Romney's performance at the first domestic policy debate was quite the show. He casually lied and flip flopped like a skilled used cars salesman without batting an eye. The political shape shifter dropped his Tea Party, 47% persona in favor of his
Of course all successful politicians have to fudge some things (the voters who constantly demand that politicians be consistent and honest regularly punish those naïve enough to actually do so). But candidate Etch-A-Sketch was so egregious that he left no objective doubt that he has little in the way of principles to ground him -- he says whatever he thinks will get him where he wants to go depending on the audience he is addressing. His saying whatever he wants to regardless of its truth is so easy and out of control that it risks being reckless -- at some point it could come to stick to him enough to help lose the election. But right now it is working out for Mitt. It is perversely impressive how he prevaricated in such a convincing manner that he persuaded a big majority, many Democrats included, that he had won the debate even though the distracted or whatever POTUS did a better job of maintaining a more principled contact with reality.
Few could pull off such a performance. And that was what it was, a theatrical performance. The reason few can do so is that most persons' brain circuitry and chemistry does not allow them to get away with it. When most folks lie they give off tells subtle or not so subtle that most others pick up on. It's called feeling guilty. Maybe not filled with deep remorse, but just guilty enough that the person cannot keep from showing the mental conflict to the outside world. But the Romney brain is clearly geared to cover it all up well enough to fool the majority.
There is a psychological term for a person who is sufficiently lacking in guilt to sell a false line in a convincing manner. Psychopath. There is a very nice article about it in this month's Scientific American, "The Wisdom of Psychopaths." It explains that your socially functional psychopath (i. e. uses persuasion rather than violence in a social setting to con or convince the target, it's the most common variety) are so charismatic, egotistical, confident, focused, and especially low on remorse that they can readily manipulate many others. And that often makes them very successful.
And what class of successful persons are often psychopaths? Why business leaders. CEOs. Manipulating finances being especially attractive to the type. The kind of business in which lacking ruth and empathy to competitors and to those who may be adversely impacted by the pursuit of money is an advantage (click here).
And of course politicians. Most of all those aiming for high office. Striving to be president requires a huge ego and a certain amount of insanity -- its brutal getting there and the 24/7/365 jobs kind of sucks, but all the power and prestige is the reward.
(Another haven for psychopaths is medicine. Especially heroic surgery. It takes a lot to slice someone open with a knife and rummage around their innards. That's why some technically skilled doctors are lacking in empathy. Dr. House anyone?)
It is very plausible that high end financial CEO and POTUS aspiring Romney is socially functional psychopathic. Sure does explain his debate feat. And it is compatible with his religion. Many do not really get what Mormonism is about. It is not just that they wear magic underwear and think the revived Jesus came to the