Enough of the “Nice Guy”

Posted: August 1, 2012 by April Watkins in George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Patriots, Politics, September 11, U.S. Congress
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Mitt Romney seems to be a nice guy.  Normally, one might think that such a statement would be a positive attribute to a candidate.  The truth is that nice guys don’t always win.  Why?  Because they are too concerned with maintaining their composure, taking the high road, and playing by the rules.  When nice guys are struck by mud-slinging, their natural reaction is to stay calm, focused and make light of any controversy.

I saw this happen during the Bush Administration.  When the President was continually bombarded with falsehoods, inaccurate reporting and blatant name-calling by Pelosi and Reid, he simply turned the other cheek too many times.  I wanted to yell at my television and say “Stand Up and Defend Yourself and Your Staff.” However, the Bush White House would remain calm and nicely dispel accusations from the Press Room.  It was because of Bush’s public, non-confrontational behavior as President, that he was dubbed “soft” and “dumb.  When you saw the angry George Bush – such as after the attacks of September 11 – you saw determination, focus and a steel backbone.

In my years of working in Public Relations in Washington, D.C., I had the honor to meet President Bush on several occasions.  One meeting in particular made such an impression on me that I am, more than ever, convinced that assertiveness is the most important trait for a Presidential candidate.  The event was an award ceremony where President Bush was to honor outstanding officers in the FBI.  I was in the greeting room with a few others awaiting the President’s arrival.  As usual, Bush was right on time; he is a stickler for punctuality.  As he walked into the room, his “good ole boy” Texan personality was the first thing I noticed.  He spoke to everyone as he entered from members of his advance team of Secret Service Agents to dignitaries to the domestic staff.  He would ask questions, laugh and simply showed respect to everyone for their particular role in his visit; which was always a huge undertaking with any President.

What happened next was an incredible sneak peek at the man beneath the pleasantries; he scanned the room for his security chief, looked at his watch and changed personalities in the blink of an eye.  Bush became focused and very serious, I saw the Commander-in-Chief at work.  He began to ask for updates, timing of later meetings, gave brief instructions to his aides and ended his visiting time with all of us, saying, “Okay people, it’s back to work.  We’ve got a lot to do today, let’s move.”  With that said, all of the dignitaries, greeters, and non-essential people were quickly escorted out of the room and toward the auditorium for the award presentation.

The serious, more aggressive tone that President Bush assumed was a startling contrast to the image portrayed by the liberal mainstream media and the Democratic leadership.  This was no “dummy.”  This was a thoughtful and complicated man who understood the enormity of his job.  This was a man who refused to alter his natural, easy-going ambiance when appropriate; yet could switch his mind-set to become a commanding leader instantly.   Over the eight years of his Presidency, I wondered why he did not show this unassailable side more often and more publicly.

I see this happening with Mitt Romney.  There is no doubt that Romney is an intelligent, meticulous, business leader.  There is also a track record of his successes as a governor under fire.  However, Romney is not telling his own story.  PR 101 teaches that “no one will tell YOUR story better than YOU.”

  • Mitt Romney needs to speak DIRECTLY to the American people, not to interviewers.

  • He needs to tout his accomplishments and QUIT SIDE-STEPPING THE SPECIFICS.

  • He needs to be PROUD of his achievements and be a standard bearer for all Americans who aim for success.

  • Romney should EMBRACE his wealth as the reward for hard work and a job well done.

  • Romney should stand up as a STATESMAN and publicly refuse to take a salary and any future retirement annuity funds if elected.  After all, he doesn’t need the money.  This one act would send a reverberating message throughout Congress and across the nation that ROMNEY wants to be President in order to rebuild America.

Plus… this would emphasize the Founding Fathers’ belief that public service is a duty and not a long term job – it would link him to George Washington like no one else has ever done.



Nice guys are great as friends, neighbors and acquaintances, but not as politicians.  In their minds, nice guys strive to stay above the fray as an icon of confidence.  What many people do not understand is that the majority of Americans are fighters at heart. Just look at our hobbies; football, basketball, racing, hunting, etc.  All of which are competitive, physical surrogates for our inner-warriors.  Our country was borne from strife and sacrifice and this is innate in our ethos.  Regardless of when we arrived on American soil or from where we came, Americans will fight to maintain our freedoms.

What our citizens are looking for is not a nanny, we are seeking our own modern day William Wallace,  a true Patriot that we can follow into any battle – be it economic, political or military.  Leaders must be strong, tough, steady and passionate; these are the key qualities that inspire people to follow a Commander-in-Chief and a President.

And that is…Why It Matters.


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