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Dec 20, 2007

Romney: A Shadow Of The Real Deal

Rom-Rom

So, father George Romney is the reason Mitt is running for president?

Well, not in the way Mitt, this NYT bio piece or the photo would have you think.  What do you see here?  Meeting of the minds?  Learning from the elder?  Chip off the old block?

The article does lay out the differences between a former Governor and Presidential-candidate -- a true liberal Republican (when such a thing existed) who was set in his ideology -- and his finger-to-the-wind offspring who has lately swung wide to the right.  The problem is, the piece lays out the data, then flees the conclusion.

Elaborating George in detail, then describing how George and Mitt differ, the article finishes out with the thoughts of a family friend and former aide to the senior Romney, Richard Eyre.  According to Eyre, once expedience is served and Mitt is elected, we can expect the corporate raider to shift "more naturally" toward his father's liberal values.

Character-wise, however, the key to the article occurs about mid-way.  It involves a recollection about father and son from former Massachusetts governor, William Weld.

George Romney talked about volunteerism — a personal passion — for an hour, but his son’s reaction is all Mr. Weld remembers. “He sat there hunched forward a bit with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands just beaming at his father from a distance of two or maybe three feet,” Mr. Weld recalled. “It was undiluted hero worship.”

You see, Mitt never absorbed his father's ideology or his conviction.  (If you notice in the picture, it's the father doing the absorbing.)  Apparently, all Mitt saw was the hero part, which -- as the photo (and history) reflects -- caused him to want to bask in his own light.

Also telling is this additional comment by Mitt:

“Like a baton has passed, like a relay team where the baton passed from generation to generation ... I am a shadow of the real deal.”

It is interesting the metaphor also involves light, and how "shadow," as much as it implies a duplicate, speaks (in Mitt's own words) of someone that isn't really there.

Romney’s Course Was Set Long Ago (NYT)

(image: Romney family, via AP.  Detroit.  1957.  via nytimes.com)

Comments

Interesting. At first I thought this was some kind of movie poster. The man in the chair looks like Mitt, if Mitt had been aged artificially in a Hollywood makeup shop.

Mitt (and Ann's) worship of George is something I have long noticed. Actually, George's stance (if that word can be used anymore post Larry Craig) is one of a man of supreme self confidence and comfort in his skin. Just look at that hand casually resting on the armchair. Mitt is humbler than his father and still in regard to him the same little boy we see in that picture.

I've become of the opinion that these kind of legacy politics are just a bad idea all over.

Can we get some new families into the government please that might have some interest in the future instead of carrying on the legacies of the past? It's really not working out so well for the rest of us.

Now that you mention it, donna, I should add: it's George W. Romney.

Unfortunately, George W. Romney was brainwashed in the mid-sixties, I believe by the war machine tearing into Viet Nam. That wiped out his chance at the Presidency.

Son Mitt, the Shadow, is careful to take positions on several sides of many issues, so as not to be pinned down in a possible brainwashing accusation.

Does Mitt hope to become President to make up for the failings of his father? That hasn't worked at all well with the Bozo in the Bush line.

Time for fresh blood in the leadership.

I'm glad you posted this photo.
Doesn't ol' Geo. Romney look like a cross between Ted Danson and Lurch?
He does look positively Frankensteinian here.

Why is it that the male off-spring of famous men come with so many hiccups? I was no fan of George Romney, by far, but Mitt seems like a pale imitation. All puff and circumstance, signifying nothing. And standing for nothing. In reply to Johanna's comment, I would not have used the word humble to describe him, even in relation to his father. Insecurity would come closer. I just have the feeling that Mitt knows that he does not measure up to his father and covers that insecurity with a front of bravado.

I agree with commenters above that sons trying to fulfill or compete with their fathers has led to some dismal governing. Enough with the Romneys, Clintons and Bushes. We need new blood with no ghosts to appease.

What I see in the photo is a son eagerly telling his father something and that father is giving his complete attention to him without reservation for some other agenda, i.e., campaigning. Even though it is obviously on a photographer's set, showing the flood and backlighting effects.

Feeling awe for one's father or feeling one cannot be the man he was is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it lead to bad governing. I do not sense that kind of awe from W for his father. And really, who knows what Mrs. Clinton feels for Bill? There's something clear and transparent about Romney's love of his father that speaks rather well of him.

Johanna, Romney's support for torture speaks extremely ill of him.

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