Byron York reviews the campaign documentary Mitt, and he emphasizes the evidence of Romney’s lack of confidence in himself towards the end of the campaign. Then he says this:
As defeat settled in, Romney discussed what to say in a concession speech — which, for all his natural pessimism, Romney had not considered ahead of time [bold mine-DL].
I’ll be interested to see the documentary, if only to find some proof that Romney is a natural pessimist. That seems completely at odds with every version of Romney we have ever seen. Romney has been accused of many things, but “nagging pessimism and defeatism” are not among them. Contra York, the fact that he hadn’t bothered to come up with a concession speech suggests that he didn’t believe he would lose, and was so convinced that he wouldn’t that it never occurred to him to prepare for it. The odd thing here is that Romney’s supposed lack of confidence in himself still didn’t translate into having a more realistic assessment of how the election would turn out. If Romney seemed so sure that he would win in spite of his doubts, I’d hate to see what an overconfident Romney looks like.
Perhaps the explanation for this contradiction is that the documentary follows Romney mostly with his family, but seems to offer less insight into the inner workings of the campaign. Laura Bennett noted this in her review:
But as a campaign documentary, Mitt has none of the logistical intricacy of The War Room (about Clinton’s 1992 race) or Street Fight (Cory Booker’s 2002 mayoral bid in Newark). In fact, the actual mechanics of campaigning are notably absent.
This may make for a better documentary, but it’s unfortunate in that it doesn’t give us any new understanding of how so many people in the campaign deluded themselves and others into believing that they were going to win.