Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Moral Character of Mitt Romney

This is an ethics blog.

With the election getting near, I have to note the low moral quality of Romney’s character.


The first moral flaw is a basic dishonesty. Romney does not “distort” or “spin” facts. He outright lies. Here are four examples.

(1) His first advertisement against Obama quoted Obama as saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we are going to lose.” In fact, this was taken from a speech where Obama was quoting a McCain aid from the previous campaign. The quote is, “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ”

(2) Romney ran advertisements saying that the Obama administration was seeking to end the work requirements for welfare. In fact, the Obama told some Republican governors who had asked for exceptions that if they can prove that they get a higher employment percentage using their own system that they can get an exception from federal mandates.

(3) The Romney campaign falsely accused the Obama administration of restricting voting rights for the military in Ohio. In fact, the Obama administration was seeking to extend a deadline for non-military members as well – which did not change the rules for military voters one bit.

(4) Romney is currently running an advertisement that says that Chrysler was sold to the Italians who are shipping manufacturing jobs for the Jeep to China. In fact, the company is expanding Jeep production in the United States (while, at the same time, building factories in China to help to meet demand in that country).


A bully is a person who abuses power over others – concerned with his own convenience and seeming to enjoy “putting others in their place” where their interests and concerns do not matter.

Three incidents highlight this disposition.

(1) An incident in high school where Romney rounded up a group of friends in order to assault and forcibly cut the hair of a long-haired student that he and his clique did not like.

(2) Having his dog ride on the roof of the car in family outings.

(3) His comment about the fact that he does not need to worry about the 47% who never pay taxes, who view themselves as “victims” and who are too lazy to do anything constructive with their lives and who will be voting for Obama.

Romney wants to add $200 billion per year to the military budget.

What does a bully want with that kind of power? And what will happen to foreign policy as Romney tries to bully the rest of the world?

Contemptuous and Secrative

"You can't handle the truth!"

Romney is secretive – he does not think that other people need to see what he is doing or what he has done. His behavior gives every indication of, "If they knew what I had done - or will do - they would not approve - so it is best that they do not know."

Here are three examples:

(1) When leaving office as governor of Massachusetts, he and his staff bought the hard drives off of their government computers and erased all records they could legally erase.

(2) Romney refuses to reveal any information from his tax returns more than two years back.

(3) Romney has not given any details on how he plans to cut taxes, increase military spending by $200 billion per year, and pay down the deficit, all at the same time.

This not only shows a secretive nature – giving us good reason to ask what he will be doing behind closed doors as President and who will be profiting by it. It also demonstrates a basic contempt for others. “You can’t handle the truth!”

Of course, his secretive nature and his contempt for giving us the truth goes hand-in-hand with his willingness to lie.

Seriously, is a person this secretive going to be a model of open government? Or is it going to be a model of "doing whatever I can get away with as long as nobody else finds out about it?"


Romney is not a person of good moral character.


Grady said...

How does Obama measure up on these categories? Or are the differences between them so stark that only Romney deserves this level of analysis?

Grung_e_Gene said...

Ummm, Both Sides Do It!!!!11!!!1!

Romney's character flaws aren't negatives to conservatives they love the Totalitarian mindset and the bullying lying tactics of Romney.

Romney as a plutocrat is that special level of sociopath who is lauded and cherished in America (and to be fair throughout history The Borgia Popes, the Byzantine nobility come to mind as examples)

Of course, this 2012 election is a very special set of circumstances. Normally Romney would have faced a tougher road but because he has the right "looks" and can sound convincing he's the option.

Alonzo Fyfe said...


I do not evaluate "sides", I evaluate individual people. A "side" consists of a group of people with differing moral qualities - good and bad.


In this case, I would say that there are significant differences between the two in terms of moral character. I do not know of comparable evidence against Obama.

However, there is a sense in which this does not matter. That would represent a "tu quoque" fallacy. It is not a legitimate defense against any moral crime to say, "Others have done worse than I." For example, it is not a defense against murder to claim that somebody else has murdered two people. Romney is convicted by his own actions - even if there are people who have done worse.

Romney, as an individual, is a person of low moral character. He is certainly not the most evil person who has ever existed, and we all have our faults. Yet, on the bell-curve of moral quality he is of low standing.

Noah Luck said...

Are you comfortable reaching back to Romney's high school days for evaluating his current character? FWIW, I've changed dramatically since high school, and I'd be willing to believe that most people also have.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Noah Luck

I would agree that past misbehavior would not count if it was isolated in the past and the agent renounced that type of behavior in the present. An example would have been Bush's alcoholism - which he admitted to and put behind him. In this case, the other examples show a persistent trait extending to the present that - so far as I know - Romney has never renounced. He has only said, "I do not recall the incident." He doesn't seem to be at all insulted by the accusation.