July 17, 2012

"You gave it your best shot in 2002. You felt like you had to do it. You had to go and give back to the country, and you tried and they didn't take you, so let's move on."

4 of 5 of Romney's sons thought he should not run again:

And here are the sons talking about Romney's sense of humor — such as saying "the trees are the right height" and using the word "guffaw":
The full interview is on "Rock Center with Brian Williams," Thursday, July 19 at 10pm/9c on NBC.

ADDED: Here's an interpretation of the quote in the post title, which may or may not be the way the Romney family thinks about things like this. Romney explained what he was doing in 2008 in terms of service and duty — that he had reached the point in his life where he had something to offer, or so he believed, and that entailed a duty to offer it. When the offer was turned down, the duty was fulfilled. To offer a second time is to do something else, something that has more to do with ambition or vanity — something other than altruism. This kind of thinking could also have a religious dimension. Perhaps Romney felt called to serve as President. He came forward, but he was not selected. Thus concludes the calling. Move on.

39 comments:

bagoh20 said...

"The Olympics are a disaster, they are full of corruption, going broke, and falling apart, maybe we can get this Obama guy to fix it."

Yea, I know, putting that in quotes is ridiculous.

rehajm said...

Since humorless isn't an available option, 'corny' is really all a politician has. Can't exactly do Redd Foxx now can they?

Pierre said...

Just met him yesterday when he came to my club to give a speech to donors. Met him privately and he was genuine and he loved my Chef's cooking, jambalaya.

Pierre said...

Maybe the country is ready for a group of adults to run the country and that is exactly what the Romney camp will bring. Seriousness and competence...something that doesn't seem to be very popular with those knuckleheads who voted for Obama last time.

We can hope that those folks have grown up a bit since then.

campy said...

Mittens should have listened to the kids. He's cruising for an epic beatdown in Nov.

Richard Dolan said...

"This kind of thinking could also have a religious dimension. Perhaps Romney felt called to serve as President. He came forward, but he was not selected. Thus concludes the calling."

Compare that with the classic exemplar of a religious 'calling' -- St Paul, say, or Abraham. A religious 'calling' is never concluded. Mitt may just be a man of stronger faith and conviction than his sons.

Ann Althouse said...

@Richard Dolan I should have said something like: He believed he was called, but since he was not selected, he now knows he was not called.

Ann Althouse said...

Not saying that's true, just making up an interpretation of how the sons might have seen it.

4 out of 5 sons? That's some strong pressure. What was the reasoning. It's such a short quote. I'm fascinated by it. Key phrase "they didn't take you."

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Heh, I don't think Paul McCartney shouldn't play music even if he is 64 and has money. Go for it; the audience is there. Similarly, just because Romney has money, he wants the job; don't say he shouldn't go for it. He'd like the social stroke. That's fine.

Rocketeer said...

Mittens should have listened to the kids. He's cruising for an epic beatdown in Nov.

Nice! Snap your fingers, put it to a good beat and a happy melody. I'm sure this will sound great as you walk past the graveyard.

Ann Althouse said...

It's odd that I'm thinking in those terms, because if it were me, I'd find it nearly automatic to think, if they didn't take me, they don't want me, and I should take no for an answer and not embarrass/humiliate myself by asking again.

But I don't think sons would say that. I think if that's how the parent thought, the sons would say keep trying -- many who run need to run a second time to win. In fact, that's what Barack Obama probably meant to do back in 2008. Then he accidentally won, and he wasn't ready. There's a certain path to these things and it may take a trial run first. That's the normal approach to running for President.

That's my idea of sons.

Rocketeer said...

I've always thought the notion that Obama wasn't ready in 2008, that it was just a warmup and he won accidentally, was an interesting one. Does anyone really think he'd ever be ready, after what we've seen? It's not like the flaws he's exhibited are flaws that time or further experience would have mellowed.

Michael K said...

I've met Romney as well. He is personable and friendly. This was in 2008 after the election. He was obviously going to do it again. I suspect that if McCain had won (I supported him in 2000 but not 2008) that would have been it for Romney. I don't get the feeling that he is obsessed like Obama was.

Fred Thompson was there too. It was a National Review cruise and my wife was bowled over by how handsome Romney is. She has the photo we took with her and him as her screen saver on her laptop. Thompson, I think, went through the motions to please his wife but Romney was and is serious.

