“There is a gestalt to every campaign, a deep organic spirit,” writes Time/Swampland’s Joe Klein. “John Kerry‘s campaign was infected by the candidate’s indecision about what to do regarding the war in Iraq. Bill Clinton‘s campaign was propelled by his native resilience. George W. Bush succeeded because of his gormless certitude. The Obama campaign’s steadiness emanated from the candidate’s no-drama persona.
“In Mitt Romney‘s case, this spirit expresses itself in embarrassing gaffes, often at the moment of victory — and it reflects the sterile management-consultancy ethos at the heart of the candidate. In last week’s issue of the New Yorker, Louis Menand had a terrific essay about how this ethos really is Romney’s defining characteristic.
“A management consultant or private equity turnaround specialist can wipe the slate — or Etch A Sketch — clean and start anew with each new project. A political candidate can’t. There has to be some passion for a presidential candidacy to work. Romney has none, just a deep abiding faith in his ability as a turnaround guy. A turnaround guy. A turnaround guy.”