Monday, January 20, 2014

In New Film, a Dramatic Look at Mitt Romney’s Loss of Confidence. By Byron York.

In new film, a dramatic look at Mitt Romney’s loss of confidence. By Byron York. Washington Examiner, January 19, 2014.


As defeat settled in, Romney discussed what to say in a concession speech — which, for all his natural pessimism, Romney had not considered ahead of time. And it was in that moment that some of Romney’s passion about the race finally came out, far from the view of voters and television cameras. Stevens suggested that the losing candidate should play an almost “pastoral” role, “soothing” the American people after a long and divisive campaign.
“I don't think it is a time for soothing and everything’s fine,” said Romney. “I think this is a time for [saying], ‘This is really serious, guys. This is really serious.’”
“To get up and soothe is not my inclination,” an obviously anguished Romney continued. “I cannot believe that [Obama] is an aberration in the country. I believe we’re following the same path of every other great nation, which is we’re following greater government, tax rich people, promise more stuff to everybody, borrow until you go over a cliff. And I think we have a very high risk of reaching the tipping point sometime in the next five years. And the idea of saying ‘it’s just fine, don’t worry about it’ – no, it’s really not.”
Given what has come before it in the film — Romney’s defeatism in the debates — the scene leaves the impression that perhaps in his heart of hearts Romney never really believed he could win. That also seems the message of one of the last scenes of “Mitt,” the day after the election, when Romney addressed staff at his Boston campaign headquarters. The old lack of confidence came out again as Romney suggested he never felt comfortable in the race. He passed on something someone at headquarters had told him: “In some ways, we kind of had to steal the Republican nomination. Our party is Southern, evangelical and populist. And you’re Northern, and you’re Mormon, and you’re rich. And these do not match well with our party.”
A candidate who did not believe he could beat the president in debate, who always felt second-best to his father, who believed the country was moving away from him, and who didn’t even feel at home in his own party. The Romney campaign faced many uphill battles in the 2012 campaign. “Mitt” shows us that some of the most intense were in the candidate’s mind.