The last WASP

Gingrich is unburdened by any inner guardrails. He loves combat. As a campaigner, he can be loudmouthed, unscrupulous, and angry. It’s a style that fits the public mood, and it has been validated through the decades in our culture. We’ve been taught to trust a let-it-all-hang-out spirit over an ethos of emotional restraint. Unfortunately for Romney, if there were a yearbook for presidential candidates, he would be deemed “Least Likely to Weep in Public.” It’s an irony of Romney’s candidacy that his genuine reserve is taken as confirmation of his inauthenticity.

If Romney doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, he doesn’t wear his riches there, either. He seems uncomfortable with his own success, a classic WASP trait. When he says he makes no apologies for his wealth, he clearly would rather not be talking about his wealth at all. Donald Trump surely would advise him to mention his net worth, and inflate it, in every interview. But he lacks the brassiness of the natural braggart.