Social Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Is Romney autistic?

Asked by LostInParadise (17690 points ) July 31st, 2012

There is something about the guy that is not quite right. The robotic movements, the lack of empathy and compassion, the total lack of tact displayed in telling the British that they are messing up the Olympics and the Palestinians that their problems are due to cultural inferiority. Maybe he has a touch of Asperger’s. I mean this in all seriousness. Do you think that it is possible?

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37 Answers

josie's avatar

My nephew is autistic. He is a loveable guy, but he is nothing like Romney. And the other thing is, I really do not like Romney, and I may not vote for him, but I wish my nephew could at least enjoy Romney’s capabilities rather than the limited ones that he has.
In spite of your ass, here is your GQ.

chyna's avatar

I don’t know but his mannerisms remind me of Ted Danson, the actor, whom I find very stiff and somewhat uncomfortable in his own body.

zenvelo's avatar

I think it is more a case of having lived a privileged life since he was a child. When he was a student he was considered the “White Stallion” to fulfill Mormon prophecy.

He has been told since he was young that he was pre-destined to be President and “save the Constitution” plus he has no connection to middle class people and values. No wonder he is awkward amongst us peasants.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Romney is NOT Autistic – he is a psychopath trying to convince the American voters that he is not a psychopath. He clearly has no empathy to relate to people & his treatment of his supposedly ‘beloved family pet’ by making the dog ride in a crate lashed to the top of his car for a 1200 mile trip, shows that he also has no empathy for animals (& this is a clear sign of being a psychopath!).

GracieT's avatar

@Linda_Owl, Once again GA!

dabbler's avatar

@Linda_Owl I was going to say sociopath, but basically I think you nailed it. He’s so odd because he is pretending to care about others.

Blackberry's avatar

Didn’t he also dress as a cop and pull people over when he was younger? How the heck did he get away with that? Lol.

jrpowell's avatar

The Romney is the perfect height here in Oregon.

Aethelflaed's avatar

If you mean it in all seriousness, then it’s generally considered highly unethical to try and diagnose someone over the internet, and something that perpetuates stigma around mental health.

If you mean it as a rant against a politician you don’t care for, dude seriously does not need to have a diagnosis for us to think he’s too emotionally unavailable and unsociable to be president.

mazingerz88's avatar

In this day and age, I’m not sure if a grown man who for whatever reason does not or refuses to utter the word “hell” as an expression is fit to be POTUS. Romney reportedly, says “H E double toothpick” when saying hell. Cute, just cute.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Seriously? No.

Do you actually understand what autism is @LostInParadise?

I live with two Aspies. It would be impossible for either one of them to meet as many people as Mitt does in one day, to touch those people, to be in a suit in front of those people giving a speech….

No. Just no.

wilma's avatar

No. My nephew has Aspergers, no Romney couldn’t have that and do what he does.

He may be awkward, he may be stiff and/or uncharismatic, but he isn’t autistic. I also don’t think that he is any more psychopathic than many politicians. I think you have to be pretty narcissistic to get to the point where you are running for president of the United States. What kind, nice normal person wants that life?

filmfann's avatar

He is socially inept, not socially uncomfortable.
He likes to be social, he just isn’t very good at it.
How did this guy get the nomination?

Ron_C's avatar

I agree with @Linda_Owl he’s a psychopath. He hasn’t officially gained the Republican nomination, yet. Ironically, he’s the most sane out of the crazy people that were running. There was on excellent candidate that could convince me to vote republican, John Huntsman.

Unfortunately, republicans aren’t going for competent, they want crazy

Patton's avatar

No, and I’m not sure why autism is the new go-to diagnosis for everything. Not everyone who sucks at interpersonal communication has a diagnosable problem to explain it away for them. And I’m not sure why so many people seem to agree with @Linda_Owl calling him a psychopath, which is another word that has strict diagnostic conditions associated with it.

Yeah, it’s politically convenient to draw a cheap connection between the way that violent psychopaths (not all psychopaths are violent) typically start with animals and the admittedly strange decision to strap an Irish setter to the roof of a car, but the motivations behind the two actions are very different. They can both be described in terms of a lack of empathy, but that leaves out many relevant details.

I think @zenvelo is closest: Romney is used to conversing with a very narrow set of people and simply doesn’t do well when forced out of his comfort zone. He’s used to getting the benefit of the doubt and being around people who share his background and specific values, and he lacks the social awareness to realize what his words sound like to people of different backgrounds. That makes him a bad candidate, but it doesn’t make him mentally unsound.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Patton What? But we have to have a go-to diagnosis for everything, and bipolar’s on the way out!

Patton's avatar

@Aethelflaed Oh, shit… you’re right. Um, I hereby declare myself a competent doctor and introduce “humanitis.” You are all hereby designated “terminally human.”

