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February 09, 2012

The "Real" Mitt Romney

Today must be my day for linking to bloggers named James:

I don’t claim to have any special insights into Romney’s personal life but my strong sense is that this “retooled” Romney is the real Romney. That is, he’s a strong family guy who’s strongly shaped by religious faith and its command to minister to those less fortunate–and yet comes from a cultural tradition that counsels against bragging about one’s good works.

What's he talking about? This story:

As Mitt Romney's opponents continue their campaign to cast the candidate as a heartless, uncaring elitist, his supporters have begun to return fire--by circulating a true story of Romney at his most heroic.

If you've got Romney-supporting friends and an Internet connection, chances are you've received the following e-mail at some point this election cycle, the basic facts of which have all been confirmed by news reports and online fact-checkers:

Sometimes, this facet of Romney's personality isn't so subtle. In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had disappeared. She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high on ecstasy.

Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay's daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York, and asked them to help find his friend's missing daughter. Romney's accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York and talked with everyone they could, prostitutes, drug addicts, anyone.

That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD traced the call to a home in New Jersey, where they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another day. Romney's former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter's life, saying, "It was the most amazing thing, and I'll never forget this to the day I die."

So, here's my epiphany: Mitt Romney simply can't help himself. He sees a problem, and his mind immediately sets to work solving it, sometimes consciously, and sometimes not-so-consciously. He doesn't do it for self-aggrandizement, or for personal gain. He does it because that's just how he's wired.

Many people are unaware of the fact that when Romney was asked by his old employer, Bill Bain, to come back to Bain & Company as CEO to rescue the firm from bankruptcy, Romney left Bain Capital to work at Bain & Company for an annual salary of one dollar. When Romney went to the rescue of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, he accepted no salary for three years, and wouldn't use an expense account. He also accepted no salary as Governor of Massachusetts.

A while back, I wrote this:

To my way of thinking, it takes considerable courage to adhere to traditional values in a world that finds such standards amusing. Do people really think Mitt Romney is too stupid to know how quaint he sometimes appears to a world that no longer understands people like him? Does anyone seriously believe a man who has amassed millions and governed a highly complex (and very liberal) state doesn't "get" the clash of cultures? That he can't see how much easier his political life would be if he would just loosen up and join the race to the bottom that is American culture; trade his unpopular God and antiquated morals for a more flexible, urban viewpoint?

Question for the ages: if Romney is nothing more than an amoral, calculating politician, why hasn't he bragged on himself more?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can pay attention to words and sound byte witticisms, or you pay attention to deeds. Talk is cheap. Action, not so much.

The modern world no longer understands traditional masculinity. Somewhere along the line we began to equate humility and modesty with weakness. That's a tragedy.

I had never heard this story before today, but it encompasses everything I've seen in Romney since I first became an admirer of his back in 2004. Sadly, this will likely be treated as one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" things. If a candidate prefers to attack Obama rather than his fellow candidates, he's not a fighter. If he responds to this criticism by showing he knows how to fight back, he's "gone negative". If he is reserved, he must be hiding something, or he has no heart. If he opens up, he's faking it because the openness didn't come naturally.

Aye chihuahua. At some point we need to decide whether we are electing a candidate or a president.

Posted by Cassandra at February 9, 2012 01:50 PM

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Comments

Question for the ages: if Romney is nothing more than an amoral, calculating politician, why hasn't he bragged on himself more?

Because he's a calculating politician who's playing the "don't brag" tactic.

[/cynicism]

More cynicism: How do we know Coppins' rumor repetition is actually a true story? Because PolitiFact said so? Hmm....

Note that none of this--Coppins' or my remarks--addresses the qualities of Romney, or their lack.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at February 9, 2012 02:20 PM

Because contemporaneous news stories covered the story. Unless of course you think they all went back in time and inserted stories after the fact.

I Googled the story before posting this. You might try reading the snopes entry - it quotes several Boston globe stories.

Because he's a calculating politician who's playing the "don't brag" tactic.

Yep :)

Posted by: Why is it a "Man" Date? at February 9, 2012 02:35 PM

Because contemporaneous news stories covered the story.

Ooh--it's written down in a noospaper. It must be true. Shortens PolitiFact's "work."

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at February 9, 2012 03:15 PM

At some point we need to decide whether we are electing a candidate or a president.

I'm all for electing a candidate. I am definitely against electing a president. Not this year anyway.

Posted by: spd rdr - now not appearing on Obama's Playlist (click!) at February 9, 2012 03:16 PM

Speaking of candidates, how in the helk did we let this one get away?

Posted by: spd rdr - now still not appearing on Obama's Playlist (click!) at February 9, 2012 03:21 PM

Ooh--it's written down in a noospaper. It must be true. Shortens PolitiFact's "work."

Was that an argument?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 9, 2012 03:29 PM

I will say this: Romney sure demonstrated amazing foresight back in 1996, doing all that just so's he could get other people to bring it up during this year's campaign.

Not sure how he got the father to lie for him or why no one from Bain has come forward to call him on his big hoax.

Bribes, probably. Yeah, that's the ticket :p

Posted by: Jon Lovitz' Bratty Little Sister at February 9, 2012 03:33 PM

I'm all for electing a candidate. I am definitely against electing a president.

Yanno, if Romney would just sing "I Like Big Buttz" or "Super Freak", I would totally vote for him.

Posted by: Jon Lovitz' Bratty Little Sister at February 9, 2012 03:35 PM

Speaking of candidates, how in the helk did we let this one get away?

I'm guessing it was this. Consorting with the Enemy, doncha know:

... many conservatives questioned his service in the Obama administration.

Plus there was his inexplicable reluctance to do the Funky Chicken during the debates.

Posted by: Jon Lovitz' Bratty Little Sister at February 9, 2012 03:38 PM

Now that's a story I can recognize. I wish I had heard it before.

Posted by: Grim at February 9, 2012 04:30 PM

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