Missing: a commanding presence.

There is a quality to real leaders called a “command presence”. You know the type: they walk into a room and by their force of presence, command of the facts, unshaken confidence and leadership qualities, they capture the narrative and control the agenda. That command presence is a necessary mark of a good leader.

In part, this is what I’ve been looking for in these debates and the most recent debate in New Hampshire helped crystallize for me what is wrong with the Republican candidates: I have yet to see a convincing command performance.

I’ve seen it with Govs. Christie and Palin. I’ve seen it in Lt. Col. and Florida Congressional Representative Allen West. I thought that I saw it in Cain, Bachman and Gingrich. I’ve been especially Gingrich’s ability to control the  moronic chickadees of the MSM.

However, I definitely did not see a command presence when Governor Romney allowed an intellectual lightweight like George Stephanopoulos to control the narrative with his ridiculous obsession with contraception (I sense an inner conflict…care to share, Georgie?). Romney wanted to get along, to find the road to peace and harmony…so, instead, Georgie Stephanopoulos got to drive the agenda instead of getting slapped down and named for the trivial man he is.
So, after that, I was pretty much confirmed in my decision to support Gingrich as the one who best offered a vision and command presence for America. That was. This is now. The fact that Gingrich could not condemn the following ad that was posted by one of his PAC tells me that, when necessary, Gingrich will readily descend into the role of the demagogue, much like those on the Left.

You cannot be a proponent of capitalism while playing upon its worst caricatures for short-term political gain. This ad is vile. Romney was part of a turnaround corporation. Such companies play an important role in supporting the vitality and creative destruction and renewal of  capitalist economies. As history has shown over and over again, the alternative is far worse.

After this ad, I can no longer support Gingrich. We’ve already got a demagogue-in-chief. His name is Obama.

So, with great reluctance, I throw my support to Romney. Anybody but Obama!

 

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  • Bill C

    So, with great reluctance, I throw my support to George Romney. Unfortunately, George Romney cannot accept your support since he has been dead since 1995.  ;-)  I, too, am a little disheartened by Newt and Perry’s line of attack against Mitt.  I do recognize there is a difference between capitalism and corporatism which Kevin Williamson of NRO brilliantly explained.  However, I have seen no evidence that Romney, Mitt not George, crossed that line.  But, I see no evidence that there is anything wrong with Newt collecting consulting fees from Fannie/Freddie, that Perry plans on ending S.S., or that Perry is soft on illegal immigration, all charges made by the Romney campaign or Mitt personally.   I am not voting for Romney because he isn’t conservative.  I am not voting for Obama because he is a socialist.  I do not spend much time worrying about being fair to them because they have not and will not fight fair.  Demagoguery is part of the game.  Giving up on a candidate who refuses to lose doesn’t make sense to me. 

  • CollegeCon

    TBH I’ve supported Romney from the start.
     Newt has too much baggage to win against Obama, and even if he did win he has no meaningful experience outside of D.C.
     Santorum is too caught up in the social aspect at a time when A- the economy and foreign policy are far more important, and B- social conservatism as an ideology is and will probably remain a minority ideology, though a substantial one.  
      Paul is just crazy.  Really crazy.  Entertaining to watch though, I’m half convinced he’s teamed up with Romney just like Santorum and Newt have teamed up.

    Romney’s convictions may be suspect, but he’s also the one who is most likely to put fixing problems ahead of self-aggrandizement or demagoguery.  On the economy, I think he’s by far the most qualified and likely to actually accomplish things.  On foreign policy, he’s no worse than any of the alternatives, and guaranteed to be better than Obama.  Socially, I frankly don’t give a damn, so long as he isn’t an embarrassment, and if no one’s managed to dig up a scandal by now the chances are good.

    Basically, I trust Romney to be the both the most likely to beat Obama, and the most likely to be pragmatic about pursuing good policies. 

  • NancyB

    I attended my first tea party planning meeting a few years ago at a church in rural S. Florida with about 100 other people.  I didn’t know any of the speakers/planners except for Joyce Kaufman – a local radio host.  Near the end of the meeting Col Allan West was introduced and he strode forward as if into battle to rouse the troops.  This was “command presence” – no doubt.  Like Chris Matthews with Obama, I got “a tingle”, but not up my leg.  Instead, in my spirit as I recognized true leadership.  This is the spirit we need to lead our country – may he come forward more in the next few years and assume that leadership.

