Why I Like (George) Romney

December 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm | 33 Comments |

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With the race for the Republican Presidential nomination now seemingly down to two candidates – Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney – suddenly Romney is in the uncharacteristic role of underdog.

Astonishingly (to me), polls show Gingrich some 10 points ahead of Romney in the upcoming Iowa primary; 8.6 points ahead in South Carolina; 16.5 ahead in Florida. In New Hampshire. Romney leads by 16.5 points. Nationally, Real Clear Politics has Gingrich leading Romney by 6.2 points.

Of course, all this may change by next summer, but it’s still puzzling to those who wonder how Gingrich can be a serious contender with the baggage he carries, including condemnation for unethical behaviour and lying.

Apart from being impressed with what seems a class act by Mitt Romney, I have fond memories of his father. George Romney was CEO of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, and a Republican candidate for President in 1968, but was edged by Richard Nixon.

Here’s why I have warm feelings about Romney.

In 1954, after being discharged from the army, I had gone back to the University of B.C. to complete the final year for a degree. Tuition was paid by Veterans Affair, and residence at Acadia Camp consumed the $60 a month I got in allowances. I had saved enough to buy a car – $1,500 for a snappy, new, two-seat Nash Metropolitan convertible, made by American Motors.

I was delighted with the car. The first I’d owned since buying a 1934 Chev Roadster as a teenager during the war ($75), and before that a 1927 McLaughlin Buick ($25).

After a month, I noticed the panel inside the left door of the Metropolitan had come unstuck. I went back to the dealer, who said the warranty didn’t cover the inside door panel, and tough bananas kid.

It was around the time when I’d written a letter to J. Edgar Hoover, enquiring about becoming an FBI agent. I got a gracious response from that strange man (whose foibles weren’t well known in those days) brushing me off, and suggesting the RCMP.

His courteous response persuaded me to write to George Romney, then CEO of American Motors in Detroit. I explained in the letter  that I had returned from the Korean war, that I was back to school, that I didn’t have much money but really admired the Metropolitan I’d purchased, but that the door paneling was defective and the car company said the warranty didn’t cover such damage.

I wrote that I didn’t think he, Mr. Romney, would want a customer treated as I had been treated. I didn’t blame him if he couldn’t do anything. I was still an admirer of American Motors products. I just wanted him to know a poor student’s plight.

A couple of weeks later, I got a message to phone the car dealer.

The car dealer had heard from Detroit, and not only was the whole businesses a misunderstanding but they wanted to repair my car, and would I accept a courtesy car as replacement until mine was fit to return — and don’t worry, keep it as long as is convenient. So sorry for the misunderstanding!

I was dazzled. I kept the courtesy for a week, and the Metropolitan was returned – with a full tank of gasoline too!

Is it any wonder I wanted Romney to win the 1968 Republican nomination?

And now his son is after the job. Being his father’s son is good enough for me – even though the Nash Metropolitan is long gone, now replaced by a Subaru.

Recent Posts by Peter Worthington



33 Comments so far ↓

  • Ray_Harwick

    still puzzling to those who wonder how Gingrich can be a serious contender with the baggage he carries, including condemnation for unethical behaviour and lying.

    You’re doing a fine job of alerting people Mr. W. Pelosi promices to fill in the blanks.

  • JohnMcC

    Don’t we all wish corporations could be counted on to behave that way today! Wonder how a similar letter to Bain Capital would’ve turned out?

    • LFC

      (Let’s have an “answer this letter as Mitt Romney” contest!)

      Dear Mr. Romney,

      Your company bought the company I work for, but had no obvious reason for doing so since you don’t make anything. You then tore it apart, offshored major parts of the jobs it provided, and sold it off. I am now without a job and desperately need one. Can you help me?

      Sincerely,
      PW

    • sweatyb

      If you’re treated poorly by a company, write a letter. As in this case, most companies will automatically attempt to assuage your anger by bribing you. It’s pretty standard PR stuff and most large companies budget for it.

      It’s sad that this is held out as the apex of corporate good behavior.

      Personally, I think we could hold corporations to a slightly higher standard than paying off the people they crap on. Like maybe they could not to crap on us.

      Ideally, corporations should treat their customers and their communities with respect and honor their commitments proactively and forthrightly. But that’s just socialist talk. Real Americans know that corporations were created by God to have one responsibility: to make money no matter what.

  • ottovbvs

    After the rain comes the sun. First trash Newt and then I love Mittens.

    I love Mittens in the Springtime
    I love Mittens in the Fall
    I love Mittens, I love Mittens
    I love Mittens most of all.

    (a late edit they’ve slipped in George!)

  • TerryF98

    PPP latest poll.

    Q: If the candidates for President next year were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican

    Newt Gingrich, who would you vote for?
    Barack Obama: 50 (49)
    Newt Gingrich: 42 (43)
    Undecided: 8 (8)

  • adamcarralejo

    “… polls show Gingrich some 10 points ahead of Romney in the upcoming Iowa primary; 8.6 points ahead in South Carolina; 16.5 ahead in Florida. In New Hampshire. Romney leads by 16.5 points. Nationally, Real Clear Politics has Gingrich leading Romney by 6.2 points.

    Of course, all this may change by next summer…”

    You do know that the Iowa/NH/SC/Florida will all be done by January 31? All but 6 states will be done by May? next summer???

    • Graychin

      I believe that with a strong showing by Ron Paul in the primaries, it’s possible that no candidate will have the nomination locked up before the convention.

