I have a great affection for agents, middlemen, deal makers. They sit at the hubs, build the bridges, keep the traffic flowing. I get a cranky when people who have never made a deal, built a bridge, or created a new solid connection betwen two diverse things start whinning about agency problems.
So my ears perked up at this bit over at Talking Point’s Memo. This appears in a quote from, we are told a very shrewd Republican. He’s reacting to the other evening’s Republican presidential debate.
Mitt Romney, just to try to figure out what he is thinking as he goes through this process. I don’t really know, but here’s a guess: to Romney, getting elected President is a lot like putting together a business deal. The details of getting the deal done matter, because the deal doesn’t happen without them, but the main thing is getting the deal done. I think Romney has personal beliefs, but not political principles; he wouldn’t do anything in this campaign that would hurt his family or someone he cared about, but he’ll change positions the way most people change socks. Whatever it takes to get the deal done.
Getting deals done is real work. It has it’s own ethical framework. I like to say that middleman’s problem is that he has to love both sides. Which can be hard because the sides don’t love each other; if they did you wouldn’t need to build the bridge. That makes the middleman appear two faced, since each side finds it deeply suspicious if they find out he likes the other side.
As an aside. My saying “love both sides” isn’t actually right. The middleman has to adopt some attitude about both sides, maybe not even the same one. He can hate them both for example. He can be delighted by one, and have high respect for the other. There are lots of choices.
I think that insight about Romney is reasonably correct. The presumption that he will do anything to get the deal done. I don’t know about that. I suspect it maybe right, some deal makers anchor their ethical house on the foundation of maximizing deal flow.
That said I think Romney also has a streak of boarding school brat. Poor adult role models combined with a arrogant attitude about the kids off campus. A tendency to think the uniform makes the man. I firmly believe his attitude about the voters is he doesn’t particularly like them. They just keep getting in the way of closing the deal.
Good politicians, i.e. the ones you should support, like the voters. One at a time, in groups, and all together.