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Negotiating Skills?

Here's a case study of why Mitt Romney doesn't connect with voters, and why his campaign is floundering: before a Jewish group in Las Vegas, he touted as his primary foreign policy asset his . . . negotiating skills.  Cue Jon Lovitz: yeah, that's the ticket.  There are millions of GOP and independent voters whose first thought is, "I want a president with good negotiating skills."  There's something badly wrong with your political instincts when a speech and encounter with reporters generates headlines and ledes like this one.  But this is what happens when you dodge questions and won't take a substantive stand on the issues right in front of you.  From the story:

In his address Saturday to the Republican Jewish Coalition gathered here, he lambasted President Obama for what he characterized as a weak approach to international forces based on a lack of negotiating skills. But Romney never directly discussed U.S. involvement in Libya, leaving a group of reporters chasing him down a hall to ask him about this puzzling omission and whether he had a position on the United States launching a military offensive in a third Islamic country.

"I've got a lot of positions on a lot of topics," Romney said over his shoulder, "but walking down the hall probably isn't the best place to describe all those."

The day before, Romney had sidestepped a question about his recent trip to Afghanistan, saying he would discuss foreign policy in his speech on Saturday. But he neglected to talk about his trip or about continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in those remarks.

"I've got a lot of positions on a lot of topics."  That's precisely Romney's problem.  And does he really think Obama's foreign policy problems are because Obama lacks good "negotiating skills"?  Mitt, please go back to work for Bain Capital.

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Discussions - 10 Comments

First the Monty Python references, now (again) a Jon Lovitz quip. It's like I'm in a time machine that's stuck.

In your world has Seinfeld aired its pilot yet?

I also think negotiating may be seen as a more valuable skill than you assume - even among independents and conservatives.

Yes, well, I can imagine Seinfeld's observation on my Pythonisms/SNL would be: "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

Are you ever going to get a grip?

"Are you ever going to get a grip?"

Not in our lifetime.

Negotiating skills are important.

But in any good executive they are expected. Further, it is expected the good executive knows when and when not to negotiate.

Of course, Obama's election has changed this dynamic. We elected the quintessential non-executive ... one who has no apparent desire to negotiate or willingness to negotiate, nor the ability to discern when to negotiate and when to command.

Against that backdrop I can understand (sort of) Romney's statement.

But it still sounds a little silly. Like a Ford advertisement touting their steering wheel.

Actually, if Seinfeld would bother to comment at all on your comic references, I'm guessing it would be more along the lines of "Meh." accompanied by a pained squint. We'll probably never find out.

As for this:
"I also think negotiating may be seen as a more valuable skill than you assume - even among independents and conservatives."

Well, if Loyal Reader DonInAZ is admitting as much, good luck with treating negotiating skills like a terminal cancer diagnosis among non-ideological conservatives and (actual, non-Bill O'Reilly-type) independents.

Well, if Loyal Reader DonInAZ is admitting as much, good luck with treating negotiating skills like a terminal cancer diagnosis among non-ideological conservatives and (actual, non-Bill O'Reilly-type) independents.

Nobody is suggesting we "treat negotiating skills like a terminal cancer diagnosis." Mr. Hayward simply pointed out it was a less-than-compelling attribute to stress, particularly for those likely to participate in the primary process.

In other words, it's not so much a negative as it is simply not a compelling positive. Or, as you would put it, "Meh" accompanied by a pained squint.

I have no strong feelings for Romney as a candidate. I suspect he would make a good president, provided he did not fall prey to re-election fever. He strikes me as wanting the role too much, and therefore he's become cautious ... and squishy.

One of Romney's big weaknesses is that no matter what approach he adopts (orthodox conservative, pragmatic technocrat) he can't seem to help reminding people that he wants to be President very badly (in at least two and perhaps three senses of badly.)

in at least two and perhaps three senses of badly.

Oh, do please enlighten a poor soul from a bad public high school. :-)

Hey! I went to a public high school. Two senses:

1. He wants it very much.

2. The obvious intensity of his desire is counterproductive, making attainment of his goal more difficult.

These complaints are all rather strained, Mr. Hayward. You can wait until Saturday to find out Mr. Romney's thoughts on these questions.

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