Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ann Romney’s desperate family drama

(Note: This blog believes the candidates' wives should not be “off limits.” Unlike policy positions, Mitt Romney doesn’t switch wives. What his wife thinks and chooses to say are helpful in figuring out who he really is. Certainly, she is as revealing as the politician he eventually picks as his running mate.)
Three times over the last week—to Republican audiences and, once, on national television—Ann Romney has repeated the following story about their big decision.
“I said I only want to know one thing and that is, Mitt, if you get the nomination … can you fix it? I need to know, is it too late?”
“Has America gone over the proverbial cliff and we don’t have time to turn things around. I need to know whether it’s worth all this … He said no, it’s getting late, but it’s not too late. And with that I said, that’s all I need to know … if you can fix it, you must do this.”

Click on:
Ann Romney could have been confused about the “proverbial cliff” the first time she told the story. After all, she’s only her husband’s principal advisor on labor markets.
Mitt could have been talking about Greece. Alternatively, the whole conversation could have taken place four years earlier—before the financial crash of 2008 rather than during the slow recovery on Obama’s watch. Yet her speech text remained unaltered through the week.
Still, even after correcting the dates, doesn’t the entire conversation seem false and just too precious? Like a bible story pasted up on green felt?  
You could imagine Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, or, say, Abe Lincoln choosing to reply: “Yes, it may be too late for America, but I can’t hang around here for the rest of my life.”
But could you imagine Michelle asking Barack Obama—in the midst of the Iraq War and during the financial collapse of 2008—whether the US presidency was worth all the bother?
Finally, doesn’t the image of that ghastly cliff clash slightly with the promise of an across-the-board 20 per cent income tax cut?
The story could work, however, as a joke. When two Republican empty-nesters have a family talk about whether it’s too late for the husband to fix it, it’s rarely about a debilitating Democratic in the White House.
Romney has taken on new writers; he'd better be careful.

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