Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is set to formally accept his party's nomination Thursday at the Republican National Convention. By all accounts, speakers such as his wife Ann Romney, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and running mate Paul Ryan have met their party's expectations.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, John Avlon notes what he calls Romney's 'missing character narrative.' Avlon says it is time for Romney to share intimate details of his life that helped shape his character so voters may get to know the 'real Romney.'
John Avlon is also a CNN contributor and member of the OutFront political strike team.
Mitt Romney’s Missing Character Narrative Must Be Part of GOP Convention Speech
Mitt Romney’s nomination speech is receiving final edits as you read this—examined to make sure every essential theme is included, every phrase shined and sharpened.
But Romney has an additional burden in this nomination address—he needs to fill in the missing character narrative at the core of his campaign.
JFK had the searing experience of PT 109. John McCain survived years in a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp. Bill Clinton stood up to an abusive stepfather. George W. Bush overcame the temptations of drink and found a fortifying faith.
We expect our presidential candidates to come with a character narrative, however big or small – a hero’s journey of suffering and redemption that informs their judgment, arming them with empathy and wisdom once they reach the Oval Office.
Mitt Romney’s blessing is his curse in this regard. He has lived a life of privilege and discipline animated by ambition. He was the son of a CEO and governor. He famously protested in favor of the Vietnam War but never served. He got a JD/MBA from Harvard and soon found extraordinary success in private equity, which would snowball into a quarter-billion dollar fortune, made meaningful by a lifelong love and five healthy children.
He has lived a life of great success but little suffering, at least on the surface. He has been tested, but in the boardroom rather than the battlefield.
This missing character narrative compounds his core problem of relate-ability. After five years of running for president, Mitt Romney has not put forward a character narrative at the core of his campaign biography.