Why do you respect him again? I can't find a reason listed here, except he's "earnest." When I knew his sister-in-law, she thought he was a jerk (she was an evangelical Christian and considered him to have no character).
It's true that everything people mean when they say "he's a classic politician" is applicable to him (rather piggish, can be hypocritical, ignores ethics when it suits him, etc), but he also possesses the qualities that make for good politicians-- namely, he thinks about politics a lot & when he develops a conviction about what needs to be done he gets started doing it. He'll actually listen to critics & takes the time to debate them without appealing to sound bites that pull at people's emotional prejudices (though he'd probably do that in a presidential campaign, since that's what everyone in the sensationalistic media circus expects). I would never, ever vote for him & would work to dissuade anyone else from doing so, but on a desert-island small-group survivalist situation I would trust him over most other people to actually get things done.
"Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it."
I don't particularly respect the people who just 'follow their hearts' or live out their convictions without keeping themselves attuned to what the world actually needs. I like the ones who have been able to adjust their viewpoints as they've learned more, so long as they don't whitewash their past views or try to rationalize what they used to think. I will mildly (mildly) submit that I like Romney's ability to modify his views and not stick to them for the sake of sticking to them.
Basically, give me someone with character rather than someone with dogged conviction, because out of that character comes true leadership and everything else falls into place.
On the other hand, I do respect the 'dogged conviction' of underdogs (heh) like Ron Paul because we need voices that oppose the consensus and raise awareness of other forms of thinking, just so it's all out there. It takes some balls to keep letting people know that your views are there and ought to be heard, and that is admirable.
I think there are two main ways to interpret the word "respect".
One is "consideration"; I like to think I give everyone consideration just on the basis of being a human being.
Another is "admiration"; I tend to admire traits of people, not the people themselves. Because there will be good traits and bad traits in pretty much everyone.
I respect the political savvy of political figures--including George Bush, and Barrack Obama. There are traits I do not like about both of them. But I still respect them for their political savvy. They had the social/political know-how to get to become president without being corrupt (at least as far as I know). By corruption, in this case, I mean things like taking/giving bribes, or intentionally illegally killing/injuring/physically intimidating people to get what they want.
One can argue about their ethics and morality of policy decisions as well. But I do not know what I would do if I were in their positions.
I think there is a lot of corruption in politics and a lot of corrupt politicians. I think the system itself is difficult to purge of this corruption. But I think more people actually want to be public servants than simply wanting people to do their bidding or whatnot.
Political/social intelligence is not one of my strong suits; I admire it in others (as long as that "intelligence" is not founded on being violent).
Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future. Robot Fusion
"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
"[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
"[P]etabytes of  data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield
Obama, Bill Clinton, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul. I may not agree with these gentleman all the time (and in the case of Santorum, almost never) but seeing them speak, seeing them do what they do, I got to give these guys props.
"There is no such thing as spare time, no such thing as down time, no such thing as free time, there is only life time. Go."
― Henry Rollins
Fidel Castro. well, respect isn't exactly the right word, but his personality is charismatic and bad ass
ENFP: We put the Fi in Fire
Motivation: Dark Worker
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
MTG Color: black/red
Male Archtype: King/Lover
"You are a gay version of Gambit" Speed Gavroche
"I wish that I could be affected by any hate, but I can't, cuz I just get affected by the bank" Chamillionaire