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Patton Pshaw! I’ve had that since before it was even a diagnosis. Ironically, of course.

Ron_C's avatar

@Patton GA, you’re right, many of us are too quick to jump to a diagnosis. The important thing is that people,instinctively, know that there is something wrong with Romney, they just give it the wrong name.

There are a great many people, not in his social class, that like his behavior and opinions, those are the ones we should really worry about because they have the power to vote him into office

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Patton You you will never, ever be able to be quite sure ;)

LostInParadise's avatar

I am not saying that Romney is completely autistic. Clearly he is not. He is certainly not a psychopath. If he were cruel and sadistic, he would try to hide those traits. Romney, on the other hand, shows a complete disconnect with the average person. How else to explain offering to make a bet of $10,000 or joking about firing people? There are varying degrees of autism. There are professions where a little autism might be beneficial, any job that requires great attention to detail. Empathy would be a drawback for anyone who heads up a hedge fund, a job that entails firing large numbers of people. I am sure Romney was very good at what he did, which was to make wealthy people even wealthier, but I don’t think those particular skills are appropriate for the presidency.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Being super rich sort of explains all those traits, too…

tedd's avatar

I mean I see where you’re going, his social screw ups being an indication of super mild autism/asbergers…. But it’s really not the right type of social awkwardness that he is projecting.

I believe the problem is much more likely that he has lived in the company of the upper-elite-class his entire life, and he simply can’t relate to us common folk down below. The guy didn’t know what a donut was for christ’s sake.

An unrelated, fun, side note… there’s a growing chorus of historians/doctors who think Thomas Jefferson had Asbergers. He apparently dressed like a crazy person, in raggedy old clothes, and had issues with public speaking and speeches, as well as other tell tale signs. Obviously no way to diagnose it now, but interesting to think about.

sinscriven's avatar

Not too long ago there was some buzz about some findings revealed from psych studies that the rich are less compassionate and less socially involved than the poor who must develop those skills to survive.

Romney is a poster boy for this. I don’t think he’s mentally off, just that his conditioning growing up was so sheltered and removed from the common reality that he has serious inabilities to relate to others, be genuinely charistmatic, and especially considering the news lately, be diplomatic.

When you’re that rich you don’t have to give a crap about getting along with other people.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@sinscriven – I think being rich, sure, you don’t have to give a crap about getting along with other people…But that’s kind of a requirement when you run for office – being likable. He kind of reminds me of Patrick Bateman.

cazzie's avatar

I am sure there is a list of disorders you could contribute to him, but autsim is not one of them.

jerv's avatar

It takes one to know one, and I can tell you that he definitely isn’t an Aspie. Most of us are either highly sociable yet awkward in a different way (much like young children, only with a larger vocabulary), or too shy to even consider doing anything that involves being in the public eye.

And given his relative success in business, I think it safe to assume that he does have decent social skills (notably fast-talking), which effectively rules out just about every ASD in the book. We may be smart, but we’re not smooth.

I have known neurotypical elitists who lack compassion, so it’s possible that he’s just an asshole. He may even have enough of a lack of empathy to qualify as sociopathic, but he’s definitely not autistic.

Buttonstc's avatar

I would think that categorizing Romney as autistic is an insult to autistic people :)

He’s just an awkward, stiff kind guy when the spotlight is on him and he functions on logic rather than emotion. Just because we don’t like his political positions doesn’t mean we need to read more into it than that.

Have we so soon forgotten about Al Gore? He’s another guy who just can’t help coming across as stiff when in the public eye (but quite different when among close friends and family according to many who know him). And the same observations have been made about Romney.

I see the two of them quite similar, personality-wise.they are just guys who read as “stiff” and the harder they try not to be, the worse it gets.

But we aren’t calling Al Gore a sociopath because we find his political positions more compatible with our own so we can overlook a personality that is so similar to Romney they could be twins.

And meanwhile gullible people elect Shrub (younger Bush) twice in a row even tho he’s sending tons of our young men to die and be maimed in wars on two fronts so he can appear macho. (who’s the real sociopath here?)

And why was he so popular? Because he’s been oft described as the type of guy people would want to have a beer with (or dinner with)

All this personality crap is so beside the point regardless of which side of the political aisle we are on.

We need to stop focusing upon the superfluous personality traits of all these guys and take a thorough look at the political positions and policies they propose. That’s what will effect our lives.

Yes, Romney is as stiff as a board just like Gore was, but that’s not why I won’t be voting for him. That is so beside the point.

What is the point is that if he is elected, his policies will insure that the rich will continue to get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class continuing to disappear. This will all serve to further divide our nation and destabilize our economy. And that’s because of his politics and not his wooden personality.

