Thursday, December 27, 2012

The barely hidden desires of Mitt Romney

I'm surprised I haven't heard more about this in the days since it's been news.

In a surprisingly candid new interview, Mitt Romney’s oldest son Tagg revealed that this father “had no desire” to run for president in 2012.

“If he could have found someone else to take his place … he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention,” Tagg told the Boston Globe in a behind-the-scenes look at the loss of the Romney 2012 campaign.

Despite aggressively running arguably the most costly campaign in American history, Tagg Romney claims that his father “wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life.”

Watching Romney throughout the campaign, I always felt that he wanted to win more than he wanted to be president. It's also how I felt about George W. Bush in 2000 — before 9/11 and after Katrina especially, he governed as if he knew he was in over his head. This seems to be the recent common thread for Republicans. I guess that's what happens when a party is beholden to birthright in selecting its candidates.

Chatter about Romney's apparent disinterest in the presidency rang throughout the campaign, from Democrats and Republicans alike. Furthermore, many Republicans didn't like that he was their candidate. And, of course, he lost in an electoral landslide. So that begs the question: who truly wanted Mitt to be president? Apparently, even he didn't want it.

Despite the likelihood that no GOP candidate in the 2012 primary field would have defeated Obama, it still behooved the party to try. If for no other reason than that the candidate might win. And then what?

Say what you want about Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush or Michael Dukakis — those people wanted to be president. Or, at the very least, they acted like they did. Which is always a plus when you're running for the position.

Republicans already have a major deficit when it comes to the issues that define this era; the last thing they need is another living caricature of everything terrible about their party with a side order of aristocratic who-gives-a-crap. Dubya got lucky that way; Romney, not so much. Thank goodness.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Tagg's comment is how unsurprising it is.

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