For Mitt So Loved His Begotten Country…

The post-mortem of a failed presidential campaign is always good fun. Immediately after the election, and sometimes before then if it’s clear where things are headed, those in the campaign start shuffling for position outside of the blame spotlight, pushing each other under a series of buses. But the Boston Globe’s analysis of the campaign contains this jaw-dropping statement:

More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

Now I’m sure Tagg loves his father and thinks well of him. I’m sure he wants to help make Mitt seem entirely selfless and motivated only by the desire to serve others, but this is so absurd as to be delusional. This “I didn’t want to run but I was the only one who could do it” pose is intended to sound selfless and principled, but it is anything but. It’s a ridiculous figure to attempt to strike under the best of circumstances, but can only provoke snickers and laughter when said of a person who appears to hold only one single belief his entire being — that he should have been president.

The spectacle of Romney’s campaign was not one of a great man being reluctantly thrust into the spotlight to do what only he could, it is of a man who would do or say anything if it helped him gain the presidency. There was not a single idea in his entire political life that one could say he actually believes in other than his own superiority as a leader. This was not a man being forced into running for president by circumstance; this is a man who wanted desperately to be president and was willing to do or say anything to make that happen.

There’s spin. There’s making oneself look good. And then there’s just plain living in a fantasy world.

27 comments on this post.
  1. Michael Heath:

    The Boston Globe article Ed links to here is outstanding and well worth reading in full.

  2. John Hinkle:

    …but he doesn’t love the attention.

    Well sure, if I put my foot in my mouth as much as he did, I wouldn’t want the attention either.

  3. tommykey:

    Clearly, Mitt Romney doesn’t love America as much as Newt Gingrich, otherwise he would have had an affair.

  4. omnicrom:

    His family talking about what a warm and pleasant person he is brings two things to mind. Number 1: Well of course you’d think that, you’re his family, you love him. Number 2: Mitt Romney is a chameleon who rapidly shapeshifts from position to position, it’s easy to imagine the weird robot man being lovable in private and stiff in public.

  5. nonnymus:

    Anyone in MA who suffered under Willard’s* governance for four long years knows that Tagg’s doing drugs again!

    It’s apparent the only reason he bought the MA gubernatorial election in 2002 was to have a platform from which to run for president in 2008 — which he started doing less than a year after he was elected as Governor. In his last year in office, he was out of state making speeches more than he was in state.

    I’m not sure if he was the only governor to take more vacation days while in office than George W. Bush did, but his constituents sure noticed his lack of caring about the office!

    *Mitt’s real first name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_romney).

  6. d.c.wilson:

    I don’t believe that statement for a second. Mitt spent the better part of a decade either running for president or preparing to run. No one would spend as much time effort pandering and flipflopping as he did if they didn’t want to president.

    Tag has tried to humanize his father with anecdotes several times now, and each one has served to make Mitt look even creepier and deceitful than before.

  7. Marcus Ranum:

    Why doesn’t he just pay a bunch of people to believe in him? Oh, wait…

  8. donalbain:

    Tagg Romney must know some serious wantin’-to-be-president motherfuckers!

  9. nonnymus:

    The main reason why Tagg could only scare up 12 people to show that his father cared is that his father simply doesn’t care about people… nor dogs!

    Here’s a story which neatly counters Tagg’s delusions about his father being a ‘caring person’ : http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00066.htm

    I suspect that in 20 years or so we’ll be seeing equally delusional political campaigns from Tagg. Sigh.

  10. mishcakes:

    From the Boston Globe article:

    Exit polls told a stunning story. The majority of voters preferred Romney’s visions, values, and leadership.

    Really? I find that really hard to believe.

  11. fifthdentist:

    @ mishcakes

    One word: ACORN!

  12. maddog1129:

    This “story” by Tagg doesn’t make Mitt look creepy; it makes Tagg look foolish.

  13. naturalcynic:

    All that pandering and flip-flopping may have been a desperate attempt to keep voters from seeing his truly wonderful wonderfulnes , because his humbleness told him that he might not become the bestest president ever. Anything short of being greater than St.Ronnie just wouldn’t do. Didja’ think of that????

  14. raven:

    Exit polls told a stunning story. The majority of voters preferred Romney’s visions, values, and leadership.

    What values, visions, or leadership.

    Far as I could see, he was dishonest, evasive, represented the ultra-rich, and was most likely a warm and cuddly sociopath.

    I tried to analyze the Romney/Ryan economic plans. There weren’t any, visible anyway. I guess that if they actually said what they planned to do, no one sane would vote for them.

  15. Reginald Selkirk:

    “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life.”

    Tagg hasn’t met me. And I am grateful for it.

  16. jnorris:

    Reginald Selkirk:

    Tagg hasn’t met me. And I am grateful for it.

    Gotta print up t-shirts with this. Should sell very well in Massachusetts.

  17. democommie:

    “I tried to analyze the Romney/Ryan economic plans. There weren’t any, visible anyway”

    That plan? It’s the print equivalent of a dogwhistle. You can’t read it because you don’t hate hard enough.

