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Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 in Media, Politics, Society | 1 comment

Mitt: Loser’s Son Who Learned Too Well

Apology is overdue to George W. Romney for my remembering him only as an unsophisticated man whose remarks about being “brainwashed” in Vietnam cost him the 1968 GOP nomination.

In Rolling Stone, Rick Pearlstein summons up the elder Romney, with ancient videotape, to recall a time when some politicians still tried to tell the truth, even if it derailed their ambitions.

The lessons Mitt Romney drew from his father’s defeat were all the wrong ones.

Back then, George Romney was a successful auto manufacturer who campaigned against “gas guzzlers,” became governor of Michigan and had the silver-fox good looks of a president (Does Mitt dye his hair?) but, in that pre-everyday-debate era, frustrated the press corps with a salesman’s genial naivete on issues.

A fellow Republican governor observed, “Watching George Romney run for president is like watching a duck try to [George Carlin verb] a football.”

Yet Romney, as Pearlstein reminds us, had defied his Mormon church by leading a march for civil rights, advocated for them in the South in ’68 and, “after America’s worst riot broke out in Detroit under his watch, the governor said that America could respond with a crackdown…‘but our system would become little better than a police state.’”

When the elder Romney turned against the Vietnam War (as the entire country was doing that year) with one unfortunate word, politicians and media jumped on him, and his frontrunner status was gone. Then LBJ stepped down, and we got Nixon, who prolonged the war for years, and gave us Watergate.

“Mitt learned at an impressionable age,” Pearlstein concludes, “that in politics, authenticity kills. Heeding the lesson of his father’s fall, he became a virtual parody of an inauthentic politician.”

George Romney made automobiles and gave back part of his salary and bonuses when he thought they were too high; Mitt has made only money, tons of it, and won’t say exactly how and how much.


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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • rudi

    Papa Romney gave us Bill Milliken, one of Michigan’s best governors. Like Nixon, he created Michigan’s environmental protection advocacy as a Republican.

    In 1947, Governor Kim Sigler appointed Milliken to the Michigan Waterways
    Commission, putting him in touch with downstate politicians. In 1960, he was elected
    to state Senate, where he emerged as a leader among moderate Republicans, inching him
    closer to the governorship. He became the Senate majority floor leader, making a bid for
    the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 1964—a position he won alongside
    running mate Governor George Romney in 1966. Milliken became governor on Jan. 22,
    1969 upon Romney’s resignation to accept a Cabinet post in the Nixon Administration.
    He held his gubernatorial ground, with victories in 1970, 1974 and 1978, making him the
    state’s longest serving governor—a record not likely to be surpassed under current term
    As governor, Milliken established a legacy of conservation and environmental protection.
    Michigan voters passed the bottle deposit bill in 1976, diverting from landfills an estimated
    600,000 tons of container refuse annually. In 1977, Milliken won limits on phosphates
    used in laundry detergents, an action that contributed significantly to Lake Erie’s recovery.
    In 1979 the state adopted the Wetlands Protection Act, an important step in protecting
    areas that strain pollutants from water, control runoff sediments, store floodwaters and
    provide habitat for fish, amphibians and waterfowl.

    Of course a Milliken Republican couldn’t exist today. An environmental award is even named after the former governor:
    Mitten’s left Michigan and forgot the honesty and integrity of his father and Bill Milliken.

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