Karl, Herbert Hoover was the "Mitt Romney" of his day --- a wonderfully decent man and one of the greatest business success stories of his era. He failed, as you imply, because he tried to create a hybrid entity of business and government, and most hybrid entities aren't viable. He TALKED "rugged individualism." He GOVERNED as a mild activist, going just far enough to allocate a lot of money to fighting the Depression, but not going far enough to achieve decisive results.
This is the problem with businesspeople like Herbert Hoover, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney who are elected to high office. They look like world-beaters so long as the economy is firing on all cylinders. When the economy crashes they are "ducks out of water" because they imagine that the same old policies of making government work exclusively in the interests of the 1% will pull the economy out of the ditch.
I'm not sure that Obama knows how to make the economy work for the 99% either, but he is stumbling along in the right direction. I'm afraid Mitt would roof-rack the 99% and then drive them off a cliff.