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MurphTheSurf3 On September - 29 - 2012

In an alternative universe: September 28, 2008



Shocking admission by nominee’s wife shakes up race

“I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being,” MICHELLE OBAMA said. “I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness, in his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy. … So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it.”

“JUST the emotional part.”  What do we expect of our Presidents? Among the most important characteristics is emotional stability. The President must be able to handle the considerable ordinary pressures of the office- the regular workload, the criticism, the tug of war for his/her attention and support, and the complexity inherent in even small decisions- AND all of that without seeming to mind it. All of that while maintaining good humor. Grey hair is ok. Nervousness is not.  We expect our Presidents to be cool, calm and collected, to keep an even keel, to refrain from strain.

We expect even more in times of crisis when the nation is on the verge of panic. Consider how every nuance of George W. Bush’s expressions, movement and words were examined in the hours and days following 9/11. Presidents MUST do this well, naturally and easily- a response that is seemingly inherent in the makeup of their personalities.

Now we hear that Michelle Obama worries about her husband’s emotional well being. Inherent in Hillary Clinton’s “3 AM” ad is a question about readiness of Obama when a call comes in that turns White House priorities on their head. The heart of that readiness is a rock solid emotional makeup.

Apparently Obama’s is a bit shaky. Apparently there is something disturbing beneath the facade of “no drama Obama.” Or at least that what his wife, the person who knows him best, fears.





Think about Mitt Romney’s strained affect on stage and in interviews, his forced and tension filled laughter, his darting eyes, his frozen (and often inappropriate smile), his staccato speaking style, his frenetic strutting in front of crowds, his grabbing for hands in rope lines….frankly, the more I think about it the more Mitt worries me.

And then compare him to Barack Obama….it is no contest.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

28 Responses so far.

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  1. Questinia says:

    Romney seems to have an “as-if” personality: people who possess a veneer of conviviality and “concern”, superficially appearing to have responses that suit the situation but with tendencies to having hostile tendencies when frustrated. Romney doesn’t seem to have emotional depth to weather anything outside of his rehearsed emotional skill set.

  2. agrippa says:

    I think that Romney is a cipher. But, people have to get out and vote for Obama.

  3. Nirek says:

    We would never hear the end of it.

  4. kesmarn says:

    Murph, don’t you feel that voters sensed this brittleness in Romney, even before Ann’s comment?

    Even if it’s on a subliminal level, they’re uneasy with him.

    Besides the emotional fragility, I think they’ve picked up on the arrogance that comes from never having been seriously challenged. The same goes for Ryan. Since neither of them has ever really had to work for a living, their sanctimonious lectures on “taking responsibility” sound both crazy and insulting at the same time.

    More and more I think the two of them are starting to remind millions of people of the ignorant (yet know-it-all) boss from hell. We’ve all had them. The (usually white) guy who got the job because he was the owner’s nephew and knows nothing about what makes the company run day to day. Or the guy who’s mastered the art of BS and no one in higher management has seen though him — yet. The kiss up/kick down types who seem to be pre-occupied with trying to make sure “those people” know “their place.” Steve Carell of “The Office”-- only without the humor.

    To so many people, I think a vote against Romney/Ryan is beginning to feel like a chance to finally be able to punch that workplace martinet in the face. Without any consequences. 😀

    As one woman posted regarding Ryan (I’m sure she felt it applied to Romney as well.) — “I’ll bet he could manage the fuck out of an Applebees.”

    • choicelady says:

      My parents had an acquaintance years ago who inherited a huge, properous farm in the Midwest. He was college educated in liberal arts, was not raised to BE a farmer as his parents were not -- the farm was well managed by local people, and they just reaped the profits.From late youth when he inherited this estate, this man was a person of leisure. He traveled, had friends in high level places, was modestly engaged in politics (conservative but not wacko -- though he probably WOULD be had he lived).

      And what finally brought my parents’ interactions with him to an end was his relentless, droning commentary about how “no one wants to work” in America. As if he had a clue.

      He spent huge amounts of energy trying to figure out how NOT to pay well -- hated minimum wage, prohibitions against child labor, and all the “restrictions to his freedom” of law and government.

      But he never had milked a cow, slopped a pig, tilled a furrow not even ONCE and had no inkling how the money that rolled into his pockets ever got there. But he sure did know that “nobody in America wants to work anymore.”

      These are the kinds of people whose emotional and mental stability WOULD be under threat if they actually had to do something. Ann is right to worry.

    • Kes I think the boss mentality is one big part of it but another big part is that Romney has not faced adversity like most Americans.

      He lost a couple elections but that’s about it. Otherwise he’s only won in a rigged system. Even his Utah Olympics miracle was really just a Fed bailout. When he was governor he was terrible at creating jobs and his biggest accomplishment was pushed by Dems in the legislature.

      In many ways his psychology is just like Bush. He’s a thin skinned bully with a daddy complex which fits in with both of our ideas.

      • kesmarn says:

        Well said, KQ. This must be one of the worst parts of being born into wealth. You’re seldom seriously tested. Doors just open. People make a point of losing to you in golf or tennis. All of your jokes are funny. Everything you say is terribly smart. Or so you’re told night and day.

