Saturday, December 01, 2012

Just how smart is Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney himself may be a bit of a dead issue, but he represents a section of American civilization, and thus remains (somewhat) worthy of discussion. This "No More Mister Nice Blog" post discusses Romney's judgment, or lack thereof, when it came to the reading of his own polls. The issue comes down to a simple question: For all of his millions, is Mitt smart?

I don't think he's dumb dumb, in the Palin-Dubya sense of the term. Truth be told, I don't think Dubya himself displays anything like true stupidity -- the kind of jaw-dropping dumbness one routinely encounters in, say, Dundalk, Maryland. His problem is that his sense of entitlement has made him lazy; long ago, he came to consider intellectual attainment something that you pay other people to do for you.

Something similar could be said of Mitt. Of course, if you suggest that Romney may not be clever or wise, someone else will ask (not unreasonably): "If you're smarter than he is, why is he rich while you're poor?"

If you go to the post at the other end of the above link, scroll down; you'll find a comment which addresses that very question. I believe that these words -- by a writer who calls himself The Gloves Are Off -- deserve a wider audience:
"Romney was supposed to be the data-driven business genius -- but maybe the business in which he made his fortune is so rigged in favor of the dealmakers that you don't have to be particularly good at it to get stinking rich. Maybe he's just not that bright, even in the area that's supposedly his strength."

Maybe? No, if you've ever worked in the LBO, vulture capitalism "industry" (yes, they actually think of themselves as an "industry"), you would know that most of the guys are not very bright. They hire a lot of bright people who produce the data for them, but you can see their eyes glaze over when they actually have to look at it.

Remember, about 3 out of every 4 businesses acquired by Bain fails. You can bet the data didn't show that when they were purchased.

No, this is not surprising at all...
Another commenter adds:
In addition to Romney's and the GOP's culpable self-delusion, what's fascinating is all those jets showing up at the airport. These were millionaire businesspeople who were not on the Romney campaign, but who still believed he was going to win and were paying their own money to join in the spoils. In other words, it wasn't just Romney and Bain who were incompetent at the data wizardry they relied on, it was the entire cream of the moneyed interests. None of them were capable of reading the data right, or seeing the difference between Romney's press releases and the actual polling reported every day in the press. These are the people who are making financial decisions that affect millions of lives, and are peddling their self-interested economic theories on Capitol Hill. They're all stupid, incompetent, and self-deceived, and they own our country.
So the real question is not "How smart is Mitt Romney?" but "How smart are the folks who constitute the One Percent?" Just as your muscles will atrophy if you get in the habit of paying others to lift heavy objects on your behalf, so too your "leetle grey cells" (to use Poirot's terminology) will atrophy if you go your entire life paying others to do your thinking for you.


cracker said...

These are all fair questions, Joseph. People who were there on the evening of the election said that Romney not only radiated confidence, he seemed to be a man who was certain that he had it in the bag. It wasn't until the evening was half over that he and Ryan both appeared shocked and stunned with the realization that they weren't going to win. (Both their wives cried). It seems probable that Romney/Ryan and many of their 1% supporters had reason to believe that the fix was in, or else they ended up falling for their own propaganda.
As far as most of the businesses bought by Bain failing, I think that is the intention. If the business is weak when it is bought, the vulture capitalists pick the bones clean and leave a barren carcass behind. If the business is relatively successful, the company is loaded with debt, most of the new money is siphoned off into the overseas accounts of the vultures, the now ruined company is allowed to fail, and any machinery or other portable capital goods are sold off overseas, leaving thousands of American families behind with no incomes. That's how Mitt Romney and his friends "operate" a business.

Alessandro Machi said...

Ohio actually did trend closer near the end. Romney was down by 5-8 points and ended up down only 2 points.

I think Hurricane Sandy helped Obama, although I think he would have won even without hurricane Sandy, but the race would have been even closer.

Alessandro Machi said...

Romney lost too many of the center votes with his tired "all the oil we can drill, all the nuclear we can mine, all the coal we can burn, yeah!" mantra...

The 47% comment hurt him as well.

And, Romney made no effort that I can recall defending voter ID requirements.

tsisageya said...

Mitt who? Am I over-expecting here?

lastlemming said...

I believe you would have only had to move about 200,000 votes to throw the election to Romney. 120,000 in Virginia, 60,000 in Ohio and maybe a thousand in Florida. Presto-chango, the right wins again.

Well it worked so well in 2004.

Remember Rove was FIRED after the 2006 election. His job was to fix the election and the fix in 2006 was OUT.

Couldn't fix in 2008 because the margins were just too damn big.

But it seemed reasonable to try in 2012. I believe Ohio WAS fixed; that's why he only won by 2 points. But Orca turned the proverbial dead marine ( and the rest was history.

As for Romney being dumb. Hey, he wondered why you couldn't roll down the windows when smoke filled the jet's cabin.

prowlerzee said...

What tsisageya said. Please, by every holy Mormon swine insanely imagining himself god of his own invented planet, with harems of ghost women spitting out spirit babies, wtf cares?

You promised to revert to Obama scrutiny. Riverdaughter seems to find such topics aplenty despite being amongst those hit hardest by Sandy.

I'd even take more Baltimore-bashing. Anything else. I come here to learn stuff or be entertained. This does neither. Admittedly, I'm assuming because the topic made my eyes figuratively bleed too much to actually read it.

