Romney recently was asked if he would have ordered the Navy Seals into Pakistan for Osama bin Laden. I laughed when he popped out with the throw-away line, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” Riiiiiight.
Nice try, but no way. Romney definitely would not have ordered the Seal Team 6 bin Laden hit for any number of reasons, the first one being, what Romney, the consummate numbers guy, did say in 2007,
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
Mitt Romney, 2007
From a strict cost/benefit analysis, Romney would have let bin Laden live
Does this sound like a man who would order the Seal Team 6 mission to pot Osama bin Laden? Not likely, Pilgrim. Romney is the consummate numbers guy; always was and always will be. Romney’s 2007 statement is a rebuttal to his recent, fatuous bravado and posturing attempt to belittle President Obama’s difficult and gutsy decision send Seal Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden. Romney is well aware that Jimmy Carter did make such a decision to rescue hostages during the Iran hostage crisis and the failure of that mission was a major factor in Carter losing reelection.
Would Romney have ordered the bin Laden operation?
Romney clearly states that, from a cost/benefit analysis, he would leave bin Laden alive to foment further attacks and be a focal point for al Qaida zealots and terrorists to rally around. Being the penultimate risk-reward, numbers guy, the emotional and psychological benefits to America would not have entered into Romney’s thinking in making a decision to approve the bin Laden mission.
While Romney would like voters to believe he would have approved of the bin Laden operation, he is well aware that nothing could be farther from the truth. And this lack of objectivity and honesty is no surprise where Mitt Romney is concerned.
One of Romney’s major failings is his penchant for saying things that he would desperately like to hear said of him by others.
Deception of others and self-delusion in order to manipulate people, including oneself, in order to have reflected back to you what you want and need to see in yourself is clearly a narcissistic trait that is almost impossible for a narcissist to break.
Romney’s narcissism is one reason he often appears weak and needy on the campaign trail, occasionally mouthing inappropriate things and making gaffs. For example, after messaging some economic data, Romney stated that 92% of the job losses in the economic meltdown were women. The statement is egregiously false and inane, but Romney is incapable of understanding how insulting this statement is to anyone with common sense. Romney is so self-centered and has such little regard for people’s basic intelligence that he’s simply unaware of how ridiculous he appears when promoting such an obvious lie. He can’t help himself; it’s a narcissistic trait.
If one mentions race cars, Mitt talks about the race car team owners he knows. Mention baseball and he tells you about the baseball team owners he knows. Romney reminds one of the lyric from an old Irving Berlin song, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Rather sad when you think about it. Old associates of Mitt say that with Mitt, it’s all about Mitt; Mitt is the star and nothing else matters.
Absolute control of his surroundings and image is incredibly important to Romney
At events as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt had tape markings on the floor for everyone to know where to stand. Control is the name of Romney’s favorite narcissist game and he plays it well – while avoiding situations he can not control, like risky, secret, Seal Team 6 operations where no amount of data and planning insures success to the degree Romney’s inflated self-image requires.
What this clearly means is, Romney is psychologically unsuited to making fast, tough decisions when required, or taking reasonable or measured risks in a situation he can’t fully control and manipulate. Hardly the stuff of Presidents who get calls at 3 AM in the morning.
The Osama bin Laden mission was Risky with a capital “R”
Much like Jimmy Carter’s disastrous raid to free American hostages in Iran, Obama’s bin Laden mission was fraught with peril and pitfalls. As it happened one helicopter did crash in the courtyard of the bin Laden’s compound. What would have happened if bin Laden was not there, or Navy Seals were killed, wounded, captured? So many things could have gone wrong during the mission and some did.
President Obama knew if the mission failed in any number of possible ways, Republicans would savage him and his administration for the failure. Yet, Obama chose to take the risk and approve the Navy Seal mission to nail bin Laden’s hide to the wall. All civilians and military present at the go/no-go meeting agree that Obama made a gutsy call to go. No one at the meeting was in any way certain of a positive outcome.
Contrary to Obama’s measured and reasoned risk-taking, Romney is known to be highly risk aversive. Romney is a straight odds player, not an intuitive player, an imaginative person, or a risk-player. Romney has demonstrated that he is a man who weighs everything by gain or loss, a man more calculator than heart, in short, a very calculating man. You might think this statement unsupportable by virtue of his venture capital time with Bain Capital, but it is exactly his time at Bain that demonstrates this statement to be true.
Risk aversive Romney at Bain Capital
Vanity Fair magazine’s February 2012 issue, in a cogent article adapted from the book, The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, they report that Romney was a young star a Bain Capital, well known and in high demand for his analytical and organizational skills – everything planned down to the last detail and rarely taken by surprise.
“Romney was, by nature, deeply risk aversive in a business based on risk.”
This facet of Romney’s personality is important because secret missions to kill terrorists in foreign countries are risky and dangerous even with the best of planning. Definitely not Romney’s kind of operation. As reported in Vanity Fair, Romney is a data guy who looks at all the numbers on a business and then asked for more data.
Additionally, Romney is not a creative guy, either, nor a gut-feel guy, nor an entrepreneur. Romney, at heart, is a risk-aversive analyst. For example, using little of Bain’s or his own money, Romney often used junk bond debt to seal the deals.
Many of the companies later tanked when the economy hiccupped – there just wasn’t enough financial flex or financial reserves left in the companies to weather economic bumps after Romney got through with them. The companies were swimming up to the necks in debt by the time Romney finished with them and a few economic waves easily drowned many of them. Quite often Romney and Bain sold their stock on the open market before the companies they loaded with debt faltered and tanked. How unrisky and fortunate for Mitt Romney.
There’s nothing too risky in that scenario and how many jobs were lost when it happened? Romney says that he “helped create jobs” at Bain Capital. I’m sure his ego would like to think so, but that’s an obvious lie, too. The man whose idea it to start or run a company creates the jobs, not the glib, financial maven who loaded him up with junk bond debt.
The risk aversive Romney emerges
A close friend of the Romney family, John Wright, said it this way,
“His [Romney] whole life was following a pattern which had been laid out by his dad” [former chairman of American Motors].
A former Mitt aid says, “…if it’s a political thing, he has a mask.” A Massachusetts Republican remarked, focusing on one of Romney’s more revealing narcissistic traits,
“Mitt is always the star and everyone else is a bit player.”
That’s classic Romney narcissism: he takes center stage and everyone else sits in the peanut gallery.
Romney, in saying he has the courage to order perilous missions or make difficult, risky decisions, is mouthing what he wants voters to believe – and more importantly, as a raging narcissist, what he would like to believe about himself.
Consider this: you don’t get to be a star if a Seal Team mission to kill bin Laden goes bad, and for this reason alone Romney would never have approved or ordered the mission to get bin Laden. Romney’s narcissistic fear of failure would have overcome any measured judgment on his part to approve the mission. Narcissism is a monster that does not lie dormant; it constantly craves to let everyone know that its keeper is omnipotent, free of all sin, and can do no wrong.
Self delusion is not an attractive trait in a person; it is a character flaw that should, in a voters mind, disqualify Romney from ever becoming President of the United States. I’m betting the American public will demonstrate their understanding of Mitt Romney’s true character, or lack thereof, in the voting booth come November.