Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bishop Romney: "Severely" Conservative?

After Santorum's big wins last Tuesday, Romney came out with some very personal stories. It may have been calculated in an attempt to "humanize" him a little more. And I found it perfectly credible and sincere. As reported by CBS News:
"In my church, we don't have a professional ministry, and so people are asked to serve as the minister or the pastor of the congregation from time to time, and I had that privilege for, I think, over ten years," he said. "And in that capacity I had a chance to work with people who lost their jobs, in some cases, or were facing other financial distress, losing their homes and I found that those kinds of circumstances were not just about money or numbers, they were about lives and about emotions.
"Sometimes marriages suffered, sometimes people became depressed, clinically depressed, being out of work for a long time is a real threat, a real threat and challenge to human happiness. . . .
I think that was accurate and honest. I have a basis to judge as I was also a Mormon Bishop. And I worked with a lot of people with a lot of different types of problems. That was an enriching experience in my life hoping forever that I was able to help the people I served in some real way. I have no reason to doubt that it was any different for Romney.

This is even appropriate to consider as his personal humanity, even dealing with religious beliefs and practices, is expressed in non-sectarian and non-partisan terms. I even had a similar experience in that kind of expression when I was bishop and applying for a promotion at work. My second-line, non-Mormon boss who was interviewing me for a position that included management responsibilities said to me, "In your church work haven't you developed some experience in those areas?" On the spot, but quick thinking attorney that I am, I explained in secular terms what I had experienced as bishop managing people and supervising budgets. And I don't think there is anything wrong, even in the federal government, expressing real things in the appropriate context like that. I got the job.

So, while we get a glimpse of what is the real, true Romney, why is it so troubling? He appears to have a good heart. I actually think he could be a competent President. If he were to win, I would hope he would turn to his true competencies and good heart - a heart that I think is a lot more moderate to progressive in the cast of his father, than he allows himself to admit in this Republican Primary season.

He is trying too hard. It was almost worse in 2008 when he appeared to be trying to win the support of the Republican, or at least "W" Republican, establishment doubling down on torture, executive war power, the Iraq War and anti-Islamist rhetoric. There's still a lot of that this time around too.

This attempt at "trying too hard" came out at his CPAC address yesterday. He apparently departed from his prepared remarks on the tele-prompter as reported by the National Review:
“I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor,” Romney said at CPAC. The “severely” was not included in the prepared remarks his campaign sent out.
I wish I were a professionally skilled psychological profiler. But that odd "severely" attached to "conservative" must tell us something. I think he's trying way too hard.

Same day:
And, wrapping up CPAC, Sarah Palin calls on Romney to "work harder" to deserve the conservative vote. I guess he has to be severely more severe even if Sarah doesn't know what "severely" means either.

And Molly Ball of the Atlantic adds this about Palin:
She did, however, call for the nominee to be a "passionate" conservative, in what sounded, to those accustomed to reading between Palin lines, like a jab at Romney. 
Great. Now Sarah is stealing my lines . . . .

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