  18. infraredeyes:

    Actually, I think Tagg may have a point. I don’t think Mitt Romney is any good at “retail” politics, because (a) it involves dealing with people face-to-face, an activity he dislikes, and (b) because so very many of the issues are things he doesn’t really care about, e.g. foreign policy in its entirety. He’s more of a CEO, or even a king, by temperament than a president.

  19. imthegenieicandoanything:

    If telling the truth paid enough AND allowed him to more easily harm the lives of a larger number of other human beings, Mitt rMoney and his truly repulsive brood would eagerly tell the truth. Because they are a particularly conscience-free version of the American brand of evil.

    Whose children would you want yours to play or school together with: he Obamas’ or the rMoney’s? Even the Dubya Bu–sh– twins (though, oddly, NOT Dubya & brothers) seem like less odious, twisted, bullying, and apt-to-evil descendants!

  20. yoav:

    While Tagg is full of it I wouldn’t have been surprised if, in a world where the republicans have managed to rig the vote enough to get him into the white house, after realizing that being president is hard work and you can’t just order congress, or china, around like you can your undocumented domestic staff, Mittens would have pulled a Palin and resigned less then halfway trough his term.

  21. aluchko:

    It might not be completely out there. I’m sure there’s a lot of people surrounding Romney telling him how great and pragmatic he is, and how out of the limited group of people who could be President he is the only acceptable one (really, on the Republican side that’s not a stretch). I wonder if his political career is not so much ambition as inertia, everyone told him he should be a governor, then they told him he should be President, and he followed through since he didn’t really have anything else to do. If you look at him as a conformist is does explain a lot, he started Bain Capital because his boss told him to, he ran for office because his friends and family told him to, he adopted political positions because the people around him urged him to. It’s just armchair psychology but conformity over ambition might be a good lense with which to view Romney.

    @imthegenieicandoanything

    The rMoney is funny as a meme, but it makes you look as juvenile as the wingnuts referring to Obama by his middle name Hussein.

  22. Dr X:

    The Globe article is very good. One thing I’d add to that analysis is that the Obama team relied on extensive field research into voter turnout. That’s why they emphasized high numbers on the ground, making face-to-face contact with targeted segments of the voting population in swing states. They also used contact scripts based on field experiments. One Romney campaign consultant publicly complained late in the campaign that the Republican consultants rejected the research findings and went with traditional notions of voter motivation. Here’s where it gets interesting. According to this consultant, the Republican antipathy to science, research and academia was behind their disdain for research that clearly gave Obama an edge in voter turnout where it was needed.

    Some of the most interest research was conducted by social psychologist Todd Rogers and political scientists Alan Gerber and Don Green. Rogers has an excellent lecture on turnout research posted on Youtube.

    I summarized it here.

  23. dingojack:

    Dr X – ” It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. … By God! I don’t think it would have been done if I had not been there.”.
    Dingo

  24. freemage:

    As another blog pointed out, Mitt had no less than 8 other people, including a more sincere clone of himself (anyone else even remember Huntsman?) who wanted the job of losing to Obama, so really, the notion that he somehow didn’t want to lose to Obama is really stretching credibility.

  25. abb3w:

    Sour Grapes“.

  26. jeffret:

    Let’s examine this, based upon the (perhaps unreasonable) assumption that Tagg is telling the truth as he sees it. It’s still an interesting, odd claim.

    From the link:
    “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life,” Tagg Romney told the paper.

    Let’s consider what this would have to mean.

    First, Tagg doesn’t know very many people, at least not very many “common” people. I know an awful lot of people that have 0 interest in being president. I know Tagg has never met me, but I’ve got negative interest in being president. Not only am I not interested in being president, I’m negatively interested in being president.

    Second, out of the people that Tagg does know, they all want to be president. Tagg himself wants to be president. Tagg and all the people he knows want to be president enough to put up with all the hassles of running for it.

    Third, it’s an interesting insight into who Tagg considers “anyone” or “people”. We have no reason to believe that Ann Romney wanted to be president. We do have some substantial reason to believe that Ann wanted to be FLOTUS. Or at least that she wanted Mitt to be president. It is reasonable to imagine that Tagg’s wife Jennifer has less interest in being president than Mitt does. The logical conclusion is that Tagg doesn’t consider Ann and Jennifer and people like them (women, perhaps) as “anyone”.

    There is some evidence that Mitt had some “last-minute jitters” in 2010. After preparing for running for president for years, Mitt, upon seeing the ascendancy of the Tea Party, had some qualms about his chances. “After all the planning, he had flinched.” However, Ann and Tagg prevailed and convinced him to run. As it is portrayed in the article, it wasn’t so much a question of whether he wanted to be president as to how good his chances were and whether he wanted to run.

    Mitt’s last minute jitters

    In the end, though, I think my initial assessment is about as correct as any of these others. Tagg, like his father, treats truth merely as a vague concept that is adjustable to the current situation, to whomever he is speaking with. There is a lot of evidence that Mitt wanted to be president. There isn’t nearly as much evidence that he wanted to *run* for president. Or that he really wanted to bother with the hassles of actually performing the job of president.

  27. aluchko:

    @jeffret

    It would make sense that he’s thinking only of the much smaller group of people who would have a plausible chance of making a run for president. (It’s easier to say you don’t want a job when you have zero chance of getting it). Though still even if he’s trying to be honest it’s probably a major exaggeration.

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