Obama has given him a huge opening today and I think this will not go away. It says so much about Obama and Romney has done well so far in using it.

I think his sons are not that into politics. They were not with him on the cruise as they have their own families and lives. Ann was there and was charming.

Cedarford said...

The 5 sons were a little more detailed on their Conan clip on U-tube.
They said they were really enthusiastic in 2007 when they started campaigning for their Dad in Iowa, but then found that there was a lot of undeserved hostility and negativity in Presidential politics and maybe he and the whole family would be better off and happier doing other things. (4 sons opinion).
When Romney told them he was running again, they were a lot less enthusiastic because they knew exactly what they were getting into. It means another round of Romney bashing. "Dad, Mom, us".
...he gave back at the Olympics and as Governor..why not do something else....have fun with the grandkids..??
...maybe I (one son) will feel different when I'm older.

ricpic said...

Obama's ready now! Four years of experience under his belt and he's ready to jam the icepick all the way in!! Go for it, devil chile!!!

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Maybe the sons are saying to him, 'We love you anyway. (Maybe we feel a little hurt we aren't enough).' That leaves the decision to him outside of family considerations as the normal, successful thing to do would be to see if he is closing in on the goal. He doesn't have to do it as if that is happening just to make them look good.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wisdom beyond their years.

I believe he said best shot in twothousandandeight but I could be wrong there, that word sounded almost like words in a language I know. English. Almost but not quite.

edutcher said...

The more I see of this guy, the more I like him.

He saw a situation where he felt he had something unique to offer his country and, understanding the kind of fight he'd have, decided to go anyway.

He'll do.

Ann Althouse said...

This kind of thinking could also have a religious dimension. Perhaps Romney felt called to serve as President

My thinking goes in a somewhat different direction.

That he might be thinking, if he can get this country on the road back to some kind of reality, not only politically and economically, but morally and socially, on the last day of his Administration, he can say to the country, "This is what a Mormon did. Even though you persecuted us, we still are Americans. And you should know we still love this country".

Elle said...

@Pierre -

"Maybe the country is ready for a group of adults to run the country and that is exactly what the Romney camp will bring. Seriousness and competence...something that doesn't seem to be very popular with those knuckleheads who voted for Obama last time."

This. Pretty please, dear Lord, this.

Cedarford said...

AA - "4 out of 5 sons? That's some strong pressure. What was the reasoning. It's such a short quote. I'm fascinated by it. Key phrase "they didn't take you."

There are some in politics that are rejected and say "that's it, fuck 'em".
There are some in athletics that don't win or do far better than others and say "fuck this stupid sport".
Others see the sport as something they can really improve on if they address some weaknesses and work hard.
The standout men's tennis player, Roger Federer...said while everyone said he had talent and he was a top 5 junior, his first few years on tour with others his age was bringing up the rear as players like Marin Safin, Roddick, Leyton Hewitt won majors and were stars. And 5-6 others were consistently better for 2-3 years. "But I thought if I worked my weaker areas and worked hard at consistency and the mental aspects I could win some day. And I did."

Others in politics seem to be energized in defeat and in understanding they made correctable mistakes. Sometimes it is self-delusion, enabled by those closest...other times they do win or stage big comebacks and win..

Ralph L said...

They'll have more years of their lives affected by a Romney presidency than he will. Historically, presidential sons often have troubled lives.

wv - ruthope -- I believe most of them are married, so this isn't a factor.

bagoh20 said...

Being rejected and failing because you are not ready is what Affirmative Action denies minorities. It's a huge rip off for everyone involved. Mitt is lucky that Mormons are not a protected minority.

Ralph L said...

Then he accidentally won, and he wasn't ready
Didn't one of the Clintons more or less admit that about 1992?
It was certainly true.

bagoh20 said...

"Didn't one of the Clintons more or less admit that about 1992?
It was certainly true."


So we did the right thing and elected a Republican congress that fixed him...where they could. It worked out OK, because he was capable of learning.

traditionalguy said...

Didnit Mitt drop a hundred million on the 2008 race? No wonder his heirs are advising another less risky investment strategy...so as to spare their Dad's feelings.

phx said...
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Richard Dolan said...

"I'm fascinated by it. Key phrase 'they didn't take you.'"

Yes. It's in keeping with the religious metaphor -- he was rejected of men. You could almost set it to music. It takes selfless faith to keep answering that call.

Will this be a contest between two politicos, each making a claim to be the One?

ricpic said...

