Posts Tagged ‘Romney’s father’

“SALEM, N.H. – In yet another sign that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is on a roll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) targeted him at an event here Monday afternoon just hours before the first votes in the Granite State’s primary were to be cast,” writes Sam Youngman in a thehill.com article titled New target? Romney says he can beat Obama

Romney and the rest of the Republican field have spent most of their energy throughout the campaign harshly criticizing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) – and she was still a target Monday.

But Romney embraced Obama’s theme of change, channeled Clinton’s assertion that a record of change is important and finished by saying that he could beat Obama in the general election.

The former governor spoke of Obama’s victory in Iowa, saying “he surprised a lot of people.”

“He beat them all because he talked about change in Washington,” Romney said to about 100 voters at the Elk Lodge here […]

Note how Romney consistently identifies with what he perceives are his rivals or oppressors. Romney’s method of dispute is not to oppose you, but rather to become you. He becomes a faster, better, abler you than you are.

Currently: Are you Sen. Barack Obama? Well, Romney is a better Barack Obama than you are

Correction: Romney doesn’t necessarily identify with his rivals or oppressors.

Some he ignores or ridicules (to his peril), e.g. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who bested the hapless candidate in aggressively contested Iowa. What Romney identifies with is what he perceives as power. In other words, Romney attemtps to appropriate power by becoming it, in whatever form it confronts him, e.g. Barack Obama. Sen. Obama bested his rivals decisively, so now Romney has become Barack Obama, themes, rhetoric, all of it, only Romney is a better Barack Obama.

Here is a laboratory pure sample of the new Barack-Romney entity, as reported by MoJo’s estimable Jonathan Stein:

[…] Barack Obama won Iowa on a message of change, said Romney [at the Timberland corporate headquarters in NH], and he beat three senators with years of experience. If the Republican nominate McCain, Romney repeatedly predicted, Obama will do to him what he did to Biden, Dodd, and Clinton. (Romney has co-opted Obama and Edwards’ rhetoric thoroughly. Today, he promised to “get the lobbyists out of the way.”) […]

Please also recall—just as an aside—that it was the 60s version of the GOP right wing that crushed the moderate Gov. George Romney (may his name be for a blessing) in 1968. Romney owes us one. To defeat us, us being the right wing, he has become us, only what he believes is a better version of us. This is only an hypothesis. Nothing more. Here is our earlier speculation on this sad theme.

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dr. g.d.

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“BOSTON (AP) — From his slicked, carefully coifed hair to his data-driven business principles to his unwavering devotion to his oft-maligned Mormon faith, Mitt Romney is the spitting image of his father physically, professionally and morally,” writes Steve LeBlanc in an AP story titled Romney’s Life Is His Father’s Legacy

The depth of their bond can be seen in one early story … etc., etc.

Evidence exists to suggest that Romney’s relationship with his father is a tiny bit more complicated than LeBlanc would indicate. See:

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dr. g.d.

“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

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney touted his early-state bona fides at Wednesday’s Republican debate, saying that “in New Hampshire and Iowa alone over this last year I have done 462 events,” writes the Dorgan and Liebowitz of the Monitor staff in a story titled Team Romney leaves no tenth of a mile behind.

462? Really?

We checked with his staff for the breakdown. At the debate, Romney specified that he was including “town meetings, one-on-one meetings.”

The number also includes press conferences with local media, said New Hampshire press secretary Craig Stevens. “He just recognizes that’s a way to reach more people in an area,” he said.

Since January, Romney has made 18 trips and 88 stops in New Hampshire, held 83 voter events and 166 total events – including those press availabilities – according to the campaign.

Romney has traveled 2,419.8 miles in the state, according to numbers provided by Stevens. (Is someone clicking the odometer every time they cross the state line from Massachusetts?) … more

Geraghty also recounts how Romney audited the receipts of an enterprise to determine if they were spending too much on office supplies—this is our visionary leader?—what interests us is how frighteningly little Romney has gotten in return for all his hard work and meticulous record keeping. See:

Romney’s spectacularly low marginal rate of return on his campaign dollars now a campaign issue!

