The post-mortem of a failed presidential campaign is always good fun. Immediately after the election, and sometimes before then if it’s clear where things are headed, those in the campaign start shuffling for position outside of the blame spotlight, pushing each other under a series of buses. But the Boston Globe’s analysis of the campaign contains this jaw-dropping statement:
More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.
“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”
Now I’m sure Tagg loves his father and thinks well of him. I’m sure he wants to help make Mitt seem entirely selfless and motivated only by the desire to serve others, but this is so absurd as to be delusional. This “I didn’t want to run but I was the only one who could do it” pose is intended to sound selfless and principled, but it is anything but. It’s a ridiculous figure to attempt to strike under the best of circumstances, but can only provoke snickers and laughter when said of a person who appears to hold only one single belief his entire being — that he should have been president.
The spectacle of Romney’s campaign was not one of a great man being reluctantly thrust into the spotlight to do what only he could, it is of a man who would do or say anything if it helped him gain the presidency. There was not a single idea in his entire political life that one could say he actually believes in other than his own superiority as a leader. This was not a man being forced into running for president by circumstance; this is a man who wanted desperately to be president and was willing to do or say anything to make that happen.
There’s spin. There’s making oneself look good. And then there’s just plain living in a fantasy world.