The Corner

Romney and Authenticity

It’s interesting that Romney so often gets criticized for seeming inauthentic. A gaffe such as today’s is the essence of authenticity: The problem, politically speaking, is precisely that he failed to calculate about how his remark would be received. Ditto his comment about liking to be able to fire people. It was all too authentic when he revealed that $10,000 would be a trivial sum for him to wager. And there is a deal of authenticity in the naked ambition of a statement such as “I can’t have illegals, for Pete’s sake — I’m running for office!”

Maybe there is some angel out there who could be, without affectation, just what we want our politicians to be. But what we really seem to expect of them — for we well know they aren’t angels — is a believable sort of fakery. (Romney sometimes does fake it, of course, but he doesn’t seem believable — e.g., his pink-slip comment. Perhaps it is these moments, and the various flip-flops, that create the impression of inauthenticity, while the authentic, unguarded Romney is simply disliked.)


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