New Yorker’s Romney cartoon critique: “campaign spin” vs. authentic leadership

Romney’s believable when he says what he thinks we want to hear… over and over again.

New Yorker's cover for October 28 Issue– and a different message every time!

This cartoon, in addition to poking fun at the permanence of media (like a tattoo – there’s always a recording!) and Romney’s gaffes — the incorrect statistic about a shrinking navy, the binders of women, the foolish geography imagining Iran needs to go through Syria to get to the sea — pokes fun at Romney’s ongoing changes in position.

Charisma and a decisive performance ARE NOT authenticity….

no matter how persuasive his momentary promised might be. Romney, in his well documented shifts about foreign and domestic policy, is banking on people to forget he said things — or at least, learn to expect and forgive his changes of policy and logic.

Indeed, conservatives may do just that. According to blogger Igor Volsky:

“Mitt Romney campaign surrogate Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) admitted that the GOP presidential candidate was changing his positions and moving towards the middle in order to win over voters, during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Friday morning [in early October]. Gingrey’s comments, reminiscent of Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom’s claim that Romney would “Etch-A-Sketch” his positions after the GOP primary, came in response to the candidate’s recent claim that his 47% remarks were “completely wrong.”

“[T]he Republican, the conservative candidate in the primary, is always going to lean right and come back to the center for the general, the opposite for the Democrat,” Gingrey explained. “That’s all you are seeing here. It is very typical. We strong conservatives understand that. There are a lot of undecideds in this country…we want those votes too. So, this is campaign strategy.”

I’ll give Romney that: it’s campaign strategy. And his strategy doesn’t reflect any particular leadership authenticity or vision — he’s just saying what he “has to” to get the prize. But is he a candidate who stands for anything measurable or clear? Not in leadership terms. And the New Yorker cover, snarky as it is, shows that in very clever visual critique of his many positions and policy arguments, often conflicting.

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