  • SADIE

    The Bain of Romney  (complemental article to yours, Danny) at Sultan Knish and worth reading. Just a few thoughts and observations: They’re not political virgins. They all have baggage and all future candidates will too. We’re in a Youtube and internet set of reporting and relaying information. I certainly have mixed feelings about all of them (except Ron Paul) no mixed feelings – he’s nuts, which brings me to the larger picture and bigger questions. Why is this Libertarian running on a Republican ticket? More than a dozen debates later, RP has no chance of winning and has diverted 20% away from the other candidates. The blogs have done an outstanding job of vetting and yet they hold no sway. The debates should have been conducted by these journalists. The GOP complains of the bitter bias in the MSM (and it is) and yet submits to it. It’s a pity that Newt is the only one who has called them out – why are the others so contrite? And finally … who popped my November 2010 balloon? The enthusiam and optimism from the mid-term elections have disappeared.       
     

  • http://callanprimer.com kali

    …Governor Romney allowed an intellectual lightweight like George Stephanopoulos to control the narrative with his ridiculous obsession with contraception…
     
    Oh, it’s not a ridiculous obsession–it’s a deliberate attempt to reinforce a narrative, the kind that my progressive niece kept trying to argue last Thanksgiving: Republicans are hypocrites–anti choice,  yet obstructing sex education (prevents unwanted pregnancies!) and contraception (prevents unwanted pregnancies!) and welfare (supports poor women who might get pregnant!) . . . In this narrative, any view short of passing out free condoms in grade school is just a step away from forced pregnancies and A Handmaid’s Tale.
     
    That social conservatives are weird, strange people who don’t like sex and want to tell you who to sleep with is the only winning narrative they have since race is failing and people are catching on that we’re running out of other people’s money. Expect more of the same as the election goes on.
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    CollegeCon mentioned baggage. Obama noticeably didn’t have any, because he had erased and covered up the tracks, so to speak. If this is the criteria the US President is selected on, then you’re screwed anyways. It won’t matter who you elect, because it won’t even matter.

  • suek

    You might find this review of the Stephanopoulos “obsession” interesting. He doesn’t agree with you on the outcome…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204257504577151100762427204.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

    kali, I agree with you. Have you ever asked your progressive niece how it is that in “pre-“Progressive” days when there was no choice, no sex education, no contraceptives and no welfare, illegitimate births – even among blacks – oops…minorities* – was significantly lower than they are today? I think the number among blacks was something like 20%. Yet today, with all of the Progressive policies that she espouses the illegitimacy rates among blacks is something like 70%. So…what happened?

    Who’s raising the children? Never mind who’s _having_ them…who’s raising them? Who does she think should be raising children? the parents, or the State? Oh..excuse me. Of course, not the State, but your local Nursery school – which has not yet required that the caretakers be State licensed teachers, but not for lack of Hillary’s efforts. Should schools be teaching Statism? or limited to State approved agendas? (Never mind – I can guess the answer to that one!)

    Sadie…

    Ron Paul. Interesting person. I could say that I think he’s the ultimate idealist – that his sole purpose in running is to get the exposure and traction needed to wake the people to the dangers of the economic path we’re on. I _did_ think that, for a while. Then I learned that when it comes to earmarks – which he vociferously condemns – he’s no piker. His gimmick is to offer an earmark amendment to a bill that’s guaranteed to pass, then when it’s virtually a done deal, vote against it. He then brags that he’s never voted for an earmark. I find that particularly deceptive, and along with all the other odd stuff, makes me agree – he’s a wacko. Of some sort.

    *If blacks/hispanics outnumber whites in a political area, are they still minorities? If whites are outnumbered in the US, will they ever become “the Minority” group? I wonder.

