Friday, January 30, 2015

Farewell Mitt

In July of 1912, a five year old boy was brought to the United States by his parents. It was that year that a one hundred year journey would begin, starting with George Romney, being one of the first "displaced persons of the 20th century" to his son coming within a few steps of the White House.

Today, it was announced after much hype, hopes, and fears from some, that Mitt Romney, the son of that once little boy George, two time losing candidate for presidency, would, after all, not be running for a third time. The old  man is done, and some other, younger ones are ready to take his place.

The long saga had many ups and many downs. Many stories of Romney doing amazing things for friends, such as shutting down his billion dollar business to search for the missing daughter of a colleague, to helping out families in need in his church.

Of course there were the bad stories as well. There was the hidden camera fiasco which caught Mitt talking about "47% of Americans" who think they are owed something by everyone else. And there was that old story about how he once put his dog on top of his car, inside its kennel, because there was no where else for it to go.

Mitt Romney ran in four elections, and lost three of them. in the nineties he ran against Ted Kennedy, the last of the brothers four, because Mitt thought that everyone was tired of Kennedys. He miscalculated. Just watching the footage from the debates shows him getting torn apart.

Mitt and sons
His next election was, of course, the one he would win. The race for the Governor of Massachusetts's, but after that job was done, he felt the next step was the presidency of the United States, and after talking about it with the family, he decided to try. But it was John McCain's time, and John McCain won.

But, in 2012, the one hundred year mark had been reached since George had come here, and the Romneys were a well known American family. And now it was Mitt's time.

In 1968, George Romney, the father, himself a former governor, had run for presidency, thinking that the nation would want him. At first, they liked him, but after making an unscripted and poorly thought out remark about Vietnam, his campaign fell apart.

Mitt did not lose because of any particular statement that destroyed him, but it was the public persona that he gave out that harmed him. In the words of one pundit he was like a "cyborg." Or in the words of his son in 2006, "too good to be true."

He was uncomfortable with the media, he wasn't the best with strangers. Even when he had been in business, his colleagues were never really his friends. And now the man who had always been kind but never been overly concerned about his popularity was engaged in the ultimate popularity contest, and he lost.

The more people knew about Romney, the more they liked him, as evidenced when the documentary Mitt came out, we finally felt we were dealing with a human. But too late, the election was over. Romney had lost. We had known him so little most people did not even know his first name-Willard.

The one hundred year story was in many ways a bit of a fairy tale. Oh, it didn't end with the White House, but it ended with a poor's man's son coming a step away. And in the end it was a good story, even if both father and son lost. Some said Mitt was not a lot like his father, but in the end, maybe he was too much.

Andrew C. Abbott

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