A wise observer of human behavior once told me that most men can fit into one of three masculine archetypes presented in the “Godfather” saga: Sonny, Michael or Fredo. While this doesn’t work for everyone and like most generalizations has its limitations, I’ve still found this an interesting way to categorize men. So what if we were to apply this personality formula to the two candidates for president? Let’s start with Mitt Romney. He seems closest to Sonny in personality: ruthless and a hothead. He demands absolute loyalty in business and politics — his current media adviser, a prolific author, is said to have rejected a book deal to write about the Romney campaign because of the “omerta” governing the campaign. And, like Sonny, although less colorfully, Mr. Romney has a penchant for speaking before he thinks.
But the truth is, Mitt Romney’s true political character has yet to be revealed; we’re still getting to know him. Barack Obama we know very well.
Barack Obama’s political character parallels the evolution of the youngest Corleone son, Michael. The 2008 Obama was like the Michael we meet early in the first film, when he is determined not to enter the family business: He’s idealistic, committed to change. But Michael changes when he sees his father gunned down and his family put at risk. He decides to enter the game, and he plays it at a very high level of competitiveness and cunning. This is the Obama of 2012. After trying to stay away and above the fray for years, he is now willing to get his hands dirty to protect what he believes in. After seeing much of his program gunned down or gutted by Republicans, he has decided to fight. As his former press secretary Robert Gibbs points out, "What does Barack Obama hate more than losing? Losing twice."