Peggy Noonan on Why Mitt Gives Us the Creeps

“Here’s something Americans intuit about motivations in presidential politics. When a candidate is on a mission to rescue the country, they can tell. When it’s about the nation and not him, they can tell. When he has a general philosophy of government and politics, they will listen, and give a fair hearing.

“But when a candidate says, not blatantly but between the lines, ‘I want to be president because I’m an extraordinary and superior human and want you to see me that way too,’ well, that sort of subliminally gives a lot of people the creeps. They will see you as ego-driven, not purpose-driven. They may elect you anyway, but this year especially they won’t.”

Peggy Noonan, “Kvetch a Sketch,” WSJ

8 comments on “Peggy Noonan on Why Mitt Gives Us the Creeps

  1. Patrick Gage says:

    I’m not understanding how anyone could think that Mitt is extremely ego-driven. Then again, every politician, Democrat and Republican, seems to be at least somewhat ego-driven these days.

    • You’re right that politicians tend to have big egos. But they also run on their strongly-held beliefs and vision for the country. See, e.g., Santorum. Mitt doesn’t have any beliefs, so it’s just ego.

      • Patrick Gage says:

        I wouldn’t say that Mitt has no beliefs, but I do agree that he’s more utilitarian than the other candidates. However, I don’t think it’s all ego and I do think that utilitarian is what we need right now.

      • I think he stretches pragmatism to the breaking point!

      • Patrick Gage says:

        I can see how some would reach that conclusion. He’s certainly business-first.

      • I think if he wins, his term will go down in history as the reign of Mittens the Unloved.

      • Patrick Gage says:

        Maybe, maybe. But at least he’d get this economy moving again.

      • So much of it is just the cycle, and it takes longer to get out of a recession caused by a financial crisis. I’m one of those Keynesians who believes that the stimulus wasn’t big enough, as well as not being as well-designed and targeted as it could have/should have been, but that’s politics. Interestingly, John McCain’s closest economic adviser, Mark Zandi, wanted a stimulus of almost $700 billion just in the first year. That’s what he told Obama’s people when they consulted him. When consumer demand, which is 70% of our economy, dies, something has to replace it, and that’s government. But once the private sector picks up, I believe in smaller government and less spending.
        My main problem with Mitt is that I think he’s timid and wouldn’t be bold enough in national security matters. Most of Obama’s advisers opposed the bin Laden raid. Under those circumstances, I think Mitt would have taken a pass.

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