I have a theory explaining Romney’s bizarre emptiness. It has to do with his Mormonism. Mormonism consists, at its core, of many ridiculous assertions that no rational person could possibly believe. Why then does Mormonism “work” so well for its adherents? Because the practical core of the religion is not this folderol about a family of sixth century B.C. Jews sailing from Mesopotamia to North America or Joseph Smith discovering a 2,000 year old platinum scripture written by an angel buried behind his farm in upstate New York, but the patriarchal way of life it counsels. This is deeply appealing to people, and it works for them. That’s why they are Mormons. At the same time, in order to be Mormons, they have to turn off their rational faculty when it comes to questions of truth. They disregard questions of truth, and focus on the pragmatic, ethical aspects of Mormonism.To expand upon Mr Auster's theory -- it's not *merely* that Mormonism requires its adherents to believe empirical assertions "that no rational person could possibly believe", but that it requires them to believe metaphysical assertions (*) "that no rational person could possibly believe".
And this describes Romney perfectly. As a Mormon, he has turned off his faculty of the rational search for truth, but at the same time he follows the healthy and solid Mormon maxims on how to live a good life. As a result, he is a man devoid of principles, even while his personal character and behavior are exemplary.
Mormonism is, in this regard, much like atheism in requiring the holding of irrational metaphysical assertions. And, most 'atheists' get around that problem by generally ignoring their metaphysical commitments ... and living their daily lives, for the most part, in accord with our Judeo-Christian metaphysical commitments. Can you imagine what the world would be like if every 'atheist' tried to live like Lenin, Stalin and Mao?
(*) For instance, that "God" is merely one more entity, amongst the many, in 'the universe'. That is, the Mormon "God" is not different in kind from you and me, or from Zeus. To put it another way, the Mormon "God" is an effect of 'the universe', rather than its cause.