So what is it about Mitt Romney, who should know these things — and probably does — that makes him so gaffe-prone? Another way to ask the question: Why does a smart man say such stupid things?
I have a theory about this. In spending a lot of time this year thinking about Romney — and speaking with those who know him the best, politically and personally while reporting a CNN documentary — this much appears to be true: Romney has a businessman’s approach to politics. Which means: He sizes up a situation (or an audience). He figures out what he needs to do to cut the deal. Then he does it, and expects it to work.
Ergo, Romney speaks to a group of conservative GOP fat cats, and tells them what he thinks they want to hear so they will cough up the dough. Belief is almost beside the point. He was closing the deal.
Here’s something to know: While Romney was born into politics, he’s not a natural-born politician. His father may have been a three-term Michigan governor, but he told his son to go into business first. So he did. And now Romney is a numbers guy who came to the ideological part of politics late. And it shows, especially when you are asking voters to trust what you believe to become president.