If Mitt Romney, private equity executive, were looking to buy a company behaving like Candidate Romney, he'd be the first to tell them, "No deal -- lack of financial disclosure."
Just imagine if company officials told him, "We don't want to provide financials older than last year, Mr. Romney, because you'll use them against us." They'd quickly be ushered out of the boardroom. Yet Candidate Romney sent his wife to tell voters exactly that. In an August interview with NBC when Ann Romney was asked about family taxes prior to 2011, she said they wouldn't be forthcoming, because more information about their taxes would likely provide "more ammunition."
Mr. Romney knows full well how important it is to assess before you invest -- that transparency is the key to good decision-making, and good leadership. In the hyper-vigilant world of Private Equity, armies of analysts do "due diligence" on years of financials about any acquisition target well before writing a check. An absence of disclosure equals no deal.
Coaching individual executives and leaders over many years, I've seen that such opaqueness is a failed strategy for leaders. Mr. Romney knows this from his own professional experience, and is therefore acting with hypocrisy by skirting the very questions that would allow for a modest amount of due diligence by voters on himself.
How can we assess a candidate who refuses to share past financials, destroyed the records of his governorship on his way out of office in Massachusetts, changes his positions on key issues day to day, and ducks questions about how, for example, he will make good on his promise to create a staggering 250,000 jobs per month if elected?
Obviously it's impossible, and that seems to be the deliberate strategy of the Romney campaign: criticize the other guy, speak in generalities, and give nothing of substance that could be used against us.
What remains are platitudes like, "I believe it's important to have a president and I will be a president, if elected, that honors that pledge and all the pledges that I made."
It's been said, "You're as sick as your secrets." Whether you believe that, or that Mr. Romney is just allergic to details, he's leaving too many open questions that a leader should be able to answer. What's he hiding? What would he actually do in office? What would we get if we elected him? It's the same answer to all of the above: uncertainty, and that's dogging him in the polls, because we all know in our bones it's something Private Equity Romney would never buy.