Berry: “to Mitt Romney, politics is just another product”
“Many candidates change. Romney seems to have given himself a makeover. Which has prompted more than a few people to ask: Who is this guy?”—writes Washington Post Staff Writer David Segal in a transmission titled A Changed Man; Mitt Romney’s Ideological Turnabout Has Critics Wondering: Who Is This Guy?
The search for an Overarching Theory of Mitt has been a preoccupation in Massachusetts, where his journey rightward played out in a highly public way. His fans say he simply evolved; his detractors call him a flip-flopper. But talk to those who’ve watched him longest, and some who were personally wooed during his run for governor, and you’ll hear something else. The man is a born salesman, they say, and he has taken the modus operandi of selling to a whole different level in the world of politics.
“To Mitt Romney, politics is just another product,” says Jeffrey Berry, a professor of politics at Tufts University and longtime Romney watcher. “Products can be recast, reshaped and remarketed in endless ways. Now, that might sound cynical, but Mitt isn’t a charlatan. He’s simply had so much success in the business world that his approach in that realm seems like the natural way of doing things.”
Venturing Into Capital
All politicians must sell, of course, but none is steeped in the art of the sale quite like Romney. It’s a talent he inherited from his father, a three-term governor of Michigan who once ran American Motors Corp. and logged thousands of miles to push its compact cars. A Time magazine cover story in 1959 recounted his visits to women’s clubs, where his patter included the line, “Ladies! Why do you drive such big cars?”
After the younger Romney collected those Harvard degrees, he spent more than a dozen years as a venture capitalist, a job that requires you to pitch to companies (so they will let you acquire them) and to banks (so they will issue loans) and to investors (so they will invest) … more
Segal’s exposition is consonant with McLaughlin of Redstate; see: McLaughlin of Redstate on Romney: Americans hate phonies