A story out of Boston Spirit may exposes some of the problems that Mitt Romney has as an executive and as a leader. Back in 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court held that same-sex marriage should be legal in Massachusetts, but Governor Romney wanted to push a constitutional amendment to ban such marriages.
Julie Goodridge and the other plaintiffs in the case wrote to Romney asking for a meeting. He ignored it. They held a press conference at his office to read the letter to the media. This was finally enough for them to get a meeting with Romney. What happened next, though, apparently shocked them.
Those in attendance have told Boston Spirit that the meeting was frustrating. They pled their case to Romney while he sat stone-faced and pretty much silent. When they finished, Romney curtly asked “Is there anything else?”
One of the other plaintiffs, David Wilson, stated “It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling. People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying — that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”
Boston Spirit reports:
“I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.
The offhanded remark underscored that Romney, the governor of the first state prepared to grant same-sex marriage, hadn’t taken the time to look at what the landmark case was really about. By this point the plaintiff’s stories had been widely covered by national media — in particular, Julie Goodridge’s heartrending tale of how her then-partner, Hillary, was denied hospital visitation following the precarious birth of daughter Annie. It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.
“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”
His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”
Romney’s retort enraged a speechless Goodridge; he didn’t care, and by referring to her biological daughter as “adopted,” it was clear he hadn’t even been listening. By the time she was back in the hallway, she was reduced to tears.
“I really kind of lost it,” says Goodridge. “I’ve never stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy. It went behind flat affect. It was a complete lack of ability or motivation to understand other people.”
This story comes out at a bad time for Romney. Last night, Romney made several statements attacking President Barack Obama over the attacks in Libya and Egypt that not only smacked of political opportunism, but also of complete insensitivity to the families of those who perished in the attack including Chris Stevens and Sean “Vile Rat” Smith.
The story paints a picture of a Romney who could care less about other people’s problems. Romney comes across as unable to empathize with other people’s problems, and as an arrogant aristocrat who would is playing at being a politician rather than a leader.
The question as to whether or not Romney should be President can be answered within this story. While a President must be above the emotional fray when it comes to making decisions, he cannot be totally without feeling. Romney comes across as having no feelings, no emotions. While Obama often comes across as being dispassionate, Romney comes across as suffering from ennui.
This is just some food for thought.