        What a shock it must be to encounter real criticism for the first time in your life when you’re sixty-five years old.

      • Nirek says:

        KQ, I agree with all but the complex part. His complex is a god complex. He feels he has attained godhood!

        • That’s probably true as well but it’s pretty well documented that Romney’s father was pretty dissapointed with the path he chose. He could probably see his son had no core values and just played up appearances like everyone can see now.

    • AdLib says:

      Brilliant summation, Kes! You nailed it! It does seem inescapable that Romney is the blatant symbol of the plutocracy and their policies that have created such a dismal present and future for 99% of Americans.

      I think what has aided Romney in keeping the race close was the resentment about the state of the economy which was aimed at Obama.

      Now that more people are engaged in the election, it seems those people who were making a statement against Obama as opposed to supporting Romney, have come to see that Romney represents their losing their job/home/nest egg/etc., not Obama. So those who were voting against Obama as a statement, now see that voting against Romney is more of a statement and aimed directly at those who are the cause of our economic problems.

      Now that there seems to be that kind of enlightenment, I don’t think that anything Romney says in a debate or at a rally can profoundly affect the race. Once the likeability and credibility of a candidate is gone, they can promise anything and vilify anyone but what they say no longer carries weight.

      Neither Romney nor Ryan are seen as credible or genuine by a majority and you can’t talk your way out of that when talk is useless.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I think I related the experience of a friend from Va. who told me that the crowd reaction at Romney events are feeling as forced as Romney seems to be. Had another conversation last night from the same source (a reporter) who filled in the story a bit more. The spaces are now being “assembled” as people arrive so there are very few empty seats; warm up acts precede the candidates providing “excited crowd 101” tutorials to those who come and providing crowds with helpful hints re. when and what kind of cheering is most helpful.

        Wandering in the crowds it is clear that few are “for” Romney and that the enthusiasm around “being against” Obama is waning.

        Also noteworthy: the facial and body language from both Romney and Ryan when they are not purposely interacting with each other displays the tensions that exist.

      • kesmarn says:

        Yes, AdLib! Once voters see through someone’s phoniness, there’s no going back. As you imply, it’s pretty hard to become “un-enlightened” once that light bulb comes on.

        Romney especially seems to be almost completely unable to open his mouth without sounding pretentious, condescending and even hostile. (Partly, I suppose, because he really is pretentious, condescending and hostile.) How’s that going to help him in a debate?

        And more and more it seems that his wife is not merely neutral but an absolute liability to the campaign, so it’s not as though they can pull a Laura Bush out of their sleeve and try to “humanize” him at this late date.

        They seem to have “shot their wad” as the old expression goes, and now Romney and Ryan both have feet full of “wad” (or whatever else they’ve stepped in recently).

        Later edit: And now for something completely different. And on another topic. AdLib, I’m away from home and watching a program on Detroit PBS on the subject of alternative energy sources. They just completed a segment on the Bloom Box and they seemed to find it a very credible and workable system. So cool. You were an “early adapter” on that one!

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I watched the entire Ryan/Fox interview last night. The ducking, weaving and bobbing being done by Ryan reflects badly on Romney as someone who either cannot be nailed down or chooses not to be.

          pretentious, condescending and even hostile

          Three very descriptive words that help me understand this Romney/Ryan strategy --

          pretentious- Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed. ACTING PRESIDENTIAL WITHOUT BEING PRESIDENTIAL.

          condescending- Acting in a way that betrays a feeling of patronizing superiority. THE CULTURE OF THOSE BORN, RAISED AND AT HOME AMONG THE ELITE.


          How does he avoid making this obvious on Wednesday?

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I think you are correct. I spoke with a friend who was at a Mitt Rally on Friday in PA yesterday. He said that there is so much talk before, during and after about how odd Mitt is that crowds are being given little peopl talks about understanding that Mitt is unconventional and not into the political games that others are. The applause is forced and the audience needed cuing to come in at the right time.

      It is interesting that the class war Romney and the GOP accused the Dems, and particularly Obama, of starting may indeed be in the offing….only it is Romney and Ryan who have provided the lens through which it appears more and more people are viewing the war that is being waged by the mega wealthy against those below them on the economic pyramid- most of us.

      That realization is opening eyes. Fast enough? Wide enough? Don’t know but if the President earns a 2nd term, a stronger Dem Senate, and a Dem House then we know enlightenment has visited the voter. Of course there are degrees of enlightenment and I will still be pleased with several combinations of electoral results.

      I am aware of how many commercials have disappeared from the Romney arsenal- they were not working. It is not clear what is.

      Now we have to keep our folks motivated and committed to bring out the Democratic vote.

  5. AdLib says:

    I mentioned this last night in Vox Populi but my theory about Ann Romney making this remark is that she sees Mitt currently as being mentally unsound. That is, right now, Mitt may be going through a bit of a nervous breakdown.

    People often project when they have pent up emotions about something they are prevented from talking about and can be completely oblivious to how what they are saying about a different time or subject is actually a subconscious expression of what they’re feeling so strongly about.

