Mitt Romney has the good looks of a President cast in Hollywood. His wife, Ann, would make an attractive first lady and, politically crass as it sounds, her multiple sclerosis would gain sympathy in a campaign. All five sons are handsome, successful and married to beautiful women. Eleven grandchildren round out the perfect family. His undergraduate college years (first two at Stanford, last two and degree at Brigham Young) demonstrated his academic skills, graduating first in his class. Harvard’s joint business masters/law degrees program followed, this time in the top five percent of graduates.
In the business world, he worked for a consulting firm and started his own capital management company that was instrumental in launching several highly successful startups, Staples and Domino’s Pizza to name two. When the Salt Lake City Olympics got into trouble, Mitt took the reins and is credited with saving the event from financial and organizational collapse.
In politics, his father, George, served three two-year terms as Republican governor of Michigan and sought the White House in 1968. Son Mitt ran for the U.S. Senate against Teddy Kennedy in 1994, led for a while in to polls, but ultimately lost by 17 percentage points. Mitt sought elective office again in 2002. This time he won and became the 70th Governor of Massachusetts. Facing likely defeat in 2006, Romney did not run for reelection but was soon on the trail in pursuit of the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He lost out to John McCain but is widely expected to try again in 2012. He certainly has the resume and the skills but there are some problems.
Oddly, Romney’s “Father Knows Best” (TV sitcom from the fifties) family gives some people pause. Maybe a good sex scandal would help soften the “too good to be true” persona. Former Senator and John Kerry running mate, John Edwards, who had a similar quandary, could put in a good word for him at the National Inquirer.
He is a member of an American home-grown religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons. Although Mitt says Jesus is his Lord and Savior, many Christians consider Mormonism a cult. This is because the LDS theology is at variance with orthodox Christianity as defined by the creeds and other Christian statements of faith.
He probably could get by the faith issue, America is more tolerant than in years past, but his core political philosophy will be a tougher nut to crack. As a candidate in past campaigns, he took some decidedly liberal stands on issue such as abortion, gay rights and immigration. He now touts himself as a conservative especially on financial matters but to claim the conservative mantle, he has flip-flopped on several aforementioned social issues. He may be able to slip by this by arguing he has learned his lesson since his days as a Republican candidate in one of the bluest of blue states.
The one signature program of his tenure as the Bay State governor has come back to haunt him. That is the Massachusetts Healthcare Law. Many consider it the model for Obamacare. Unfortunately, costs have far exceeded projections and the program is in jeopardy. When asked about it, Romney tends to obfuscate sounding like a typical politician who won’t answer the question. There is something about him that says, “Slick” and it may turn off more than a few potential supporters.
If Mitt Romney hopes to be President of the United States, he must develop solid answers to the above problems. Meanwhile, among others, Governors Mitch Daniels – Indiana, Chris Christie – New Jersey, Tim Pawlenty - Minnesota and Bob McDonnell – Virginia are rumored to be looking at running. Any one of them would be a strong competitor for the top of the Republican ticket. Mr. Romney has his work cut out for him.
Cross posted on: Sound Politics