraced and articulated a social conservative philosophy that he does not share (and he openly admitted after the 2008 election that he did not share it), but that he experiences reality in terms of externals rather than in terms of truth.
Which leads to another question: is Romney’s apparent lack of an “authentic” internal dimension due to his following a religion the claims of which are ridiculous and unsustainable by any intelligent person, leading to his lack of interest in truth, but the practices of which produce upright and well-functioning (but not deep) human beings like himself?