I enjoyed an article in yesterday’s Fort Worth Star Telegram (ht: BBC’s newsfeed) about Mitt Romney. Although the article is generally positive, it also makes a number of ironic observations that provoke a few snickers but without any Mormon-bashing or questioning of his faith, so it was a fun read.
The writer Tim Jones genuinely seems to admire Romney’s executive acumen and history of business success. But he also highlights Romney’s apparent change on some issues to try to appeal to Evangelical creedalists on the far right of the Republican Party. He describes Romney as “chronically striving” and compares him to Bob Barker: “smooth, affable, occasionally funny and never offending, never angry”.
A few points about Mitt Romney and the campaign stood out for me from this article. First, Romney shut down Bain Capital for a week in 1996 so that he and dozens of other Bain employees could fly to New York City to search for the missing daughter of a Bain partner. They set up a command center in a hotel room and canvassed the city. Later she turned up in New Jersey. Episodes like this raise the question of how people can quip whether he is “actually human” or a robot just because he is handsome, has combed hair, a healthy family life, an upstanding family, and stands up straight on TV. Apparently, he is human enough to put personal concerns and needs ahead of profit in a time where Bain was virtually printing money providing that its employees were on task. The costs of closing down business for such a period are enormous.
Second, Mitt Romney could suffer because “ordinary” Americans apparently can’t see themselves being friends with a CEO. The article points out that we are in a time when Americans like to think of their president as someone they could sit around drinking a beer with on the porch or at a tailgater and the most such voters could envision with Mitt Romney is “belting down a decaffeinated vanilla Coke”. Apparently, Romney’s Pastor-in-Chief “problem” is accompanied by his “Drinking-Buddy-in-Chief” problem. Ironically, however, George W. Bush is as much a teetotaller as any Mormon — don’t the Evangelical creedalists on the far right who imagine themselves sharing a Bud with President Bush realize this?
Finally, Romney’s favorite movie is “O Brother, Where art Thou?” and his favorite TV shows are “Seinfeld”, “L”, “The Office”, and “My Name is Earl”. A lot of analysis could proceed from these disclosures alone, I would think.