HKS Authors

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Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus


While the presidential primary elections in the United States are not over, Mitt Romney is now almost certain to be the party’s nominee to face Democratic President Barack Obama in November. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney built a record as a competent and moderate conservative, a political profile that suited him to the state’s electorate. But the Republican Party’s far right wing dominates the primaries, so Romney has worked hard to escape the “moderate” label by staking out very conservative positions. Now, as the party’s presumptive nominee, he must move back toward the political center, where the majority of voters are to be found. So which Mitt Romney is the real Mitt Romney? And how can voters judge the two candidates? Leadership theorists suggest that we should pay less attention to leaders’ policy promises than to their emotional intelligence – their self-mastery and ability to reach out to others. Contrary to the view that emotions interfere with clear thinking, the ability to understand and regulate emotions can result in more effective thinking.


Nye, Jr., Joseph S. "Judge the U.S. Candidates by Their Self-Mastery and Openness." Daily Star, May 15, 2012.