August 31st, 2012

Getting to know Romney the do-gooder

Of all the things I saw at the convention, the most potentially powerful was the series of presentations about Romney’s good deeds. It was both curious and moving, and unprecedented (at least in my memory) for an introduction to a presidential candidate at a convention.

Byron York describes it as leaving many viewers in tears, and I don’t doubt it. I already knew these stories about Romney—they’ve long been available to anyone interested in doing a little bit of research on the man—so they didn’t surprise me, although I was pleased to see the campaign was finally trying to get them to the attention of the American public.

I wonder, though, how many people saw it? How many people even watch the conventions, and how many were viewing that particular part? Even Fox cut away for some of it.

We’re used to sob stories about politicians, meant to tug at the heartstrings, both to laud politicians and to attack them. But usually they are about policies the politicians have promoted or blocked: Romney was responsible for the death of my wife when we lost our insurance as a result of Bain; Obamacare meant I got health insurance despite my pre-existing condition. That sort of thing is standard. But these stories about Romney’s extraordinary kindness and caring were not the usual tales about how his policies have helped people; they were personal, and specifically religious in nature, because they described hands-on (in some cases, literally) acts Romney performed in the service of his Mormon faith and his position as a Mormon lay minister.

I have never seen a politician use that sort of approach before. Perhaps it’s because few if any politicians have a record like that to point to. Perhaps it’s also because Romney may have needed to point it out more than most would have, because of his naturally cool demeanor, and because the campaign against him has relied so far almost entirely on character assassination.

Whatever the reasons, the degree to which Romney has been a practitioner of personal kindness and good works is extraordinary. Whether he wins the election or not, it’s clear that Romney is a very unusual human being, with a combination of brains, hard-nosed business sense and competitiveness, and personal kindness that goes way beyond anything most people consider necessary or even possible. For a politician, this is so unusual as to be unique.

So far, the Obama campaign’s “narrative” about Romney has been rather simple: out of touch, flip-flopping, women-despising, rapacious exploitative capitalist (pig, although they don’t say it). But the funny thing about lies is that all it takes to refute them is the truth, and there’s plenty of refutation available in the true story of Romney’s life. If people could learn those things, Obama’s Romney narrative would be blown out of the water.

But will people be allowed to learn them? If the stories had been about Obama, they already would have been hyped to the skies. But of course that’s not the way the MSM rolls for Romney.

There’s another thing about these tales. They seem almost too good to be true—very corny, very touching. In our cynical and ironic age they are almost unbelievable, like some sort of parody. What a square, goody-two-shoes—although the kind of square you might want to have around in a crisis.

Is any of this relevant to the tasks involved in being president? I’m not at all sure. But all of it is highly impressive—and most definitely relevant to the question of what sort of person Romney is, and whether he cares about people, which has become an issue in the campaign.

People keep saying about Romney, “the more I know of him the more I like him.” Not just on this blog, but in comments all over the internet. It strikes me that Obama is just the opposite—the more people know of him the more they dislike him.

ADDENDUM: Just in case you didn’t see the tributes, here they are:

ADDENDUM II: I hadn’t seen this one before, but it’s golden, and I think would be especially appealing to those liberals who might be on the fence about whom to vote for. The speaker’s sincerity shines through [Hat tip: commenter “jeanneb”):

67 Responses to “Getting to know Romney the do-gooder”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    And-a one, and-a two, and-a three:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIraynujTsI

    “Getting to know you
    Getting to know all about you.
    Getting to know you
    Getting to feel free and easy…..”

  2. Steve Says:

    Romney sure seems to think of himself as a savior or wants to be seen that way. I wonder if that motivation underlies his reputation as a turnaround artist at Bain, the Olympic Games and if I remember correctly as Governor too.

  3. roc scssrs Says:

    I grew up in a bucolic 50s suburb, and Romney came off as the quintessential lovable Dad down the block. And not lovable goofy, but lovable respected. As you indicate, Neo, it will be a battle between hip, cool, and ironic vs. square, forthright, and decent. Choose your vision, America!

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    roc scssrs: let me just add that in the videos of the Romney family when the kids were young, the entire family’s extraordinary physical beauty just leapt off the screen (particularly Romney’s). His interactions with his young kids were phenomenally loving and tender; just impossible not to see that.

  5. Rob Says:

    If these are the kinds of details we have to focus on in order to cast a vote for this moron, then so be it. We’ll see if Romney’s good deeds inspire the same admiration after he’s been president for a year and is just beginning to feel comfortable enough to return to his old, liberal ways.

