Kate Paulk, an Aussie, talks about her view of Mitt Romney’s character.
It’s clear from Mr. Romney’s manner that he steps in whenever needed without complaint because he regards this as just something that needs to be done. And to an Australian, that attitude is admirable. We tend to respect people who do this regardless of whether we agree with their beliefs (with the caveat that those beliefs don’t harm anyone else — the kind of belief that says Person X is less than human tends to get short shrift).
Mr. Romney’s so-called “wooden” manner is also a factor here, and yes, in my view it’s admirable. The thing about MS is you don’t know what it will take next. There’s no way to predict episodes, no way to guess what area of the brain will be attacked. It can’t be pleasant for Mr. Romney to see his wife suffering this kind of deterioration, and since he needs to be strong for her, he’s built up a pleasant, cheerful demeanor so that she doesn’t see how much her pain hurts him. It also protects him to some extent: the masks allow him to defer his suffering while he deals with the more important matter — namely supporting his wife. I’d be willing to guarantee that Mr. Romney’s calm assurance is something he only drops in the presence of those he trusts absolutely and knows he won’t hurt when he drops it. After any length of time, something like this becomes reflex: it takes conscious effort to drop it.
So no, I don’t expect to see any spontaneous reaction from Mr. Romney unless he’s badly shocked, and I certainly hope he never finds himself in that position. This is a good thing. No, he will never be spontaneous in politics, but he is also unlikely to throw unseemly tantrums.
I admit. I come clean. I like Mitt Romney. I’ve liked him for a while now. I think he’s politically awkward in the same way that I’d be awkward if I were to run for political office. But that doesn’t make him a bad man. And, the more I read about him, the more I like his character.