...and for some reason, Mitt Romney whined like an NBC Nightly News fire alarm after a not-to-outrageous interview by Fox's Bret Baer. Democrats gleefully added another element to their bag of negative ticks (and tricks)? Romney's got a temper and he whines. The whiny rich corporate boss with a temper.
Whatever the merits of that caricature, it's only fair to compare Romney's whining to the whining exhibited by...well, the same group of people who have exhibited their tempers more publicly than Romney has, too.
When you get the level of national politician, your ability to countenance any public criticism, or to engage in a public debate with the grace of George Clooney is outpaced by your passionate intensity. That affliction can turn off voters, who are OK with human qualities in their candidates but blanch when candidates become mawkish (John Edwards, ante bellum), hostile (Rick Lazio), or seem not to take the process seriously. (Rick Perry's lost "Energy.").
For a man accused of having no emotions, it does seem that Romney hasn't figured out how to filter them very much. I stick by what I wrote yesterday -- that Romney's temper isn't particularly bad, compared to his rivals. But IF the only time he seems to display emotion is when he gets angry, then his temper becomes something he needs to control more, even if he's not a particularly angry guy to begin with. Also, there's the wimp factor. You never want Republicans to tell you to Man Up.
President Obama doesn't enjoy being challenged, and can look irritated when presented with a question he doesn't like, and he can crisply interrogate the interrogator. But he filters, for the most part, and doesn't take the engagement personally. Newt Gingrich...is Newt Gingrich. Rick Perry, in point of fact, seems to absorb criticism rather well, at least in the way he responds to it physically.