  6. expat Says:

    My parents were the go-to people in our large family. I can’t tell you how much time they (and I) spent at the hospital with friends and family members during ilnesses and following tragic accidents. Romney reminds me of my parents, although he has a few more financial resources than they did. I trust him.

  7. SharonW Says:

    Rob, your cynicism is a clanging cymbal. It is tiresome, unhelpful and the kind of attitude that brought us a President Barack Obama in the first place. The difference between the American revolution and the French revolution is the difference between pragmatism and idealism. Is everyone according to you in a fixed state based on past experiences and actions? Some of us learn things along the way.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Rob: you give yourself away by your use of the term “moron.”

    Be cynical about Romney’s good deeds, if that’s the way you see it, or see them as irrelevant. Disagree with Romney about various policies if you like. If it makes sense to you, believe he will revert to some “old, liberal ways” that he didn’t even show while governor of Massachusetts, when he stood quite a bit to the right of almost the entire population there. But calling him a “moron” (i.e. stupid) is just—well, stupid. There is no evidence for stupidity in the man.

  9. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Yes, Romney, with his joint Harvard J.D. and M.B.A. degrees and his top-notch grade point averages, is clearly a moron — while Obama the lightworker, whose transcripts we are racists for wanting to see but who can’t explain car insurance, count the states or pronounce “corpsman” is the most brilliant man ever elected to the Presidency.

  10. Oldflyer Says:

    Neo, you asked, and answered: “Is any of this relevant to the tasks involved in being president? I’m not at all sure.”

    I respond, probably not. But, for better or worse, it is relevant to being elected President.

    I am sure that anyone paying attention knows by now that Mitt Romney is very capable of performing the tasks involved in being President. I expect that most of us know that he would govern as a moderately conservative President, with some compromises to get things done. Probably more compromises than many would like. He would, of course, likely be thought very conservative compared to the incumbent.

    I, at least, have no doubts on that score. Now, the job is to get elected. This convention hopefully took the first step in that direction.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Mrs Whatsit: commenter “Rob” has a history here of absolutely detesting and despising Romney. But he’s not an Obama supporter, either. At least he’s never posted anything to that effect. And he’s made it clear in several posts that he plans to hold his nose and vote for Romney, and that he approves of the Ryan choice.

    Rob’s attitude towards Romney is one we saw a lot of back during the primaries, mostly from Gingrich and Santorum supporters. After the primaries it’s tended to fall away, more so as time goes on. But there are holdouts like Rob who continue to have a lot of animus towards Romney.

  12. Oldflyer Says:

    Let me clarify my remarks. I had not read those of Rob and Steve before I hit submit. Clearly, what I thought was clear to any thinking person is opaque to them.

    Just so you know fellows, you do not have to vote for Romney. You can waste your vote on Ron Paul, or you can keep it in your pocket. In the great scheme of things it should not matter. Of course, if Obama should win another term it will matter a lot.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer: please see my comment right above yours.

  14. M J R Says:

    For the record (but addressed to Oldflyer), I do not believe Ron Paul is on a national ballot this November.

    The Libertarian Party candidate for president is Gary Johnson. I don’t know who is the Constitution Party candidate — and I personally don’t care. Or the Reform Party candidate, if it exists any more.

    (As for the socialist, socialist workers, green, etc. parties, I’m far too uninterested to give it more than a millisecond’s thought.)

  15. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    It was necessary for Romney to break away from the Mass Republican Governor mode (Weld, Celluci, etc). These guys were elected to temporarily block or correct the Dems worst excesses and corruption, but lacked the support to do anything else. The phrase “worked well with the Democratic Legislature” tells it all.

    Mitt seems to have realized that he needed to have a larger persona to be a leader not just a manager. Selecting Ryan was a first step. Showing he as not a word trimming finance guy was necessary to show that he would appreciate the public mood and anxieties during tough decisions. His Mormon upbringing favors consensus rather than argument, but an Irish Catholic like Ryan can do all the arguing for both of them.

  16. Steve Says:

    Oldflyer, seems to me the question is what is behind Romney’s unusual generosity. Is it altruism or is it enlightened self-interest or is it also a bit of a compulsion? Is he trying to live up to his father’s example. Motivation matters. Obama is crap. I think everyone agrees with that.

  17. Instapundit » Blog Archive » JENNIFER RUBIN: The Media Filter Died Last Night: Rattled and bitter that they could not knock t… Says:

    [...] Getting To Know Romney The Do-Gooder. “Whatever the reasons, the degree to which Romney has been a practitioner of personal [...]

  18. anonChicagoan Says:

    It was very purposefully not a “GREAT” speech by a “GREAT” orator.
    That was 2008 and the last 4 years under President Obama.

