As Mitt Romney desperately seeks to win the Michigan primary invoking the memory of his father with glossy TV ads it is relevant to consider the bolder and more progressive man George Romney was. As a businessman his success rested on the pursuit of more fuel-efficient cars. He was a Republican governor who dared to give his state’s public workers collective bargaining rights for the first time ever. He was a man who saw the need to create a state income tax to provide benefits for Michigan’s least fortunate. And he fearlessly opposed the rise of right wing ideology within his own party.
But if he makes it to the general election, being more like his Dad would attract independents.
The contrast between father and son reveals less about Mitt Romney’s state of mind than it does about America’s. If Mitt has a tin ear for the concerns of the needy, if he goes along with the rightward turn of his party, he is simply mirroring the disturbing transformations of American business and politics in recent decades. In his public and private careers, the younger Romney has emulated the retreat of corporate elites and the Republican Party from the model of economic partnership and cross-party compromise that the elder Romney exemplified. At a moment when America needs both business innovation and effective oversight, vigorous growth as well as economic fairness, we would be better off with George, rather than Mitt, in the White House. — Jacob S. Hacker, Yale professor, and Paul Pierson, University of California at Berkeley professor (The Cap Times)
Or Is He?
In this pivotal interview George Romney’s confusing reservations and reversal about Viet Nam policy essentially ended his chances for the 1968 presidential campaign …