By Dave Andrusko
Okay, okay, your first thought was my first thought: something very hot is about to freeze over. Over the weekend the New York Times actually published a profile of Mitt Romney that treated him as a recognizably human being.
The headline was “Romney as a Manager: Unhurried and Socratic.” Yes, you read that right; it’s not one long typo.
I had missed the story but ran across a lament from Robert Reich, who was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor. He couldn’t believe the Times, so reliably pro-Obama and so actively hostile to Romney, could make space (even once) for such a “puff piece.”
So I read the story co-written by Michael Barbaro, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and Michael Wines. So should you, if I may say so.
If you think about it, in many ways we know even less about Mr. Romney than we did about then-candidate Barack Obama. The “mainstream media” filled in the details, four years ago turning Obama into The One and more recently caricaturing Romney as a heartless cad.
But the Times profile paints a picture of a genuinely compassionate man (and not only in government but in all phases of his life), who loathes to hurt people (by, for example, firing them), and who (when saving the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City) “seemed to intuitively understand how to motivate people who worked long hours in high-stress jobs. He doled out generous bonuses, to be sure. But he also roamed halls, poking his head into cubicles and offices, inquiring what people were working on, quietly studying the mood.”
The story is not uncritical; a honest assessment of any person with multiple, high-pressure responsibilities will find flaws. But (forgive the cliché) Barbaro, Stolberg, and Wines humanize Mr. Romney, a chief executive whose “decision-making process is unhurried and Socratic, his instinct to exhaustively debate and prod.”
I’m just guessing, but if he becomes President I suspect he won’t be playing endless rounds of golf like you know who.
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