    I was a “GOOD” speech by a “GOOD” man. I wasn’t sure how I will vote. But Gov. got my vote in 2012 with …

    “to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in our room.”

    As a father of grown children he knows EXACTLY how I feel. Yes, grandchildren are wonderful an a simple joy to watch.

    But not the same thing.

  19. jthc Says:

    Romney sure seems to think of himself as a savior or wants to be seen that way.

    I think he is simply hardwired to be a problem-solver. I’ve known a few of those in my life–very nice to have on your side.

  20. Steve Says:

    By the way now that Romney has given recipients of his generosity a platform to praise him, I think his ‘altruism’ is no longer altruism. He is cashing in on his past deeds. Something I read about his management of the Olympics makes me think he spun that to make the situation look worse than it was. What was the point of that? To put himself in the best possible light? Once you see it might be that way, the spell is broken. We may be dealing with someone who is driven partly by personality issue who decidedly is not a mythical hero.

  21. jeanneb Says:

    You left out my favorite! Jane Edmonds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcqPVEYKQEk&feature=plcp

  22. jeanneb Says:

    Good grief, Steve. The Olympics scandal was in the newspapers for MONTHS. Long before they asked Romney to step in.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: I couldn’t disagree more.

    First of all, Romney has never trumpeted this stuff before. He waited longer than just about anyone else in his position would have done before allowing others to talk about it at the convention, and I think it’s pretty clear that he felt he needed to do it to strike back and invalidate the slanderous charges against him and his character by the opposition.

    Many of these acts of kindness were performed when he was a young man and not especially famous. You think his motivation was to use them later to help his campaign? Absurd. Plus, is a good deed only a good deed if a person never, ever mentions it, even when people slander him? Also absurd.

  24. GeoffB Says:

    It’s extremely relevant: What we have here is the embodiment of the idea that charity is the province of those whi have something to give, not something politicians do with other people’s money. Charity, too, is a thing that Americans do well when you unleash the American economy.

  25. Holly Says:

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am LDS.
    However, I think that if we were privy to the decision-making process here, we will see that it was his campaign team that pushed for this information to come forth to show how good a man he is. I have never heard Romney talk up his good works. His work ethic, yes. His credentials as a businessman, yes. His compassionate service to others? Unpaid? His great philanthropy? Never. This is not a man who wants everyone to think of him as a savior. Those that do tell others about the wonderful things they do. He doesn’t.
    I don’t know him, but I too am inclined to trust him, because I can’t believe people would make this stuff up.
    Besides, what’s so bad about being a do-gooder? Wouldn’t it be nice if more people were?

  26. Steve Says:

    Yes the Olympics were ‘in crisis.’ If I remember there was a scandal about the management (eg, bribes). So new management was required. When was Romney hired? 1999. When were the Olympics? 2002. If you believe there was no way that the Olympics would have succeeded without Romney, I have a bridge to sell you.

  27. LAG Says:

    As the parent of an 8-year who died of cancer and was buried in his Scout uniform, I find it impossible to be cynical about Romney’s good deeds or see them as irrelevant. I think they are just the opposite.

    Our family’s experience was that most people did not want to know or be around you once they found out the situation. They simply weren’t sure how to act. Death–and cancer is almost always interpreted as a death sentence–and proximity to it is something to be avoided.

    We inevitably lost touch with acquaintances and neighbors after a short period of expressed sympathy. But every now and then someone would come along who really helped. I can see that Mitt Romney is one of those people from the stories. Trust me–you cannot fake that.

    He may turn out to be a lousy president, though I doubt it considering the standard that has been set recently, but he is the very best sort of human being.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    LAG: I am so sorry about your loss.

  29. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Neo said, “There’s another thing about these tales. They seem almost too good to be true—very corny, very touching. In our cynical and ironic age they are almost unbelievable, like some sort of parody. What a square, goody-two-shoes—although the kind of square you might want to have around in a crisis.”

    Yes, his standards of achievement, both materially and spiritually, seem mythical. For most of us those standards just don’t seem possible. If we compare ourselves with Romney, we are likely to be envious and a tad bitter. Because he has achieved so much, it makes many of us seem lacking. I like to remember that in life we will always encounter people who are greater or lesser than ourselves. Comparison can make us either bitter and envious or arrogant and filled with false pride. Better to be thankful. Thankful for whatever we have achieved, no matter how modest, and thankful that there are great men and women who have achieved much, which, more often than not, lifts us all up.

