Mitt Romney is not a perfect man, but he is an impressive leader. I really enjoyed reading a new biography about Mitt Romney called The Real Romney by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman. This was a thorough and excellent biography. I learned a lot about Mitt Romney that you can’t discover from sound bites in a debate, or an edited story from the media.
Here are some interesting things I learned about Governor Romney:
1. He had a special relationship with his father George Romney, who was a high-profile CEO for the American Motor Company, governor of Michigan (1963-1969) and Presidential candidate in 1964. This gave Mitt Romney unique access to a culture of leadership.
2. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has deep, deep roots. His ancestors were part of Mormon leadership at the highest levels at the religion’s early years, and Mitt has followed in their footsteps. After a wedding to his only wife Ann in Michigan, he had an additional wedding in the Salt Lake City temple that only other Mormons could attend (Ann’s parents were excluded from the temple). He was at the highest level of leadership in the Mormon church of Massachusetts, functioning as a bishop in the state church.
I found this passage from the book fascinating:
As bishop, Romney was intimately involved in families’ lives, counseling and guiding them through marital problems, illness, unemployment, and other struggles. He orchestrated church efforts to help the needy within the congregation. He led lessons on scripture and delivered sermons on Sundays. And he interviewed members to determine their fitness to enter the sacred Mormon temple outside Washington, D.C. (Kranish, Michael; Helman, Scott (2012-01-10). The Real Romney (p. 117). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)
Mitt Romney is not just a Mormon, he was a Mormon pastor! I find this a very underreported fact. However, as an earlier post indicated, I don’t see any reason a Christian shouldn’t vote for a Mormon.
3. Despite the Mormon’s church late adaptation to the Civil Rights movement, Mitt’s father George was a champion of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. “The elder Romney would make headlines by walking out on nominee Barry Goldwater because of Goldwater’s opposition to civil rights legislation.” Mitt Romney’s family example seems to be stronger than his religion’s late response to modern racial views.
4. Mitt is truly a family man. Married for 43 years, with not hint of scandal. He raised five boys who all seem to be successful family men themselves. (This is a good place for me to note how impressed I am with Barak Obama’s apparent devotion to his wife and children). Both of the candidates in 2012 seem to have great family values in their personal conduct.
5. Mitt built his extensive wealth, he did not inherit it. He used his educational advantages to advance in the corporate word. As the leader of Bain Capital, he made tough decisions that made companies profitable.
6. Despite his strong opposition to what is called “Obama-care,” Mitt Romney was very proud of being the architect of the Massachusetts health care plan when he left the governor’s office. Ironically, the Massachusetts law modeled the concept of the individual mandate. As a problem solver, Romney wanted to find a solution no one else could solve when he tackled the health care issue. His success in passing this legislation in Massachusetts inspired the plan he now opposes. The irony is so thick. Regardless of your opinion on the current federal health care law, the passing of the Massachusetts health care law in 2006 shows that Romney has strong governing skills.
7. Romney doesn’t appear to have great populist skills. He’s not a chummy, next-door neighbor kind of guy. But, he’s a leader who takes on tough issues and finds solutions. Even Bill Clinton admitted Romney is qualified to be a president.
I’m looking forward to the whole process between now and November 5.