I recently watched Mitt, a very well-made documentary about Mitt Romney’s two shots at running for the US presidency in 2008 and 2012. The film is made up largely of footage shot behind the scenes during the campaigns; footage of Romney preparing for debates, hugging his family, and praying with his wife, Ann. Viewers see the toll that campaigning for the world’s biggest job took on Romney and his family, and it would be impossible not to feel empathy and a degree of admiration for his toughness and self-belief, not matter what your political views.
Although I am not American, I take a huge interest in US politics and I followed the 2012 election campaign closely. It was interesting to see the way the British media covered the contest; there was near unanimous support for President Barack Obama to a degree where the press seemed unashamed about their anti-Republican bias. When Mitt Romney visited Britain he was vilified for comments he made about our readiness for the 2012 Olympics; you would have thought that the opinion of a man who successfully organised the 2002 Winter Olympics might be worth listening to, but the liberal British media were having none of it.
But if we step away from the media myths and analyse Romney the man, what do we find? Liberals depicted him as a flip-flopping millionaire with no understanding of ordinary Americans – as Romney admits in the documentary, he was seen as ‘the flipping Mormon.’ But in fact, this is not a fair caricature of the man. The media usually enjoys depicting Republicans as dogmatic and closed-minded, and so when Romney comes along and bucks this stereotype, he isn’t lauded for being a moderate but instead tarred with the ‘flip-flop’ label. His money was also highlighted as an issue, but why should Romney have to apologise for having been a successful businessman with a track record of turning failing companies around and creating profit and jobs? I would have thought these were virtues in a man seeking to run the world’s most powerful economy!
Ultimately, Romney faced a near impossible job in unseating President Obama in 2012; whilst some of Obama’s shine had faded during his first term he was still a force to be reckoned with. No one can deny that he is extremely charismatic, and elections seem to be what he does best, mobilising support and fighting off his detractors (albeit with a little help from his friends in the press). Even though polls suggested the election was too close to call before the results were released, no one really was in any doubt who the winner would be. However, I sincerely believe America and the rest of the world have missed out, as Mitt Romney would have made a truly fantastic president.
Having tried twice to reach the White House it is now clear that we will never see a President Mitt Romney. The Republicans now need to look forward to 2016, and potential candidates need to start getting their voices heard. A number of figures have been touted as possibilities – Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz to name just a few. However, there is no front runner, and this puts the GOP in a difficult position; they cannot afford to lose in 2016, and America can’t afford a third term of a Democrat in the White House.
Originally posted at: georgereeves1994.blogspot.co.uk