Archive » February 7, 2008
By Tim O'Brien, Contributing Writer
The man who will NOT be president ... but should be
We’re all pretty much looking for the same qualities in our president. They are the three Cs. Competence; Class; Courage. The competence to get the job done, the class to represent our nation in a way that makes us proud and the courage to lead us where we need to go. Governor Mitt Romney, by all accounts, scores off the charts in each of these categories. To boot, he looks the part more than any other candidate — certainly more so than his leading rival: stiff, battle-worn Senator John McCain. Yet, he can’t seem to catch fire. Why?
Governor Romney, despite his best intentions, simply cannot connect with the American public. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or even John McCain, Romney just doesn’t evoke strong visual emotions. This is deadly in a nation of people who overwhelmingly make their buying decisions based on emotion.
Some of it might be jealousy — Romney seems to have it all. Part of it could be his too-perfect looks. For my money, however, Romney’s problem can be boiled down to one thing: a good personal brand. How he markets himself.
He lacks that Roosevelt/Churchill quality of “something special.” An aide to President Roosevelt once remarked, “He had this way of saying things. It wasn’t so much what he said, but rather the spirit in which he said it.” Winston Churchill was described as having “that one quality” that all great leaders possessed, that ability to pass onto those around him something of himself; his courage; his stamina; his great will.
I hate to say it, but Mitt Romney has got a bit of John Kerry in him. The harder he tries, the further he seems to fall. He simply “isn’t there” as it relates to the public. He’s missing that likeability factor.
The only saving grace for Romney is that he’s running against a nasty hothead. If you Google Senator McCain you’ll see what I mean. You saw a little bit of this edge during the California debate. His words and body language seemed to put him one step away from unleashing one of his well-known verbal tirades.
If I were Romney, my strategy would be simple. First, he should scrap the punch-list comebacks. They’re often too long and sterile. He should learn to summarize his points in one or two pithy comments.
Second, he needs to make a better effort to help the American people like him and connect with him on a more personal level.
And finally, in a calm and rational manner, he needs to “poke at McCain” by challenging the Senator’s liberal record with every opportunity. McCain will eventually erupt and reveal his true colors. McCain’s a man with a disposition fit for war ... not for president.
Mitt Romney believes he has the ‘three Cs’ to be a successful president ... he just needs to make the public believe it as well.
Tim OBrien is the author of “The Power of Personal Branding: Creating Celebrity Status With Your Target Audience,” and is President and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Personal Branding Group.