Earlier we commented on Geraghty’s comments on Romney’s troubled relationship with his father (may his memory be for a blessing)—you can find our exposition here. But Romney’s side-switching may go further back than his father (may his memory be for a blessing), as reported by Lee Davidson of the Deseret Morning News in a story titled Romney ancestor fled Army, joined LDS Church.

It may not be what a presidential candidate would want historians discussing, as they did Friday. But exactly 150 years ago, an ancestor of Mitt Romney deserted from U.S. Army troops sent to put down a purported Mormon rebellion in Utah.

Carl Heinrich (Charles Henry) Wilcken, Romney’s great-great-grandfather, would give Mormons information about approaching troops, eventually joined the LDS Church and ultimately became a bodyguard and confidant of two church presidents more

Romney’s family’s problems serving in the military also seem to go way back.

watch a hapless Romney get spanked by Deputy Sheriff Mark Riss over Romney’s claim that his sons were serving thier country by serving Romney—as opposed to say, wearing a uniform and carrying a rifle

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dr. g.d.

P.S. Credit: blogs for mitt, one of the richest sources of unflattering reporting about Willard Milton Romney. We need to add them to our blogroll.

Is Mitt Romney’s caution about describing the success of the surge stem from watching his father get crucified over his inital support, and subsequent backtracking, on Vietnam?—writes the sad and tired Romney sychophant Jim Geraghty in an NRO campaign spot post titled Does Romney’s verbal caution about the surge have deep roots?—note the subjunctive mood—Geraghty poses his claims as questions and hypotheticals as he purports to probe the soul of the hapless candidate’s second most primary relationship, that of Romney to his troubled father, George Romney.

Romney’s “if the surge is working” and “the surge is apparently working” brought him a great deal of grief from Senator McCain during the debate.

Why might a man like Mitt Romney – who once reviewed receipts to determine if businesses spent more or less on office supplies than they claimed before investing in that sector — prefer to see the Iraq data for himself? Why might he be a bit cautious about confident assertions of success in war? Why might he want a bit more than a general’s assurance that efforts are proceeding apace?more.

Again: more questions and hypotheticals—when discussing Romney’s caution Geraghty himself grows cautious. Here is where we agree with Geraghty: Romney’s seemingly baffling qualifications and equivocations are—we would argue—an artifact of his professional temper and apolitical habits of mind. The man is an equity sector manager of funds. What you do when you manage funds is you hedge against uncertainty or against any sense of being overexposed on any one position or in any one direction.

So: Romney hedges, equivocates, and qualifies, but what Romney doesn’t seem to understand—what simply baffles the strangely singular little man, and what no handler nor hireling has been able to convince the hapless candidate—is that staking out a position with respect to an investment opportunity, and taking a position on an issue of public concern, are not the same—audiences in political fora and deliberative assemblies experience hedging and equivocating as lying and evasion, because issues and positions in political fora are people, people who expect you to actually believe in, and hold to, the positions that you affect to support.

Hence: Romney’s wretched reputation among many who you would otherwise expect to support him—e.g. us, because we would no more trust Romney than we would eat a cheese burger on Shabbat in our kippah, tzitzit, and wrapped in our tallit.

But Geraghty is not satisfied with this explanation for Romney’s bizarre public displays.

He offers us another one.

Perhaps—says Geraghty—we can find the answer in Time magazine, Sep. 15, 1967:

Last week, during a Labor Day interview on Detroit’s WKBD-TV, Commentator Lou Gordon wanted to know how [Michigan’s Governor George] Romney squared his current conviction that the U.S. should never have got involved in Asia with the comment he made after a tour of the war zone in November 1965 that “involvement was morally right and necessary.”

Replied Romney: “When I came back from Viet Nam, I had just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get when you go over to Viet Nam.”