    There are two things I am pretty sure of about Romney.
    1. He will work harder than anyone. He is driven to work and produce. It’s in his DNA.
    2. He will never try to put people down or divide us. He’s a builder not a destroyer.
    Those two things alone place him far above the current Whitehouse occupant.

  30. dicentra Says:

    what is behind Romney’s unusual generosity.

    It’s not unusual at all among the LDS. He was called to serve as the bishop (pastor) of a Mormon congregation, a calling that lasts about 5 years. He was later called to be a Stake President (over a group of congregation) for about 7 years.

    These callings do not provide opportunities for power-seeking or controlling others but rather require one to serve the people they are called to lead. Christ was very clear that anyone who wanted to be “chief among you” must be the servant of all, which he demonstrated symbolically by washing the apostles’ feet and then literally by suffering and dying to save the human race from Adam’s fall.

    In Mormonland, these tales of compassion and care are a dime a dozen. All bishops learn how to lose themselves in the service of others. Having to deal with your neighbors’ dirty laundry is both a humbling experience and one that helps you understand exactly what other people’s pain is like.

    Disconnected, my pasty-white belly.

    All of the positions in the LDS church are positions of service (there are tons besides bishop), and all of us know that the only way to learn to love as Christ did is to serve others. The callings provide a means to learn it and learn it well.

    You can be cynical about his motives, but you’ll be wrong. There are millions of Mitt Romneys in my church, worldwide.

    We actually believe what is taught over the pulpit, like many others in various faiths.

  31. Steve Says:

    neo, yes I think smart people are calculating and build a pedigree in order to further their future. It is called delayed gratification. It is why people go to school and get degrees. It is unusual to be extremely generous. So it is natural to be skeptical and ask why? I think it is foolish to take claims of altruism on face value especially if in the end the acts serve self-interest. Think about it, Romney has been doggedly pursuing the presidency. Why? Maybe it has been a long term goal. Those past acts of kindness may be priceless in securing the big prize. A smart person would have that in mind.

  32. parker Says:

    The Romney campaign is setting up a sharp contrast to the image team Obama crafted in 2008. They are mocking BHO as the phony messiah with a halo who was going to stop the rising of the oceans. Obama constantly talks about how much he cares. The Romney campaign is showing Romney as the one who really cares through good deeds. Romney is the kind and loving neighbor who visits kids in the hospital and helps fold laundry.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: I repeat that your assertions are absurd.

    Not that people don’t have interests other than pure altruism for their good deeds. Of course they do. But the sort of good deeds described by these people as having been performed by Romney are nothing even remotely like resume-padding, like just donating money, or performing perfunctory good deeds might be. Did you watch the tapes? This is up close and personal, heartrending stuff, involving not only Romney but at times his entire family, and including personal trips to people’s homes, by a man very very busy with his regular job.

    People who do good often want to be thought of as good people, and of course this will help them in their community, perhaps in their jobs (although they’re just as likely to be thought of as saps, and people who take time away from work in a way that hurts the business, although I’m pretty sure Romney just worked that much harder to make up for it). So what? What difference does it possibly make? You are demanding an absolute purity of heart that is not only inhuman but is irrelevant as well.

  34. SharonW Says:

    Steve, I hold the opposing point of view from you. I am constantly appalled at the lack of generosity exhibited by public figures, especially among those proclaiming such concern for the underclass. Biden, Pelosi, Obama, Clinton, and many others come to mind. The statistics show that conservatives of every socio-economic range give more than their liberal counterparts.

    On a different note, this particular part of the convention spotlights another distinction with the incumbent President. In 2008, where were the people that had association with Obama along the way to recommend him to us? None seem to exist. Still the case as far as I know.

  35. physicsguy Says:

    Steve,

    Scepticism is an acceptable, and very necessary, commondity in science. Science would not survive without it. However, I have seen scepticism in science taken to an extreme where it thwarts the actual process.

    You, my friend, are close to crossing that line which leads down to cynicism and bitterness. Not a good place to exist for your own health.

  36. Steve Says:

    I am not demanding purity of heart. I don’t buy the spin about the Olympics. If you look into it, see if there may not be some self-promotion involved (to further his plans for public life). If you agree, then guess what? It colors his other acts of ‘saving.’ It is not to say he is not a giving person. It is just that what is driving these impulses is inextricably linked to his ambition, perhaps, to be president. Remember Obama thought from a very early age that he would be president. He certainly managed his image in a way to maximize his chances of that happening.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    SharonW: yes, I am eagerly awaiting the testimonies that Obama generously shared his choom with others.

    Or something like that (see #5 here).

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: it certainly seems to me you are demanding purity of heart. Your comments really don’t seem relevant to any other point you might be trying to make.

