Does Mitt Romney have Asperger's Syndrome?
Joined: 21 Jan 2012
I am vaguely following American politics, and it seems very plausible to me that Republican candidate Mitt Romney has some kind of high-functioning autism. He is often described as being like an alien, or a robot, finds odd things to be amusing, and genuinely seems to have an extremely simple, naive personality. He was an "energetic child", and he has achieved success in a field that most people would find boring (venture capitalism).
He is often accused of "having no convictions", or "having no personality", which reminds me a lot of many people with Asperger's syndrome. He simply is not an ideologue, and just wants to try to do his best.
But the clincher was when I saw this clip:
Everything about this clip screams "Asperger's" to me. He is actually being quite genuine, but the way he describes his feelings is very odd. His description of "the right height for trees" reminds me hugely of the sort of thing that aspies say. Also, he clearly had a special interest in cars, and is probably not exaggerating when he says that he had a photographic memory for them.
I think that he is a very misunderstood figure. He isn't a heartless monster, he's an aspie who maybe has a very naive idea of how the world works.
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Joined: 7 Feb 2012
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Joined: 21 Jan 2012
Yes, he is trying to pander. But any normal person would say something different. Remember, he has had time to prepare this speech.
When he talks about his ability to recognise a car from a certain part, he is really talking about an ability or hobby that he used to have. It's strange, obscure, and something that he is proud of. He even makes the point that he isn't so good at doing it with Japanese cars. At this point, he is way beyond pandering. He is telling a true story about his life that people cannot relate to. How many people make a habit of guessing cars from car parts?
Joined: 21 Jan 2011
He just seems like another patrician son of wealth. Gore, Kerry, Romney. All seem to have a similar manner.
As mentioned above, he's campaigning for his life in Michigan right now. It's his home state and he comes from auto money (his dad is also a former governor of the state) yet he is slightly trailing in the polls. So he's going to show lots of pictures of cars and say how much fun they are.
Joined: 9 Jul 2011
Location: CT, USA
I don't quite know about Aspergers, unless he's hiding it really really well.
Joined: 17 Nov 2011
A few aspie traits does not make an aspie.
I agree that Mitt may have some aspie traits. Most venture capitalists have some of those traits because you have to be very analytical and super smart. But there's more to him than that.
Most of the things you noted appear to me to be very NT and normal.
- his audience understands what Mitt means by the right height for trees. Mitt lives in Mass. now. The landscape is different. Mitt is relating very normally to his MI audience that it simply feels like home when he visits back in MI.
- Mitt's car obsession is the same as nearly every boy who grows up in lower Michigan. With several auto companies headquartered there, nearly every kids' parents worked for one of the auto makers AND carried a special pride for their family's brand loyalty and American cars in general.
- oh, and Mitt's dad was CEO of a car company (American Motors) before he became governor of Michigan
- Mitt likely has a wicked memory; however, knowing various parts of cars is easy when you are around cars every day and all the kids talk about the new features in each car coming out.
- the accusation of "having no convictions" doesn't come from normal business people or politicians. it comes from tea party types who see the world very black and white. Mitt does not see the world black and white. He's a good manager who listens to the input of others before making a decision. Mitt is also realistic to not promise something that it's within his control, e.g., lower gas prices. those kind of promises make candidates look like idiots.
- his video came across as very genuine and warm to me. It sounds like he did a decent job of connecting with his audience in that splice. . .and you likely aren't like the people in his audience there.
- Mitt's very successful family life is another key that would exclude him from a diagnosis. and his enduring relationships with old classmates is another sign of reasonable social skills.
- if Mitt comes across as boring and naive, I think it comes from 1) being very, very careful that the wrong statement in the press can really, really hurt like what happened to his father's political career, 2) living a Mormon life can be exclusionary since there are so many family and religious obligations that aren't with non-Mormons, and 3) he didn't have the typical high school and college experience of most boys because of his religion (e.g., no drinking or carousing).
I'm glad you felt open enough to ask. Hope that some of the ideas above suggest information that you were not aware of.
Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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In my opinion, Mitt Romney's inability to connect with voters has more to do with a wealthy, privileged background that few Americans can relate to, and he seems to have trouble relating to their lifestyles in turn. Also, observant Mormons tend to shelter themselves from the world—except when they do their year or two of missionary work; this is part of what made the Broadway play The Book of Mormon successful.
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