I believe he said best shot in twothousandandeight but I could be wrong there, that word sounded almost like words in a language I know. English. Almost but not quite.

Chip Ahoy is under the illusion that the best and the brightest are constrained to speak English instead of Lyish, a language which has opened heretofore unrealized looting opportunities for the gonnifs.

William said...

Romney's own father tried and failed to win the Republican nomination. One of the ways a man measures success is by travelling further than his father. Win or lose, he can take comfort that he climbed a rung higher than his father.....Maybe Dubya's second term slayed a few Oedipal dragons. There are a lot of open doors when you're the son of a great man, but there's also plenty of trapdoors....I think JFK's famous detachment came from the fact he was acting out his father's fantasy and not his own. I don't think he ever had the sense that he had outdid his dad.....The Romney sons look healthy and sane, but there doesn't seem to be much quirkiness or eceentricity in that family.

Balfegor said...

Re: Rocketeer:

I've always thought the notion that Obama wasn't ready in 2008, that it was just a warmup and he won accidentally, was an interesting one. Does anyone really think he'd ever be ready, after what we've seen? It's not like the flaws he's exhibited are flaws that time or further experience would have mellowed.

Some of them are, some of them are not. For example, if he'd been a little more experienced, he wouldn't have been so suprised to discover that "shovel-ready" was a total farce. Although that doesn't really require political experience, just someone who reads the news. From time to time.
He might also have become a more effective negotiator. And built better bridges with the opposition party in the Senate (as opposed to what he did do, which was burn them all as soon as he became President).

That said, all we can say is that he had the opportunity to remedy his shortcomings. Whether he would have been willing to take that opportunity -- that is somewhat more dubious. In the past, I thought more seasoning would have made him stronger. On balance, though, now that we've seen him in action for the past 4 years, I no longer think that more experience would have corrected his flaws.

The biggest, I think, is that Obama has been uncommonly dependent on the formal legal powers of the Presidency. If Bush II had a "power" approach to the presidency, with all his talk of "political capital" and so on, Obama is way at the other end, with a stunted "legal" approach to the presidency.

What I mean by that is that rather than leveraging the power and authority of the presidency, he's totally reliant on his formal legal powers. His recent efforts to use executive orders to do an end run around the Legislative branch of government are just the natural result.

As President, he has access to all kinds of "soft power" tools that could help him seduce hostile opposition members (and/or make them look like fools, like Gingrich pouting about Air Force 1) if he were willing to reach out to them, but other than a couple rounds of golf with Boehner, I don't think he's even tried. And even the relationship with Boehner went nowhere after the President flaked out during the debt ceiling negotiations.

If he hasn't learned by now how to deal with people who disagree with him, four more years in the Senate wouldn't make him any better at that. He thinks like a second-rate lawyer, eager to use and manipulate words and law and pettifogging procedure, but unwilling or unable to deal with human beings. Other than, I suppose, by sending robots and spies to kill them.

Jake Diamond said...

4 out of 5 Romney sons can't be wrong!

Jake Diamond said...

Maybe Dubya's second term slayed a few Oedipal dragons.

Nah, Dubya was too busy killing the economy.

Merriweather said...

I totally get Romney's sense of humor. It's not quite nerd humor. What is the word for it? Dry? Droll? It's humor that conveys an affection for the past, for Americana, for old-fashioned turns of phrase. It's subtly patriotic because it's proud of the past. And it's also converys impish delight. Like using the word "marvelous."

John Lawton said...

Ann, another correction for you: The quote in the post title should read 2008, not 2002.

(Compliments from a loyal member of the Althouse distributed network of fact-checkers!)

Judy said...

I think the approach to this story is all wrong.
It should have focused on the 5th son, who in his wisdom, knew his Dad has the balls to try again, instead of giving up after one fail.
How much respect do you give to quitters?
How much respect would his not so wise sons, have for him if he just gave up? Like when they fell off their bikes the first time. Did Mitt say .. well the bike rejected you, so move on to something safer?
I think not.

Personally, I respect him much more for listening to his heart, and that one wise son he has, then those other 4 who need a lesson on determination.
From parental experience, I know he did the right thing running again.

Jake Diamond said...

From parental experience, I know he did the right thing running again.

It's amusing to watch Republicans try to talk themselves into loving Mittens.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

In 2008 Romney was rejected by the Republican Party, not the American people.