    Did anyone ever say Romney was not an ambitious man? Of course he was, and is.

    I fail to see your point, unless it is that his heart was not totally and purely altruistic when he did his good deeds. As I have said: irrelevant.

  39. SharonW Says:

    And we are always expected to accept the received wisdom that his grades were good. Proof has been hidden from public view at great expense and effort.

  40. Steve Says:

    SharonW, I completely agree with your assessment of the political class.

    physicsguy, having a low opinion of politicians is not being overly skeptical. I think the word you are looking for is realistic. I also agree with your idea that perfect is the enemy of good. I think it is important to pick apart motivation though so that you know what are dealing with. Romney may turn out to be a great president but ultimately he is human and his image is most probably just that–an image. People who appear larger than life often manage that image and often work very hard at it.

  41. texexec Says:

    “I wonder, though, how many people saw it? How many people even watch the conventions, and how many were viewing that particular part? Even Fox cut away for some of it.”

    I think the Romney campaign should make ads out of some of these stories and play them in a few markets in prime time. Then check to see if they were effective. If they were, the ads can be used to bypass the MSM and people’s lack of interest by sticking them right in front of their faces.

  42. texexec Says:

    …and they could include in those ads the fact Obama sent form letters with electronic signatures to parents and loved ones of Navy Seals who fell in battle.

  43. Sparkey Says:

    Though I too am LDS (Mormon) I haven’t been a fan of the flip-flopping Mormon RINO who, during one Primary debate, couldn’t articulate a defense of the economic system that made him rich. However, his picking Ryan and the campaign’s willingness to not roll like McCain’s has given me hope. Also, I’m relieved that Mitt could finally give a speech that didn’t sound like a Sacrament talk.

    DirtyJobsGuy wrote: “His Mormon upbringing favors consensus rather than argument, but an Irish Catholic like Ryan can do all the arguing for both of them.”
    Said like someone who’s never attended a Mormon Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Class. :)
    Which may also explain why Romney hasn’t invited reporters to attend Sunday School with him, LOL!

    dicentra wrtote: “You can be cynical about his motives, but you’ll be wrong. There are millions of Mitt Romneys in my church, worldwide.”
    Agreed, I’ve been blessed to serve with several Bishoprics with made up of men with equal Faith and kindness. Thank you for you post, I was writing a similar post and yours has kept me from missing dinner.

  44. JAL Says:

    Says:
    @ Steve
    August 31st, 2012 at 2:29 pm
    Romney sure seems to think of himself as a savior or wants to be seen that way.
    —————

    Projection much? He said that when …. Oh! Wait! He never said anything resembling that!

    Damn.

    The fact we haven’t heard these stories (I had heard the NYC lost teen story — which was not included) indicates quite the opposite.

    Matter of fact what you wrote certainly fits the current “I Won” Me me me me I I I I I my my my Look Loooke Loookee occupant of the Oval Office.

    It appears tat Romney is a man who internalized the good works doctrine and ethos of his particular church.

    You can throw mud, but how can you tell what his heart really is? You can’t.

    Disclaimer: I am not a Mormon, and in fact think they are theologically heretical from an orthodox Christian viewpoint.

    Romney is a genuinely good man.

  45. texexec Says:

    Some have said that Romney has no sense of humor. I REALLY laughed out loud when he said he hadn’t asked to manage his church’s pension fund during Bain’s startup because he not only didn’t wanna fail but didn’t wanna go to hell either. :)

  46. Sparkey Says:

    Jal wrote: “Disclaimer: I am not a Mormon, and in fact think they are theologically heretical from an orthodox Christian viewpoint.

    Only because such Christian “orthodoxy” is based on a belief that a 4th Century AD political document, the Nicene Creed, has some religious significance. I always felt that such claims of “orthodoxy” seemed shortsighted in that Christ should be the center of any Christian orthodoxy. However, Orthodox or not, at least give us, and Romney, credit for that.

  47. eburke Says:

    Obama is said to be ‘likeable’ but Romney is admirable. What’s more important in a president?

    I am still waiting for someone to explain Obama’s neglect of all his poor relatives in Africa and the UK, some of whom are in genuine need.

  48. Steve Says:

    Sparkey, I have similar concerns about Romney. For me it is Romneycare. It is driving up costs and decreasing quality of care (increasing wait times) in MA. If I understand correctly it was designed to add people to the rolls not to reduce costs. It is working as planned! Romney is not sorry that it passed. He defends it. I think it is quite reasonable to be concerned that Romney is a RINO. Name me one Republican who has cut his teeth in NE who is not?! Fortunately (or unfortunately) events may force him to be a conservative.

