Mitt Romney at the Science Fair

I really, really wanted to like Mitt Romney. I did like his dad whom I believed to be a man of conviction. George Romney was one of the last Republicans to support the Civil Rights movement when the party’s ideology was switching driven by Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” (Nixon canvassed the Southern vote with a veiled appeal to white voters using phrases like “law-and-order” to counter the push from Democrats to support civil rights). Mitt, like his father, was a great moderate Republican Governor and I fully supported Romneycare.

Yesterday I read something from a Republican that made a lot of sense in explaining Romney’s recent loss. Representative Pete Sessions explained:

“Mitt Romney appeared like a kid who showed up for his science project and the teacher said, ‘Explain it,’ and Mitt couldn’t do it. His ‘dad,’ Paul Ryan, explained it to him, but Mitt didn’t get it. … That’s why we lost the last election.”

Now with all due respect to Representative Sessions for coming up with his science analogy, Paul Ryan is not Mitt’s dad. George Romney is. Mitt was trying to follow his dad’s footsteps running for President driven through public service and some vindication for his father. Mitt outpaced his father by winning his party’s nomination which his dad had failed to do. George’s presidential failure came after his statement about “brainwashing” by generals in Vietnam, who tried hard to convince him that the war was winnable. It wasn’t a winning position for the senior Romney and he lost to Nixon.

Mitt did seem like a kid at a Science Fair, however, whose dad (George, not Ryan) had groomed him for public service, but somehow Mitt never understood his father’s core direction. This might sound harsh, but how does one explain his conversion from a moderate Republican into the neo-con, tea-party disciple that didn’t fit the George Romney mantra? His flawed strategy peaked in the first debate but was flooded with inconsistencies as the election moved forward.

History – and maybe me – can be a harsh judge. Eventually the Republicans will figure out who they are and understand the pivotal middle ground. In the meantime, it is refreshing to have them talking about science.


  1. Grant, how very interesting. I could easily get distracted discussing your comment in your bio about why you registered as a Democrat (to make your vote count). Most people I know register and vote because of their core political beliefs….but I digress.

    I am always intrigued when someone says “I really wanted to like so and so” before they level a criticism of said so and so. It almost seems as if the stated desire is an attempt to make more credible or justified their criticism. I have also found, more often than not, that if someone really want to “like” someone it generally can be done. Our liking does not require that we agree with them but we can like them none the less. At least that has been my experience.

    I would ask a rhetorical question of you…How often do you quote Pete Sessions? I would guess probably rarely, if ever. It seemed to conveniently further your position so of course why not quote a conservative Republican. I do agree with you on one point and that is that history can be a harsh judge. We see that through out time as the emotion of the day is stripped away from the term of service. I can’t help but wonder if that same harsh judgment may not be recorded more profoundly than it will be with our current president. How tragic it will be for many that for someone with so much so called talent to become only a mere footnote in history and that as the first black president of the United States. Certainly his “accomplishments” are of little long term significance at this point in his presidency. I know that a response that is all too often cited is that “he got Bin Laden” to which I say yes he did and good for him. Yet truly any president would have done the same in the place he was (except maybe Carter) but credit will rightly always be his for doing it. Sadly his foreign policy blunders since that time, I am afraid, will far over shadow most any good he accomplished in that one act.

    1. If it makes you feel any better, Jary, I am a registered Democrat on conviction now in Utah where my vote counts for very little, but the party is growing here! And I think while getting Bin Laden was a good thing, the President’s greatest triumph will be remembered as ending the Iraq war, which we never should have started in the first place (and Barack Obama and I have shared that view since long before it began) -And there is also work in progress to end the war in Afghanistan. Improved relations around the world and an end to torture are also good accomplishments.

      1. Personally, I think that the lasting legacy of Obama’s presidency (aside from being the first person of color to occupy the Oval) is going to be that of the ACA. Certainly we’ve hit a fork in the road, and I think that Obamacare has to potential to be viewed as either a step towards universal coverage or the futher entrenchment of the private insurance industry.

        I think that his failure to deliver on promises like closing Guantanamo and the lukewarm responses to Syria and Crimea will overshadow any progress in the international realm.

  2. Jary says any president would have made the call Obama made, except maybe Carter.

    Perfect example of your bias & willful ignorance. 1st, you can’t assume any president would have made that call. Presidents want to be reelected. Make that call and it fails? Goodbye reelection! And how do we know that? Because 2, Carter DID make that call (failed rescue attempt of the hostages) which is ultimately what cost him the election. Along with the dirty dealings of St. Ronnie & the Iranians of course.

    I often wonder what life would be like for the middle class had Reagan never been elected & had “trickle down economics” never made their way into our system

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