Mitt Romney – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

One of Gordon Gekko’s famous lines in the movie Wall Street was:

“Well, in my book, you either do it right, or you get eliminated.

Mitt Romney hasn’t been doing much right lately.

Even some Obama supporters must feel for him as his last month has ranged from incredibly stupid (47% comment) to terribly unprepared (untimely attack on Obama administration’s foreign policy)….which was preceded by a snore fest of a Republican convention, where Clint Eastwood was the story on what should have been Romney’s night.

Before these “foot in mouth” stumbles, Romney offered very little of himself or his policies, yet was still in a close race with President Obama.

Too Much

In a private room with top fundraisers, Romney offered words about 47% of America that would come to haunt him:

“I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”.

Instead of sticking to his safe talking points, he said too much in May 2012.  Didn’t Romney or his team know a basic rule of politics? - to always speak as if the world is listening. The owner of that hidden video camera must have been jumping for joy.

When two competitors are in a close race (like the candidates in summer), it’s important for each person to maintain a nice flow and not do too much to upset the balance. The Obama campaign understands that and is highly disciplined.

In addition, attacking Obama on foreign policy before the facts were known about Libya showed a severe lack of preparation. As the Benghazi crisis was unfolding, Romney criticized the current administration for making an “apology for American values”.

As we now know, the attack in Libya took the lives of the US Ambassador and three other Americans. Even some Republicans (media and politicians) were critical of Romney’s statement.  This moment was a classic case of striking out while going for a home run, when all Romney needed to do was keep hitting singles.

Too Little

Romney has offered broad yet unspecified plans of his strategy for America, along with letting the Obama campaign define his image.

In addition, he has failed to inspire, a key ingredient in winning Presidential elections – just ask Reagan, Clinton or Obama.

A)    Low Taxes, Less Governments and Creating Jobs have been central themes for Romney. With a tough USA economy and circumstances dire for millions, one has to think that voters (especially undecided ones) want to here more specifics in order to be persuaded to the Republican side.

B)    Romney has seemed uneasy talking about his Bain Capital background and financial success. Since the Obama campaign has done a very good job painting him as “out of touch” with effective advertising, it’s hard to fathom why Romney doesn’t proudly extol his past experience. He has lived the American dream so why not promote that to all Americans? One should never be bashful about hard-earned success.
C)    Since Romney was a businessman most of his life, the savvy political instincts never seem to come forth.  Maybe he is trying to be something he is not (i.e. appealing to his conservative base), which in life or politics isn't a good thing.  Romney seems like a decent man although his authenticity rarely glows.

Romney has given potential supporters too little to be inspired by.

Too Late

Romney had his chance to shine yet never seized the day with a positive game changer or “wow” moment, therefore not putting any real pressure on a sitting President, vulnerable because of the bad economy.

Despite the lack of sizzle, he was in a good position against Obama before convention season. Instead of riding the wave with singles and the occasional double until November 6, his mouth has put his campaign into disarray.

Offering “Too Much” in the form of unwise words lately, preceded by “Too Little” of Mitt to start with = Too Late.

Could Romney still win the Presidency? Of course.  Only a fool would believe that the race is over as one never knows when a damaging story or event could undermine Obama. The President has taken a significant lead in many states including the all important swing states because of Romney’s missteps, but that could change quickly if Romney gains some momentum.

However, the beginning words to the song by Johnny Mathis and Denise Williams are perfectly suited for some Obama supporters, as they are singing them already:

Guess it's over, call it a day
Sorry that it had to end this way
No reason to pretend
We knew it had to end some day, this way
(Too Much, Too Little, Too Late)

One would think the former capitalist in Romney would display more of the boldness of Gordon Gekko as they are cut from the same cloth (i.e. making money from distressed companies). As a former CEO, one has to think that the boldness is there.

Gekko always played to win and never lacked confidence.  Mitt needs some of that swagger; particularly in Wednesday’s first debate.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a column recently advising Mitt to “Go Large”:

Mitt, he’s right. You need to make some Power Moves as you cannot rely on luck at this point.

Do it Big and Do it Right and Do it Now…..or you will be eliminated.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

 Mitt Romney needs some Gordon Ghekko Swagger. (

September 11, 2001 - LUCK Kept Him Alive

On Tuesday, many will remember that horrific day in 2001, especially those of us who were in NYC that morning.

