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Romney’s Harsh Response

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2007

Generally we find that when a public figure is caught in a scandal, political and religious leaders tend express their disappointment but also find a way to display compassion and sorrow (especially with those of the same party).  Phrases like “sympathy for the family”, “hope for recovery”, or “this time of difficulty” tend to abound.

Not so with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his comments on Kudlow & Company about his former co-chair Senator Larry Craig:

Yeah, I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we’ll just forgive and forget. And the truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from elected–an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you’re someone like that person.’ And we’ve seen disappointment in the White House, we’ve seen it in the Senate, we’ve seen it in Congress. And frankly, it’s disgusting.

This sort of response is surprising (to me) from a man who until yesterday was a close ally and I think it says several things about the way in which Romney views the world – and the way in which he would preside over the administration of the nation. I’m curious as to what others read into this reaction.

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Ben in Oakland
August 28th, 2007 | LINK

Mitt’s hoping to score points with the religious right, and to distance himself from being “soft” on homosexuality. apparnetly, Craig’s un-straight-ness was an open secret in Washington. Mitt’s just say…”why, had i known…” and “fucking pervs” in his own iniMITTable way.

David
August 28th, 2007 | LINK

To me, the interesting thing is that there is nothing Romney said that couldn’t be applied to him – except that he hasn’t been caught doing something wrong.

Would he not describe himself as someone who has “voted the right way on issues of significance” or who “talks a good game”?

His speech is remarkably similar in tone to all of the moralizing from people like Sen.Craig – who are later caught in “disappointing” situations.

It seems like a very strange approach, as if Mitt hasn’t grasped the really crucial element of these scandals, the element that really makes them newsworthy

less than perfect people condemning other people’s perceived inperfections

tp
August 29th, 2007 | LINK

I was impressed that Romney showed the backbone to call this for what it is. Politicians smooth over their own party’s flaws but condenm the other party. If you want this type of behavior stopped you make a point of it no matter which party it comes from. Good job for Romney.

I’m tired of our elected officials looking like bad behaved Frat boys. I want leadership. Craig, doesn’t even have the guts to admit to it and correct it. I’m glad Romney took this stance.

Randi Schimnosky
August 29th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy said “This sort of response is surprising (to me) from a man who until yesterday was a close ally and I think it says several things about the way in which Romney views the world – and the way in which he would preside over the administration of the nation.”

And I’m curious as to what you’re thinking about that. So, tell us what you think.

Timothy Kincaid
August 29th, 2007 | LINK

Randi,

I had a few ideas that were a bit vaguely identified. But here goes:

First, I think that Romney felt that this was a personal violation. His reaction suggested to me that perhaps he felt that because he put Craig on his campaign then Craig had a special obligation to him. Rather than seeming disappointed, he seemed vindictive.

Second, I found that Romney seems to be very lacking in loyalty. Obviously some politicians have loyalty to a fault and can end up advancing their buddies instead of what is good for the country. But from a political perspective, if you are seen as dumping people the minute they become controversial then volunteers and wonks may become less likely to want to help you. They will feel that you have no loyalty to them so why should they be loyal to you.

Third, it’s rare that you see someone publicly disavow “forgive and forget”. This made him seem to me to be a bit of an unyielding tyrant.

Fourth, Romney’s language seemed to be saying that personal morality is more important in a legislator than good governing. I know that language has been quite strong in the past in the Republican Party (“it’s about character”) but that prioritizing seems to be resulting in miserable choices. The current president would without question be considered by Republicans to be moral in his personal life, but I know that there are many within the Party that would not consider him to have been a particularly effective president. I’m surprised that Romney would want to adopt language and imagery that could tie him to the idea of George Bush, even in the primary.

Now, of course, these are just my impressions.

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