Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mitt Romney vs. George Romney: two generations highlight the decline of the GOP.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has just seen an override of his veto of an emergency contraception bill in his state. The logical question is: how in God's name did a man like Mitt Romney ever get elected to be governor of a state like Massachusetts?

I know someone who was a Massachusettsian during the 2002 election. She said that she was watching TV with a friend when Romney announced his bid for governor. Her friend said, "He's gonna win," upon seeing him the first time. Her argument? Romney was a good-looking, clean-cut, well-spoken man, and the voters would respond to that. All you had to do was a little digging to find out who and what Romney was, but no one seemed to want to do that, apparently. My friend's friend was apparently right. We'll see if the Massachusetts Democrats can dig up any good-looking candidates...

I've also heard Bay Staters say that they prefer to have a Democratic government with a Republican in charge to keep everything in check. I kind of doubt that. Sure, Massachusetts hasn't had a Democratic governor since... when, 1986? But I'd bet that Massachusetts would vote for a Democratic governor, and it looks as though they're gearing up to do that next year. I have to wonder if Romney's going to keep up with his presidential campaign after that, holding that if [liberal] Massachusetts rejected him, then he's clearly right for [conservative] America.

Name recognition is also a big deal—as well as family political connections. Upon first hearing his name, my mother remembered George Romney, Mitt's father, who was a popular governor of Michigan and a peace candidate in 1968 whose campaign collapsed, paving the way for Richard Nixon (another peace candidate) to win the nomination and thus the election.

In his 1968 presidential campaign announcement, Governor George Romney said, "In the 50 states of our union, we must again claim not state rights but state responsibilities." Like father, unlike son...


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