Here's a passage I wrote 4 years ago about a man I played basketball with on a weekly basis:

Many people were fortunate to be absent from their job on that fateful morning for a variety of reasons. One of those absentees was a member of my gym. He worked for the firm Cantor Fitzgerald which lost the majority (over 600) of their employees that day. He was playing in his weekly Tuesday morning basketball game which didn't end until 8am. He was on his way to work when the first plane hit. I wanted to ask him how he felt to be alive but the moment never felt right. Two of his colleagues (nice guys) who often played basketball with me at the gym were in the office that morning and never came home. Fortune smiles on some and frowns on others.
 My article from 4 years ago (Sept 11, 2001 - Pain, Giving, Renewal)

I was thinking of him lately as if not for the LUCK of that basketball game, he would have surely been dead.

Many of us probably don't attribute our success to luck although it is difficult not to see how important luck really is.

-- Wasn't I lucky to be born with a basketball talent? I think so. Yes, I cultivated the talent and made the best use of it to get a college scholarship although luck played a large part. Without the luck of basketball along with the luck of having a great mentor and parents, my life wouldn't have been nearly as interesting or exciting.

-- Hard to see how Bill Gates wasn't lucky to be born into a well-off household where he could play with computers at his leisure during his childhood. If he came from a poor household, it is highly unlikely that he would have been as successful.

-- Wasn't it luck that someone took a chance on an overweight black woman named Oprah early in her career? With the ratings war and beauty (just look at CNBC) being more of an emphasis for women today, it's hard to imagine a 2012 Oprah getting that lucky break.

Oprah and Gates made the absolute best of their fortunate situations although luck cannot and should not be discounted.

-- If Barack Obama hadn't lost that 2000 Congressional race to Bobby Rush, is there any doubt that there wouldn't be a President Obama? Luck.

-- In 1982, I asked an older mentor (was married before) to come to my community pool as I noticed  there were plenty of friendly and single ladies. He met a kind woman and they hit it off immediately. They moved in together within weeks and will be celebrating 30 years of marriage soon. They have been a perfect match! Hard not to see the luck in that moment.

If you are not a believer of luck in your success, maybe this quote from a famous writer might give you some food for thought.

"People really don't like to hear success explained away as luck, especially successful people. As they age and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don't want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There's a reason for this. The world doesn't want to acknowledge it either. Don't be deceived by life's outcomes. Life's outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them. Above all, recognize that you have had success, you have also had luck. And with luck comes obligation."
(Michael Lewis - Author of MoneyBall)

If I had the chance to go back to any of our basketball nights after 9/11, when we sat together exhausted after fun competition, I would ask the aforementioned man one question:

Don't you feel like a Lucky Guy after 9/11?

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Being “Average” was OK Before...(No Longer)

Throughout my life and career, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by many individuals who are above average.

Whether they possessed wit, charm, grace, intelligence, grit, diligence, empathy, toughness, relentlessness, street smarts, confidence, social skills, determination, mentoring qualities, common sense, nuance, thick skin or a passion for those less fortunate…..they all had one common thread called “Success”.

They were not average in any sense of the word. Maybe more importantly, most perfected the art of having fun with their accomplishments.

It’s been a wonderful gift for me as I’ve been motivated to be as good as I could be in my career, as a human being and as a parent. Even when I have fallen short, there was never a lack of inspiration to get me back on track.  I also realized early on that by being around successful people and/or having quality mentors, would not only make life more enjoyable but also benefit me immensely as I chased my dreams.

The aforementioned thoughts surfaced because of a great article I read earlier this year, written by author Thomas Friedman. A passage is below from his column “Average is Over”:

Yes, new technology has been eating jobs forever, and always will. As they say, if horses could have voted, there never would have been cars. But there’s been an acceleration. As Davidson notes, “In the 10 years ending in 2009, [U.S.] factories shed workers so fast that they erased almost all the gains of the previous 70 years; roughly one out of every three manufacturing jobs — about 6 million in total — disappeared.”

With the way technology has rapidly blossomed and will change even faster in the future, it’s important for everyone (especially our youth), to embrace change and develop more than one set of skills.

Another passage:

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.

The link to this timely and insightful article is below along with the author’s parting words:

In a world where average is officially over, there are many things we need to do to buttress employment, but nothing would be more important than passing some kind of G.I. Bill for the 21st century that ensures that every American has access to post-high school education.

“Average” might have provided a good life for someone before although one thing we can all count on is that it won’t anymore.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Gswede was "Above Average" in Basketball, thus securing a 4 year college scholarship! Along with Education, sports can take one a long way as well if one is willing to "Put in the Time".