Sunday, November 25, 2007

Romney's Perfection

Does Mitt Romney appear too perfect? The Los Angeles Times suggests the answer is yes:

Mitt Romney arrives at his campaign headquarters here 10 minutes early, a knife-blade crease in his khakis, winter tan, lots of hair, all of it in place. He skips the coffee and doughnuts in favor of skim milk and the home-baked granola sent along in a zip-lock baggie by his wife. That's Ann, his high school sweetheart -- the mother of his five handsome sons -- with whom he says he has never had a serious argument in 38 years of marriage.

[. . .]

Romney's life looks like a photo album of the American dream: two homes, one in a posh Boston suburb and the other on a New Hampshire lakeside; four cars (he drives a red Mustang, Ann a Cadillac SUV); a friendly dog, big Christmases, church every Sunday, meaningful family discussions (Web viewers can watch as the Romneys gather on the sofa to ponder his run for president). If he has a vice, it's chocolate malts.

At the same time, his glide path was remarkably free of hardship, not the Horatio Alger story Americans sometimes warm to in a candidate. The son of Michigan governor and former American Motors Corp. Chairman George Romney, Willard Mitt Romney was born into privilege, raised in a devout Mormon home and educated at Harvard. He made a fortune in business and then entered politics, just like his dad. His first real tragedy was his wife's 1998 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, which he calls the worst day of his life. (Her illness is in remission.)

Romney runs his campaign operation like the business executive he was: disciplined, on message and on time -- often early.
Romney's not perfect, but his storybook personal life could backfire on his presidential campaign. I hear many people refer to Romney's presidential appearance as "too slick." According to the Times, when Rudy Giuliani warned voters this week to beware "this pretense of perfection," he mentioned Democratic candidate Barack Obama's acknowledgment of past drug use, but he was really aiming at Romney's picture-perfect past.

As Giuliani implies we don't need a paragon of virtue for president, but I like the fact that there are no Clintonesque scandals in Romneys past.

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