      Then the deadlocked convention dumps Romney and Gingrich, and with these losers gone turns its lonely eyes to….

      A Jeb Bush / Chris Christie ticket?

      • chephren

        No. Not after W. No more Bushes. Anybody but. They’ve had their kick at the can. They’re done.

        No Jeb, no slick young George P., no smarty-pants Pierce. Begone.

    • SteveT

      Adam:

      I was going to write the same thing except add this: “David Frum is the only writer on his site who can WRITE”. Either pay better writers or write everything yourself, David.

  • armstp

    “Why I Like (George) Romney”

    because he looks like you?

    Come on Peter! Have you not been paying attention. It is perfectly understandable why Gingrich is on top with this GOP.

    So you got your car fixed in 1954 because you wrote a letter to Romney Senior who likely never even saw the letter and that is your reason for voting for Mitt Romney. Typical senior citizen. Votes on emotion and not on what actually makes the most sense. If you were an American senior citizen would you not worry about what the Republicans could do to your Medicare and Social Security. Oh, I forgot they will exempt today’s seniors from any cuts to social programs and put all the debt of the seniors on the younger generation, but heck you got your car fixed in 1954.

    • rbottoms

      Ouucch!

      And oh snap too!

      Why not vote for him because you like his aftershave?

    • Graychin

      George Romney is just the sort of wishy-washy, ethical CEO whose company would have ripe for picking by Bain Capital.

      Under Bain management, there’s no way AMC could have sustained such an enlightened warranty policy. Think of the quarterly earnings per share!

  • Carney

    Nice story.

    But George Romney never retracted or apologized for turning his coat on his country on Vietnam, not even for his especially despicable remark that Americans in uniform had subjected him to a “brainwashing” – an actual form of unspeakable torture that destroyed the minds of actual American POWs in Korea.

    Nor am I all that wild about the other things the elder Romney is praised for – walking out on Goldwater in the 1964 convention, and supporting not merely a requirement that all levels of government treat people fairly without regard to race (which is fine), but that PRIVATE individuals and institutions have their freedom of association violated by racial moralists in government.

    • Graychin

      So instead of George Romney in 1968, we got Nixon.

      Well done, Carney!

      “Racial moralists in government”? Great followup comment after your dissertation yesterday on racial IQ.

    • rbottoms

      Nor am I all that wild about the other things the elder Romney is praised for – walking out on Goldwater in the 1964 convention, and supporting not merely a requirement that all levels of government treat people fairly without regard to race (which is fine), but that PRIVATE individuals and institutions have their freedom of association violated by racial moralists in government.

      You mean I have to sit next to n*ggers where I eat and drink too?

      • Carney

        What kind of person forces his way in at gunpoint onto private property, on into a party or business transaction, or into a job, to which he was not invited?

        • Graychin

          Are you advocating gun control? :D

          Seriously, I hope you aren’t arguing for re-segregated restaurants and motels (remember Lester Maddox?), and supporting those who would refuse to hire those damn n*****s, just because he doesn’t like them.

          Is that what you advocate?

    • Candy83

      George Romney made the correct decision back in 1964.

    • John Q

      his especially despicable remark that Americans in uniform had subjected him to a “brainwashing”

      Oh, come on, Carney: he meant that he’d been given a snow job by our guys in Vietnam – as the press finally realized they’d been given all along when they began referring to the weekly briefings as the Friday Follies.

      I did enjoy Eugene McCarthy’s comment on Romney’s report of his “brainwashing” : “In his case, a light rinse would have been sufficient.”

  • Nanotek

    “… it’s still puzzling to those who wonder how Gingrich can be a serious contender with the baggage he carries, including condemnation for unethical behaviour and lying.”

    really? “… of all the men we know they are most conspicuous in considering what is agreeable honorable, and what is expedient just.” Melian Dialogue

  • Nanotek

    “Being his father’s son is good enough for me ”

    didn’t the Romans proclaim that when they cheered Caligula?

  • Fastball

    George Romney was a class act and would have made a fine president … a man of competence, integrity, and good morals. Had Geo. Romney been elected president in 1968, there wouldn’t have been a Watergate scandal and perhaps we would have been spared Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

  • midwest guy

    Recent history has proven that sons (as in George W.) do not always carry the same moral, ethical, or work standards held by the father (George H.W.). I would respectfully suggest that Mitt may not carry the same standards as George, either.

  • ottovbvs

    Trust me Bain Capital laid off far more people than they ever created jobs. That’s how private equity firms function.

  • TerryF98

    All your heroes are dead, Romney, St Ronny.

    Just face it today’s Republicans suck.

  • gclarke

    Always enjoy your work Peter. Thank you.
    But a Subaru?

  • valkayec

    Sir, no matter how well you think of George Romney, his son must be evaluated on his own merit. After all, Mitt is not his father, and to vote for him because you liked his father is to throw away your reasoning prowess, intellectual discerning, and your vote. Surely, you can do better in your argumentative reasons for voting for Romney.

    (BTW, voting for Gingrich is destructive for far too many reasons to delineate here.)

    • Graychin

      Next these guys will be promoting Meagan McCain for president.

      Hey – look how well the Hereditary Presidency worked out for us already – it gave us George W. Bush!

  • nhthinker

    Speaking of lineage as it relates to Presidents/Candidates…

    Why in god’s name does MSNBC still have Ronny Reagan as a “pundit”?
    He certainly does not help the Left’s cause.