Anonymous said...

Remember, about 3 out of every 4 businesses acquired by Bain fails

That's only true in a reverse sense, if one were to say 3 out of every 4 businesses acquired by Bain fails to go into bankruptcy. The number I remember is about 20% to 25% that 'fail' in the sense of 'enter bankruptcy.'

Bain and Romney were bad enough without exaggerating their failures (although many of their purchased companies 'failed' to thrive or yield profits for Bain, a somewhat different question of which purchases were 'profitable' for them. Many were break-even at the end).

We all now fail to realize there WAS a rationale behind the Romney camp projections, which was reasonable-- that 'unlikely' voters so-called, such as African-Americans and the youth, WERE (probably) not going to get close to the same turnout, since their disillusionment on Obama simply had to be considerable.

It was difficult to see that the Obama turnout machinery, and the over-reach of the dimwit party, would fairly well duplicate the turnout splits seen in the 2008 race where the moon had been somewhat credibly promised by the blank slate candidate.


Anonymous said...

I assumed [and Karl Rove's Fox meltdown on election night cemented the idea] that Romney et al were assured the 'fix' was in, guaranteed. Whether it was the Orca fail, Anonymous tinkering or what, Nate Silver's stats were on the money [no wonder the GOP hated his guts, throwing a monkey-wrench [actual numbers] into the mix]. It was a sight to behold.

But now we're on to other things--the great fiscal cliff scam. Geithner has made the rounds this morning on all the talking heads shows. Maureen Dowd has found another opportunity to poke Hillary Clinton and the band plays on.

A factoid I heard last night [think it was on BookTV] that 7 out of the 10 counties surrounding DC are the wealthiest in the Nation. Haven't checked out the accuracy of that but if even partly true is a clear indication of how money controls the message, regardless of who is in the WH. The money class is waiting with baited breath to yank the social safety nets. Guess they think the poor will just 'poof' disappear in the process. Or die. I had a real belly laugh listening to the Goldman Sachs CEO weighing in on SS benefits. And his retirement package would be what???

Oh and the Russians [citizens, that is] are apparently freaking out over the presumed Mayan End of the World prediction. So much so that Russian leaders have been making public statements to calm the populace.

The craziness never ends!


b said...

Who are the data wizards they hire? Probably mainly people with PhDs in maths and sometimes physics.

A lot moved into banking and other financial scamshops because they got tired of genuflecting before the falsehood known as string theory. (Some day the attempt to rescue it by positing the existence of 'dark matter' which no-one has ever detected will look nutty to everyone with the slightest interest in physical cosmology.) This isn't to say that a lot of them didn't go into financial scammery directly from university, or even while they were still there, for example into actuary firm as well as banks.

cracker said...

"The craziness never ends." Your last statement is irrefutable, Peggysue. I personally don't believe the world will end on December 21st. We couldn't be that lucky.

Joseph Cannon said...

zee, my post centers on the question of whether our ruling class is smart. That has nothing to do with Obama one way or another.

I think it's an important question, because so many well-off people have John Galtian delusions about themselves. That delusion of superiority is at the heart of libertarianism. And this has ALWAYS been an anti-libertarian blog. I've never made any secret of that!

b said...

@Peggysue - thanks for the heads-up on Russia and the Mayans. I'd been meaning to watch how the Mayan thing was playing in Russia. The apocalypse has long been a big theme in Russian Orthodoxy, and in the past year or so there've been signs of a ramp-up.

But Ellen Barry, author of that article in the NYT, if we assume her brain was connected to her fingers at the time of typing, sounds as though she hasn't the slightest clue of what a real run on the food in the shops looks like.

ColoradoGuy said...

Our Galtean Overlords are exposed as the PR spinmen they are. No, they're not smarter. They're just louder, talk faster, and have a boundless confidence that God favors the fortunate, and always will.

Which is why they cannot process failure, and cannot learn from experience. The tech industry abounds in Galtean Overlords failing upwards; look what happened to Hewlett-Packard. Half-wits like Carly Fiorina are the rule, not the exception.

Romney was no different than Ronald Reagan - yet another empty-suit PR spinmeister. Thank God it didn't work this time.

ColoradoGuy said...

Actually, from a GOP perspective, I can see why they are suspicious of people who are too smart. Look at the two most intelligent Republican Presidents in the 20th century ... Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon. Didn't turn out that well, did it?

The empty-suit thing works a lot better for them, since the GOP is the party of business, first, last, and always. I can see why they revere RR; he re-branded the entire party, and by destroying the Fairness Doctrine, enabled an entirely new media structure.

Anonymous said...

for some reason I guess R don't like Mitt. It was clear in 2008 and again in 2012. They could have get the votes out for him sp. the christians but they didn't(thank God). I always believed Obama was the Repub stablishment candidate. Not the second or third tier Reb. But the real movers and shakers. If you listen closely since 2004 you would get to that conculsion too. But what I couldn't undurstand there were heavy weight people in serious cons think tanks who had access to serious data called it for Romney. Were they lying to decieve Mitt and the Rep into a situation where no need for urgancy or getting out more votes? I just can't in a million years accept that the people in MSNBC are more knowledgable than an 8th grader if they know it must be a common knowledge