    The part of Clint’s speech I liked best is when he said we (taxpayers) own this country. politicians are employees of ours. He is exactly right. I noticed a less than enthusiastic response from Ryan when he said that. Good. These guys need to hear that. Clint showed he is wise as well as talented.

  49. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: Republicans who cut their teeth in New England who are not RINOs:

    Kelly Ayotte
    Judd Gregg
    Paul LePage (what a life story, by the way)

    Actually, there are quite a few others. But they’re not holding office, because it’s hard for them to get elected.

  50. Rightthinkingrob Says:

    Great post. Romney had me by not being Barrack Obama. But it turns out he’s an exceptionally good man, and may just be uniquely qualified to the President we need at this very moment in time.

    Regarding this quote: “Is any of this relevant to the tasks involved in being president? I’m not at all sure.” Not really, but it might be relevant to him getting the job. The entire thrust of the Obama re-election campaign–since they can’t run on the record–is that Romney is an evil, selfish out of touch millionaire who doesn’t understand how the average person lives. That’s all they’ve got.

    If they saw this, the average voter now knows how despicable–and inaccurate–that charge is. And thus they have no reason whatsoever not to vote for Romney.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve:

    On Romney and Romneycare:

    Romney…hated the employer mandate and vetoed the provision that employers of 11 or more offer coverage or face a penalty of $295 per employee. This veto, and seven others aimed at less controversial aspects of the law, were easily overridden by the Democratic Legislature.

    Romney considers the Massachusetts plan needlessly gold-plated; he would have pushed for a much cheaper version that allowed minimal coverage options.

    He believes the Massachusetts health connector, the insurance exchange which the Obama plan would emulate, has created an excessive regulatory burden, imposing too many requirements on what commercial insurers must offer for a policy to qualify as “minimum creditable coverage’’ under the law. His proposal, to require only a bare-bones policy that covered hospitalization and catastrophic illness, was rejected by the Legislature…

    Romney also wanted a way for those of means to opt out of the mandate by posting a bond — essentially a promise to pay for future uninsured health care costs. Critics called it a “fig leaf’’ and Romney concedes that few would have taken advantage — just as only a handful choose a similar option to post a $10,000 bond rather than buy compulsory auto insurance in Massachusetts.

    But the principle mattered to him, and the failure of the Legislature to agree still rankles…

    And as for those on the economic margin, Romney thought that no one, however poor, should get insurance for no cost at all. He advocated a small premium, even a few dollars a month, for the neediest, but the Legislature balked.

    Today, under the Commonwealth Care program, about half of the 160,000 receiving subsidized coverage pay no premium because their incomes fall below certain federal poverty level guidelines.

    “When you give something away that is entirely free, people don’t value it as much as they should,’’ Romney said.

  52. Sparkey Says:

    Steve, though we have the same reservations on Romney; however, pragmatically speaking, I’ll take a Mormon RINO over the Socialist moron any day.

    Neo-neocon, though Steve may have exaggerated for dramatic effect you have to admit that most of the mover’s and shakers in the NE Republican Party establishment are more interested in power than the strength of their party’s ideas to improve people’s lives.

    Makes me realize how blessed I am to me a Texan and a Mormon. I have the best of both worlds!;)

  53. CPins Says:

    First time visitor and thrilled to have found you Neo – I look forward to plundering your archives.

    I don’t see Romney’s personal service as too good to be true. I’ve been blessed to know a number of selfless, caring and genuine “do-gooders.”

    Perhaps the dissonance lies in that we usually encounter those traits in a low key neighbor, dedicated teacher or dad who’s always coaching, volunteering and mentoring. After all few Americans live among ambitious politicians much less less those that actually walk the walk.

  54. neo-neocon Says:

    Sparkey: actually, although I certainly know what you mean, I don’t quite agree.

    When you say “movers and shakers,” I assume you mean people who’ve been elected to high office. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island, it is virtually impossible to be elected to office (except perhaps at dogcatcher level) without being either a Democrat, or a Republican who’s willing to compromise mightily in order to work with Democrats and move them just a tad to the right. New Hampshire, the only bona fide purple state in New England, is different, and you will find lots of true conservatives there (especially of the fiscal variety) holding office at many levels. Maine has some possibilities, but much less so than New Hampshire. But there are plenty of conservatives running for office in these states. They just don’t get elected.

    Sean Bielat, the guy who challenged Barney Frank in 2010, is one, for example. He’s running again, but it’s a huge uphill climb. That doesn’t mean he’s not a conservative; it just means he probably won’t win. So of course, through a process of selection, any Republican winners in a state like Massachusetts are almost certainly not going to be very conservative (or have to hide their conservatism somewhat).