  • expat

    I thought Mitt’s response was great. He treated Stephanopoulis like the lightweight he is and just brushed him aside like an annoying fly.  I think the audience understood that and was perhaps glad to see Romney not wasting his time on a hypothetical problem.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Suek, the Left requires an oppressor, an evil guy, to rail against. IN that vein, whites will always be the majority, until the Left reigns supreme and can ethnically cleanse them out of existence. Then there won’t be any whites, and they will have to find another enemy, like the Jews.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Hi Suek. Yes, I read that article as well. I have to disagree with it – Stephanopoulos should have been shot down by Romney or somebody right away. I think Chris Christie would have creamed him! Romney’s response was underwhelming.

  • suek

    >>Romney’s response was underwhelming.>>

    He was raised right. That’s why people like Gingrich and Christie – no question!

    This is unquestionably a problem for Repubs – we tend to be Conservatives, raised in two parent homes with parents who require polite behavior with no fighting allowed and no talking back. We’re polite.

    We’re now involved in a fight for the nation – political though it may be. Give us a gun, and we’ll go to war – but other than that, we’re polite. We don’t exactly _want_ to be polite, but it’s in our blood, and learning how to come back at people with a zing just isn’t our style – and we just don’t have enough practice to do it well.

    I don’t know the answer. I understand the problem, but I don’t think Gingrich is the answer…though I’ll cheer him on with the best of them – and I _sure_ hope whoever is the candidate will make good use of him on their team. (one of my problems with him is I think he can be bought. He’ll adjust to being 2nd tier if the pay’s right) Christie?? don’t know enough about him – but as I understand it, his weight isn’t his only health problem. In fact, his weight may be the result of other health problems. But he’d sure make a good front man – he _can_ take them on! and we need more like him – or we need him to give lessons to the rest of us! Don’t allow them to intimidate us.

    At least it’s just verbal. Otherwise – we’d need Y on the job!

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Funny that you write this, Danny, because just this weekend I was thinking about a question Art Linkletter used to ask children on his show:  “What’s the difference between a politician and a statesman?”  It occurred to me that no children today, even older children, would know what a statesman is. 

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  • BrianE

    The problem with the patience Romney showed in the exchange with Stephanopolous is it raised his line of questioning to a level of seriousness it didn’t deserve.

    As has now been made clear, this is one of the attacks that any Republican will have to deal with– that they are coming after women and the one thing liberal women hold dear– the right to an abortion (and the surrogate contraception will serve the purpose equally well, since liberals feel no shame in distorting facts and replacing them with their own facts).

    Had he been curt with the former Clinton press secretary and cut off the absurb line of questioning, I’m afraid it would have just been used against him anyway. Headlines would have popped up– “Romney refuses to answer questions about women’s health…may be a sign he’s as intolerant as the other Republican candidates.”

  • Mark

    The funny thing is, all these so-called ‘defenders of capitalism’ somehow don’t address the issue, all they can do is shout loudly how evil it is to discuss this subject. That’s exactly what the left does, when it knows it is defending a losing proposition!!!! What the right does, is to discuss the matter. Of course we’re for capitalism, but let’s examine this specific case. Who knows, maybe it’s true that Mitt and the other guys were a bunch of vultures. And maybe it’s false. If it’s false, there’s no need to shout like a crazy OWS loon! And if it’s true…. well I guess that’s exactly the reason to start shouting like a OWS loon. 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left is one of the most greedy and exploitative capitalist classes around. What the Hell Do they Think They are Lecturing us About again?

  • MacG

    They really need to say this:  I saw a company of 1,000 workers going down and sure as the sun rise 1,000 people would lose their jobs.  I bought the sinking ship and analyzed where it was taking on water to keep it afloat.  Some regretfully 200 lives were lost in the process but 800 were saved.  Yes like a Coast Guard rescue I had to choose save those that I could and unfortunately I could not get to all of them.  The truth is many companies are like a small aircraft that cannot take off with too much cargo.  Sometimes that cargo is people and someone has to be left behind to get the others home safely.  In the public education system this is called “Lifeboat” (Steve Taylor did a campy song about this topic0 To look at it Obama’s way since 1,000 jobs would have been lost I created 800 jobs, or saved 800 from my POV but if you’re a glass half empty kind of guy or a democrat looking at Republican figures kind of guy I lost 200 jobs.  Yet the end result of my involvement is 800 people are working when 1,000 would not be otherwise.