Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has concluded that Mitt Romney has a major problem. His great success, which surpasses his parents’ success, would be a disappointment to his mom and dad:
The last week has brought two insightful profiles of Mitt Romney’s parents, offering an implicit, and disappointing, contrast with their more successful son.
As Ruth Marcus wouldn’t have voted for Mitt’s parents either, it’s hard to believe she’s really disappointed that Mitt’s become more right-wing in the context that he’s turning his back on his heritage. Beware liberals bearing concern for conservatives, as the only reason liberals wish for the lovable losers known as moderate Republicans is so they can more plausibly define the political center even further left. This context is the paradigm of every liberal version of history, whether the liberals making the complaint are doing so in 1962 or in 2012:
The tale of two generations of Romneys in politics is, of course, a parallel story of the changing ideology of the Republican Party and its relentless shift rightward.
The ‘of course’ clause is a nice touch. Republicans becoming more extreme and deranged is as tried and true a ‘scientific consensus’ as man-made global warming. What other lens is there through which to see every aspect of life than through the ever-expanding aggression of the right wing machine?
This next point in the sad tale of Mitt’s parental betrayal is tough to rope into any logical framework outside the liberal prism that gave it birth:
Here is the telling difference, and the sad, perhaps inevitable, trajectory of any political dynasty, from idealism to expediency. George Romney railed — indeed, he battled — against what he saw happening. Mitt Romney has adapted to it.
It’s modern day Hamlet, but instead of Romney falling on the right wing’s poisoned sword, he’s chosen to yuck it up with the royalty who destroyed his father to advance his own ends. Oh fiendish traitor!
Next, with allegorical flair, Marcus describes the Obama experience in the guise of the Romney family:
If the scars of this political battle led Mitt Romney to the conclusion that it is better to join the machine than rage against it, he would not be the first political son to do so.
For George W. Bush, the enduring lesson of his father’s losing re-election bid was to shrink from any repeat of George H.W. Bush’s finest moment — the elder Bush’s willingness to renounce his “read my lips” no-tax pledge in the interest of fiscal prudence.
Broken promises are a president’s finest moment. Sounds familiar…
George Romney’s virtue, and perhaps his downfall, was his bullheaded willfulness. “Messianic” was one aide’s description.
Messianic, too? Whoa…
As governor, he fought to institute a state income tax and to broaden civil rights protection. At the launch of the 1968 campaign, Romney insisted on a tour of American inner cities that featured a meeting with community organizer Saul Alinsky.
A fan of Alinsky? Now this is just getting weird.
When he resigned as Nixon’s housing secretary, Romney assailed timid politicians who “avoid specific positions . . . for fear of offending uninformed voters.” Sound familiar?
Yes! Yes, it does! Just like Obama! Oh…still talking about a Romney?
Marcus goes on to discuss Romney’s mother and her failed Senate campaign, before finishing with one last Obama, er…Romney mention:
“So many of our senators sometimes become so caught up in the political situation that their answer is made politically before the issue is even brought up,” Mitt Romney lamented during her Senate campaign.
Young Mitt saw that as a critique of politics. For Adult Mitt, it has been a template for success.
Mitt could have written his own memoir, Dreams from my Mother. If only he had the Audacity of Hope to do it.