No matter how some people might claim that "my job is my life," we are never fully defined by our jobs. Still, what we do for work is a very large part of who we are as individuals. We learn the languages required to work, and we adopt the shorthand that we use on the job in our daily lives. We use work-related analogies. We dwell on office politics, and build work-based social networks, and schedule our vacations around our upcoming projects. Work provides a measure of dignity, but it also provides a measure of identity.
That being said, consider the two men running for President this year.
One is the Commander in Chief of the greatest military in world history. He is responsible for conducting our foreign policy. In the past four years, as part of his job:
-He has named two Supreme Court justices to lifetime posts.
-He has ended a war.
-He integrated a class of citizens into the armed forces.
-He guided us through the most dangerous economic crisis in eighty years.
-He passed a more comprehensive reform of health care than any of the past seven administrations.
-He ordered a renewed hunt--and the final justice--for Osama bin Laden.
-He saved our auto industry.
-He saved our banking sector.
Oh, and he cut our taxes, too.
The other candidate is just that: a candidate. For the last seven years, his job has been to run for President. He hasn't been directing an operation other than his own campaign. He hasn't been juggling tasks. He hasn't been facing down real foes (unless we're counting Newt, Herman, Michele, and the Ricks). He's been a politician, trying to shape himself and his image to win a plurality of voters. It's been a singular pursuit. Raise money, give speeches, hold debates, run ads. Repeat ad infinitum.
And therein lies the problem.
Mitt Romney is a professional candidate for President. That is his job. For seven straight years, that's the language he's spoken, the shorthand he's thought in, the life he's led.
Barack Obama is the President of the United States. That is his job. That's what he does.
This is the biggest problem facing Mitt Romney, and he keeps running smack into it: He is a candidate. He speaks like a candidate, he acts like a candidate, he thinks like a candidate. He's done it for so long that it's what defines him now.
And this week especially, that's been impossible to ignore.
Unfortunately for Mitt, he isn't running to be a candidate. He's running to be the President.