Whining for Sympathy: What Ann Romney’s Expression of Concern for Mitt’s “Mental Well-Being” Really Means

If you haven’t heard, Ann Romney told an interviewer in Nevada yesterday that, should her husband be elected President, she fears for his mental health. Here’s Reuters:

“I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being,” she said. “I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, . . . So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it.”

What does this mean? I think it means that when Ann Romney says she is worried about her husband’s “mental well-being,” should he attain the presidency, it’s because he sends her “woe is me” signals on a regular basis. It definitely implies (at minimum) that she is hearing a lot of private whining from him, as if he is Christ going to the cross instead of to Washington. He wants his wife to know–as well as the rest of us–that the country is fortunate that he, a rich patrician, is taking on so many burdens. It’s hard on him. Really hard. Running for president is not what he wants to be doing, but he’s being the good father and stepping up to the plate because he alone has what it takes to fix the country.

Growing up, I bet Mitt’s kids, when they were naughty, got a similar guilt trip from their mother periodically. “Stop putting unnecessary burdens on your father, making him unhappy.”

Underlying his run for the presidency is thus the following whine:

It’s just so hard for me, as a competent rich person, to carry you losers, but I’m doing it because, well, I’m a good and responsible person. But know this: your burdensomeness is hard on my mental well-being.

That’s the subtext of Romney’s candidacy. Mitt Romney feels sorry for himself. The answer the electorate returns to this (I hope) is, “No thanks. We’ll muddle along without you. We give you your freedom back, kind patrician.”


By the way, did you catch the “obviously” at the beginning of Ann Romney’s comment? The way she says that one word captures the tone of the whole campaign. Obviously Mitt will be put upon should he reach the highest office in the land. He won’t like it. He could be enjoying himself elsewhere. He’s taking up Kipling’s “white man’s burden.” He’s Atlas, but he’ll try not to shrug (though you deserve it). He’s doing it for you.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to Whining for Sympathy: What Ann Romney’s Expression of Concern for Mitt’s “Mental Well-Being” Really Means

  1. pauladkin says:

    Good work. Each word has its symbolic meaning and needs to be deciphered. Very astute article.

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