  55. Sparkey Says:

    Steve & CPins go back and read dicentra’s
    August 31st, 2012 at 5:11 pm post.
    “In Mormonland, these tales of compassion and care are a dime a dozen….”

    This is absolutely true.

    I recommend this story to understand Romney:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/i-went-to-church-with-mitt-romney-this-morning

    I bet you dollars to doughnuts there were discussions between the Romney Clan and the Republican Establishment Pros where the pros want to publicize these stories and the Romney’s resisted. Why? Firstly because of Matthew 6:2 (KGV)
    “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

    And secondly because in “Mormonland” it’s notunusual. I can see the Clan saying, “But we’re Mormons, it’s what we do, it’s who we are! It’s not that unusual or extraordinary…”

    And I find it sad that many will see simple Christian charity as extraordinary…

  56. Steve Says:

    neo, the link to the article is broken. Do you really find the part you quoted persuasive? It reads like a list of excuses. Why is he not demanding it be overhauled given that it has all these deficiencies and is driving up costs and reducing quality of care? Why does he continue to defend the law? To me that suggests he is not entirely sincere.

    Sparkey, I agree with you. Obama must go. I want to see Romney win. I just think we should heed Clint’s advice: when someone isn’t doing the job, we’ve got to let him go.

  57. Sparkey Says:

    Neo-Neocon, I have extensive relations in New England, so I understand exactly what you are talking about.

    There is more to a Party than the elected officials, there is an infrastructure of paid and unpaid staff working with and for the state parties. That’s the establishment I’m talking about. The California Republican Party has similar problems to the NE.

    To a large extent the problem is about getting the message out. Very difficult with a press hostile to your message. That’s why voices like yours are so important.

  58. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: it’s an old article, and since then the Boston Globe has become a paid site, so perhaps that’s why the link doesn’t work at this point.

    I think you fail to understand the situation Romney faced in Massachusetts. He doesn’t demand that it be overhauled because he’s a federalist who believes Massachusetts has a right to plot its own destiny in this regard. Also, he is no longer governor of Massachusetts and hasn’t been for a long time.

    What’s more, he was very very limited in what he was able to get past the Massachusetts legislature, which at the time he was governor was something like 85% Democratic. Anything he “demanded” would either not be voted in in the first place, or any veto (and he vetoed plenty) would be immediately overriden. He had to work with what he had. Within those confines, he did quite well, I think, in getting the laws that were passed to be as conservative as possible. He refuses to condemn what he did because (a) he’s a realist; and (b) he believes it was the solution for Massachusetts, a liberal state; not for the country on the federal level.

    There are plenty of other articles going into depth on what happened:here’s a summary page if you’re interested in learning more.

  59. expat Says:

    Steve, you are assuming that Romney has always aimed for the presidency. I am not sure about that. I suspect that this particular run (after the last failed attempt) was provoked by his frustration at the flip-flop policies of Obama and Romney’s knowledge of how they have affected the economy. He has been thinking of what to do about it for 4 years and he is not willing to let the same mistakes go on for another 4.
    OMT, I followed the Olympics reporting in Germany. It was condescending and bad. There were even comments about how much fun it would be to visit SLC when Mormons don’t drink. When the visitors returned home they were full of praise. Romney’s success helped the reptation of middle Americans.

  60. Steve Says:

    neo, that summary you linked is confusing. It seems to be saying the same things over and over. Three points are that the legislature was 85% dem, that the system was broken, and that the mandate was originally a conservative idea. Not much of an argument really. Take a look at this more recent (and coherent) summary:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577563000563259044.html

    After reading that tell me why Romney cannot criticize a law that is if anything an example of what not to do. Again the fact that he defends it is an achievement is something that should make conservatives cringe.

  61. Oldflyer Says:

    My wife tells me I am too cynical. She never met Steve. The acts of kindness discussed last night occurred long before Romney entered politics. If he thinks so far ahead that he goes to the bedside of a terminally ill teen years, maybe decades before he enters politics, just so that one day decades later he use it; then I think he would make a great President. At least he would be thinking beyond the next golf game or vacation.

    Somehow I think that couple who described his interaction with their dying son, and that mother of the premature child were honest and sincere. I also doubt that the self described Liberal Democrat woman from his cabinet would exaggerate in his favor. But, if you think so, nothing will change your mind.

    I am not an Analyst so I will not try to fine tune his motives. I am sort of a Forrest Gump type; i.e., what you see is what you get. To borrow from his philosophical musing; If stupid is as stupid does, I would say that kindness is as kindness does.