    As you mention in your post, Murph, Romney’s behavior on the stump lately has been odd and strained. He avoids eye contact with anyone who asks him questions, his fake chuckle seems to be running like air conditioning in the Sahara and there is a dullness behind his eyes.

    He may not be having a nervous breakdown but with voices on both sides hammering him, his candidacy tanking and seeing his place in history as that of a huge loser and failure, he might just be battling intense depression and fear on a daily basis.

    Thankfully, The Daily Show covered the terrible epidemic of wealthy people needing psychological counseling:

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I spoke with a psychiatric nurse this afternoon. I sent her a list to my post here and over at HP. She called to tell me that she and a number of her colleagues think that Mitt is on some meds, and at times more than others. She pointed to the time in the last couple of days when Mitt was passing out jerky in the plane. Her quote- “he seemed stoned- not just tired, but really out of it.” Being a LDS, meds would be a rarity and their effect can be significant.

      Just another twist. She also said that his very relaxed campaign schedule is a sure sign of nervous exhaustion and that Ann may have said what her conscience urged her to say. It is a very serious warning.

      • AdLib says:

        Murph, appreciate her insights. I know Mormons can’t imbibe coffee or alcohol…but are anti-depressants just fine?

        She may be right about the meds but what I find very interesting is her proposition that the reason for his disappearance from the campaign trail…and to add to that, the reason he may have been dedicated to private fundraising appearances instead of public rallies…is that he was suffering from nervous exhaustion or a mini breakdown.

        The ones that really lose it are the ones who are putting up the facade 24/7, all smiles and chuckling while trying to repress the panic and depression they truly feel.

        Romney doesn’t seem like a guy who is very in touch with emotions though so he may have a perfect mentality for living in denial for an extended period.

        He’s also in a bubble of denialists who are doing their best to insulate him from the reality that he’s almost certainly going to lose. This combo probably allows him to be a decent wind-up toy at the debates and in public appearances until the election but there is no genuine humanity or honesty that is emoted.

        As long as people get out and vote and keep working for and donating to Obama’s campaign, I don’t think there is any path for Romney to turn things around and win.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:


          Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use
          The Nation

          Medicine: Some point to the pressures of Mormonism, especially for women, to explain the surprising findings.

          February 20, 2002|JULIE CART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

          SALT LAKE CITY — Doctors here have for years talked about the widespread use of antidepressants in the state. But there was no hard evidence until a national study that tracked drug prescriptions came to an unexpected conclusion:

          Antidepressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average.

          • AdLib says:

            Murph, that is a fascinating report!

            The image of Mormons promoted by the Mormon Church is a cartoon-like “happy family” and as many have remarked, it’s just not normal for human beings to act like that.

            This study would seem to bear that out. The social and peer pressure on Mormons to be pleasant and cheery on the outside while repressing many more negative (and human) feelings may indeed be driving so many into private depression.

            Look at Romney, how falsely “pleasant” he always plays, all his phony smiling and chuckling, imagine how messed up he really is inside.

            Lastly, can anyone explain why the Mormon religion finds caffeine unacceptable but pharmaceuticals that can severely alter personality and mood are Kolub-approved?

    • HAHA! Too funny, Jeebus my heart just bleeds for those poor rich folk! I wonder if they can pay someone to be bored for them.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Ok do you want the standard, deluxe, or supreme treatment….of course there is an additional surcharge for each- most of which we will stiff you on.

  6. escribacat says:

    One of the things I like best about President Obama is that he has a “calm assertive energy.” This is a phrase I learned from the “Dog Whisperer,” my favorite TV show. If you want to rehabilitate a fearful or aggressive dog, you must have calm assertive energy. It’s the most important quality in a pack leader. And you’re right — Mitt comes off as jittery and uncertain. Actually, back when Clinton was president, I always thought he seemed uncertain of himself too. Not any more though.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      CAE…..first time I saw the term and it really works.

      Look at how he manages the crowds during rallies. Look at how he works with reporters. Look how he works a crowd.

      Self-assured, calm, cool….and concerned, engaged and interactive….he is a natural (except of course we know he is actually inclined to be strong introvert who is drawn to the role of policy wonk)….makes this all that much more impressive.

      Your point about Clinton- I don’t think Bill listened enough -- age has quieted him and made him not just smart but wise.

  7. Greta42 says:

    Hi Murph,
    First of all, the comment would have been run 24/7 on Fox noise up until the election -- and the MSM would also have picked it up and ran it endlessly. Let’s see what happens with Ann’s statement.

    Frankly, I think this is the most honest statement Ann has made -- and sincere.

    Your description of Myth has worried me for quite some time -- His appearance and language all tell a story of instability. This is a game changing comment, I think. There is no choice for people who are reasonable -- Only one of the candidates is qualified.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Spot on Greta…spot on….

      I am a little stunned that the comment has not gotten more coverage than it has. Why? Well, first the folks on the left just are not that aggressive…we have no FOX (and what we do have is- to their credit- very loyal to its principles of journalistic integrity-)….the result is that messages like this one can get lost (not hard enough news -- but this one might be far more important than a policy speech- is the guy unable to deal with pressure?).

      With you on this all the way.

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