We need to focus on what’s important. Resorting to name calling (particularly if the names chosen make us appear ignorant) is just distracting from the important issues and serve no useful purpose. Yes, he’s as wooden as a cigar store Indian. So what? It’s his political positions which will do us in as a nation. Focus on those.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am not resorting to name calling, because I do not see anything wrong with being autistic. There are a great many things that they can do well. I see his personality as being ideally suited to plundering failing businesses as head of a hedge fund.

The problem with Romney is not just social awkwardness. It is that he says things that show basic lack of understanding of others feelings. How can he visit England and tell them they don’t know how to do the Olympics? How did he expect people to react, positively? I conjectured that this blind spot might be due, at least in part, to a mild form of autism.

Being president requires a bit of empathy and compassion. Romney lacks those qualifications. It is not just a greedy interest in promoting rich people like himself. It is that he has no idea of the problems of the 90%. It just does not register.

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc While you are correct that name-calling distracts from the issues, I stand by my words. While Gore never really showed empathy, he never showed a lack of it like Romney did/does. And while W sent people to war, you could tell that he cared; he did what he did because he felt it necessary for the greater good.
There are other disorders that are characterized by a lack of empathy, sociopathy among them, and it’s also possible that it’s not any disorder at all but merely his personality.

Remind me next time to run my thoughts through a PR drone so that they don’t get the message obscured by semantics.

Buttonstc's avatar

Just to clarify, my reference to name calling was primarily about the overuse of the term sociopath. Thats just ridiculous. If that were the case, don’t you think that there are plenty enough experienced mental health professionals (who really do know what they’re talking about) who would spot this and sound the alarm.

A sociopath is a dangerous person to have in charge of peoples lives (since they literally don’t have a conscience and are extremely skillful manipulators) and if that were the case I’m sure there would be enough trained professionals concerned enough to. expose this for the common good, regardless of political party.

Romney is barely able to convince people to vote for him so hes obviously not that skilled at manipulation. He’d make a really piss poor sociopath since that is their number one skill which they have developed to an art form.

Those of you so eager to call Romney a sociopath have obviously never encountered one in real life (which is hardly surprising since they only comprise about 1–2% of the population. )

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that I think hes a stellar human being. But he just doesn’t have the skillet for being a sociopath. Thats just ridiculous.

He was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth so its not surprising he has a tin ear regarding the needs of ordinary folk. But that makes him a spoiled rich guy. Not a sociopath.

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc Apparently he has convinced people to vote for him before though. He was a governor, and executive boards also have elements of democracy.

And yes, the odds are that he is merely spoiled as opposed to actually sociopathic, but he also shares enough traits with the certifiable sociopaths I have known that I will not rule out the possibility either.

As an aside, Aspies make up considerably less than 1% of the population. In fact, those with any form of ASD make up less than 1%, and Aspies are a small minority of that tiny segment of the population. Statistically, he is a few orders of magnitude more likely to be sociopathic than autistic. Just stating the numbers.

Buttonstc's avatar

Your Aspie statistic is interesting. I’m assuming that those with autism are not included in that?

With the rise in autism diagnoses in recent years, I’m assuming its markedly different from when you were a kid.

I know that one of the autism organizations has been running a PSA citing the statistics on having a child with autism and i was startled by that stat. I wish my brain did as good a job retaining numbers as of did obscure spellings because I cant re all the e,act numbers. I just remember that it was much more than I would have ever thouht.

Do you know the one I’m referring to?

Ill see if I can find it somewhere.

Buttonstc's avatar

OK I found it and it says 1 child in every 110 will be diagnosed.

That seems awfully high. I do realize that they’re including the full spectrum of everything from mild aspie to full blown limited functioning autistic, but still…..

Doesn’t that seem pretty high to you, Jerv ?

Its sure an awful lot higher than sociopaths :)

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Buttonstc I think you might be underestimating how large 1–2% is. Most of us know well over a hundred people, when you include coworkers, people from book club, people from houses of worship, neighbors, former college roommates…

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc Most of the people I meet outside of my hobbies are normal, so 1% sounds approximately right. Naturally, hardcore gamers and computer nerds are more represented there as both appeal to analytical misfits, so I meet more of them than most people, but even then I meet fairly few. I believe the official numbers for AS are in the range of 4.3 per thousand (0.43%, including mild cases), give or take, and are outnumbered by non-AS autistic folks by at least 1.5:1, with most estimates closer to 5:1.

We may get a lot of media exposure, but we are fairly rare; you are more likely to run into a millionaire unless you go someplace that attracts them like flies. Of course, the internet is one of those places, so if you hang out online, you will see more of us than you will on the street.

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