    Interesting that a few days ago people said we didn’t know Romney; that he needed to reveal more of himself. Today some people seem to be saying we know too much about Romney. What are ya gonna do?

    Today I was reminded that he took no pay for his 3 years with the Olympics, or for his four years as Governor. I also learned that refused a $30 mil/year to come back into the world of business. An admittedly biased source revealed that he is no longer interested in making money, that he has enough, and is now in the “give back mode”. But, who can you believe?

  62. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve:

    Here’s the corrected link.

  63. richard Says:

    Are there any stories like this about Obama?
    Is there anyone, anywhere who has been personally helped by Obama?

  64. bmusic65 Says:

    In reading all the different responses and comments, ‘Steve’ seems to stand out most with his cynical view of another’s virtues which include charity, compassion and kindness bundled with physical and emotional empathetic actions taught straight from the Bible. NO, I am not LDS. I cannot hold myself up to the attributes this man and his family have given. If you have not gone to church from youth through adulthood, you cannot grasp the ‘idea’ of selfless love of mankind. This does not mean a person is perfect; but means that person is trying to live the life as proscribed by the Bible. Mr Romney and his wife have taken seriously the teachings and demands of the Bible and led by example to teach their own children in this incredible tribute to God’s mandates. Must they be brought out and carried around like a neon sign at this point in time? Probably not something this family wants, I’m sure, because there is a certain humility that one learns serving others in dire straits. What is that? It goes along with the old saying, “there, but for the Grace of God, go I”. It makes one truly thankful for the blessings great or small we’ve received at the most unexpected times, especially when we don’t feel we earned or deserved them. But then, we are even more thankful to be loved by God’s constant watchfulness and his Angels of mercy. And in that state, we reach out even more to others in less than desirable situations. I would be humbled to know Mr Romney and his family, let alone know them as personal friends, even though I think that I would feel like a good friend to them anyway. As I stated before, one must come from a childhood of going to a church that teaches what the Bible says, not what the parson wants us to hear or tell us ‘warm fuzzy’ sermons so we feel ‘special’ and don’t have to do anything to earn our way in life and into the eternity of Heaven. So, don’t mock this man and his family. As one respondent stated, it has become necessary to point out the common decency of this family and most particularly, of this man who would be president of America. His opponents, and don’t mistake them for anything else, are working at warp speed to denigrate, destroy and dessicate this man into ashes. Is he going to be the first person to turning this country around? I most fervently hope he can with the help of changing the face of the House of Representatives and the Senate to a conservative majority and eventually bringing SCOTUS to a court that deals with each issue according to the Constitution as it is written. It will take in my estimation, 20 to 30 years to take back our country. So we all need to ‘man up’ or ‘put on our big girl panties’ and DEAL with it.

    Yours in Freedom and Liberty,
    BMusic

  65. Oldflyer Says:

    Neo, I just realized that you, and a host of your readers, have expended time and energy to convince one who has no intention of being convinced.

    It is clearly a waste of time. Steve is either oblivious to fact and reality, or he is one of those people who just argue for their own amusement. Of course he does not argue with fact, but simply with his own distorted opinion.

    I am sorry that I ever chimed in.

  66. richard40 Says:

    I agree the comparison of Romney as the quiet guy who was constantly doing personal good work that nobody knew about, with the Narcisistic Obama, constantly creating the grandious image, while actually doing little to nothing himself, is quite a contrast. A definition of Honor I once heard is “doing the right thing when nobody is looking”. Romney has nonor.

  67. foxmarks Says:

    These were great speeches, and there is an aspect of Romney as a Good Man. But as these commoners were tugging at heartstrings, I was getting updates from TEA and RP friends at the convention.

    From the way the Rules Committee handled things, and the Romney campaign’s snubbing of grassroots factions, he has shown another aspect. Along with his personal virtue, he is a man enamored with power and control. Knowing what was going on behind the stage-managed scene, all I saw during these speeches was a portrait of a two-faced bastard.

    I expect y’all will dismiss this as another outburst of my Romney-hatred. But if this is the most important election ever, and is expected to be close, only a fool would squelch a significant faction of potential support. Sure, I was never voting for Mitt. But my pallys were mostly prepared to hold their noses.

    Not anymore. The TEA and RP factions are in a fight with the RNC over rules that centralize power. If Romney, as the leader of the party does not engineer a rules change, he will lose much grassroots energy his campaign needs.

    It is perhaps the Bain Way to control the entire enterprise. But the Bain Way is not the American Way. You’ve picked the wrong horse.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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