Gordon: By the generals?

Romney: Not only by the generals but also by the diplomatic corps over there, and they do a very thorough job, and, since returning from Viet Nam, I’ve gone into the history of Viet Nam, all the way back into World War II and before that. And, as a result, I have changed my mind…

Two days after making his comment, Romney appeared in Washington, where newsmen gave him a chance to get off the hook by asking whether he might have been misunderstood. “I was not misunderstood,” he snapped. “If you want to get into a discussion of who’s been brainwashing who, I suggest you take a look at what the Administration has been telling the American people.”

With that, he whipped out a newspaper clipping in which Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara was quoted as saying, just before the 1966 election, that draft calls might be cut the following year. “The information was not accurate,” said Romney. The Pentagon quickly replied that “it is the Governor who is giving inaccurate information,” noting that draft calls for the first ten months of 1967 are down 136,840 from the 1966 total. Said McNamara: “I don’t think Governor Romney can recognize the truth when he sees or hears it.”

Perhaps the unkindest cut of all, because of its unintentional but magnificent ambiguity, came from Leonard Hall, chairman of the Romney for President committee. “I think it finally comes down to an issue of credibility between Governor Romney and Secretary McNamara,” he said. “And given that choice, I have no doubt whom the American people will support.”

Back to Geraghty: We are all products of our upbringing. One can’t help but wonder whether a young Mitt Romney, watching his father become widely mocked over a poor word choice — but seeing many Americans come around to the perspective that, on balance, the United States probably should not have gotten ground troops involved in Vietnam — learned to verify what he is told by a Defense Secretary and generals … more

Various responsa: Poor word choice!?—please, Geraghty, read the article that you yourself quote more carefully and allow the elder Romney (may his name be for a blessing) the dignity of his own testimony!—he, himself, when confronted by sympathetic reporters who offered him the opportunity to retract or redact, refused the gesture and insisted, again, on precisely that term: brainwashing.

Also, Geraghty, you seem to miss what is most painfully obvious—and our method here is to look for the obvious—about this father and son drama getting played out at the expense of the GOP. Romney in his hedging and equivocating is not reacting against what happened to his father—per contra!—Romney has appropriated the hedging, equivocating, and vacillating of his father. This is a theme we developed weeks ago when we noted how Romney himself lashed out at his father even as he appropriated his father’s behaviors:

Romney lashes out at his father for indecision even as Romney himself vacillates wildly

Here is where Geraghty—in our humble estimation—is correct: Romney’s campaign is not about Romney reaching out to the American people; Romney’s campaign is about Romney reaching out to Romney, and a part of that story is Romney reaching out to Romney through the person of his father (may his name be for a blessing). This is the story of a fabulously wealthy narcissist in search of himself. We—the rest of us—the GOP, the rival campaigns, the party primary system, the broken conservative movement, the American people—are less than stage props in a twisted narrative that will soon, if history is any guide, transition from low comedy to high tragedy.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Blast from our past:

“My dad really never seems to have made up his mind that he was getting in,” Romney told the Monitor’s Lauren R. Dorgan as reported in abcnews.go.com’s web log entry titled Mid-Summer Dreams A critical stretch for Romney and the GOP, while Democrats tack left

Romney continues:

“My dad really never seems to have made up his mind that he was getting in,” Romney told the Monitor’s Lauren R. Dorgan. “He wasn’t certain. Well, I’m not that way at all. I’ve made my decision, and I’m in it with both feet.” [emphasis ours]

Only what Romney affects to condemn in his own father he embodies in his own person and character. See:

Conclusion: Rather than running away from his father, Romney has become his father.

And: What makes any of us think that Romney’s 15-minute old “conversion” to a quasi-conservative line will hold what with Romney’s unpredictable vacillations and consistent failure of nerve?—there is evidence from the stump that Romney has already walked away from it, if he ever really had it.

Oh, but by all means, make this troubled man our president!

yours &c.
dr. g.d.