WBUR

Commentary: A Sad Night For Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Whether you liked him or not, agreed with him or not, wished him well in the presidential contest or not, it was a sad moment to watch former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walk off the national political stage Tuesday night, probably for the last time.

He and his campaign were so confident they’d win. Battleground Ohio would come through, they believed, probably Paul Ryan’s home state Wisconsin would, too, and late gains in Michigan and Pennsylvania would push them out of Obama blueness and into Romney red.

But he lost them all. Even the most pessimistic Republicans thought, before Election Day, that if Romney lost the Electoral College, at least he’d take the popular vote. But the late night count shows that was lost as well. He lost his home state, Massachusetts, by over 20 points. He was defeated in his summer-home state of New Hampshire, and was even whipped in the town where he sleeps, Belmont, Mass.

That’s how thorough the loss was, and that has to be sad for a man who had been running for the presidency for five years, 11 months and three days, since Jan. 3, 2007, when he first announced his candidacy in the 2008 campaign.

Some might argue he’s been running for the White House since his first attempt at public office, his failed 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy.

It has to be sad to have losing campaigns as a family pattern, after all his father George Romney lost his White House bid in 1968 to Richard Nixon. And his mother Lenore lost her U.S. Senate race in 1970.

Following Lenore’s withdrawal speech back then, her opponent called it “the most graceful and really moving concession speech I’ve ever heard.” As a young man, Mitt Romney was very active in his mother’s campaign, so it’s not difficult to imagine his late mother was on his mind last night. And that is sad, too.

Mitt Romney’s speech Tuesday night was instantly branded by pundits as “gracious.”

The on-stage tableau certainly provided a bittersweet moment as Romney was surrounded by his five sons, their wives, many of his 18 grandchildren and, of course, his wife Ann.

And I wondered if for a fleeting moment I saw relief in Romney’s eyes.

It came when Romney thanked his family for their help in his campaign, specifically when he thanked the wives of his sons for carrying on at home during their absences while the men were on the campaign trail.

I imagined that was THE MOMENT when Romney realized that his political life was over, and that he, too, would soon be home.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • Forthill35

    I”m sorry, but after a season of listening to Romney consistently link the words Obama/failure, I do take pleasure in knowing he will now be known as “failed Presidential candidate Romney”

  • Goodriddance

    up yours Mitt

    • Guest

      Yup, all of us New Englanders know an empty suit when we see one. Let this be the end of Gordon Gecko wannabes politicians who think that corporations are people and who do nothing and earn their living by gambling with other peoples money.

      Up yours Mitt indeed

  • NotaxreturnNoPresidency

    What is really sad is that Mitt Romney ran for the highest public office and refused to the American people his full financial background.  I take heart in the fact that the majority of New Englanders saw through that “malarkey”.   You want to be President, come prepared to show us 10 years of tax returns.  I strongly disliked how Mitt kept telling the American people what he thought we should want.  Hey guess what, we are not shareholders in Bain Capital.   Very happy that US citizens saw through this jerk.

  • michele miller

    Not!

  • rfra20

    I think both Obama and Romney are intelligent and capable individuals, however, one had to win and it’s always sad to be on the losing end.  Romney ran a good race, let’s face it a 51/49 (roughly) popular vote breakdown is not exactly a crushing defeat.  I would only hope that this causes an earthquake in the Republican party such that the fringe right wing nuts that have taken over (social “conservatives” and tax policy lunatics) be marginalized.  Had Romney not had to carry this “baggage” through the primaries and election campaign he likely would have won last night.   Here’s to hoping that the next election will have a Republican party that an intelligent and thinking voter can consider as a viable option…

    • Guest

      Lie No. 1: Chrysler’s moving jobs to China. In his
      newest, most cynical lie, Romney is running a heavy volume of TV and
      radio ads telling Ohio auto workers that Chrysler is going to move
      production of Jeeps to China. Chrysler vehemently and swiftly denied it, declaring it has “no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China.”

      In reality, Chrysler is expanding its Jeep production in North
      America, including in Ohio. Its profits have allowed the car maker to
      consider selling Jeeps in China, the world’s largest auto market.

      Romney’s campaign said it saw it in Bloomberg News; The Washington Post discovered
      that a blogger on Bloomberg’s website had written that Fiat, the
      majority owner of Chrysler, was thinking about building Jeeps in China.

      As of this writing, Romney’s false TV and radio spots remain on the air.

      Lie No. 2: He would’ve saved the auto industry.
      Despite writing a column for The New York Times, “Let Detroit Go
      Bankrupt,” Romney’s now telling Ohioans that he would have saved the
      American auto industry through “managed bankruptcy.” Even the
      conservative Detroit News praised President Obama and referred to
      Romney’s “wrong-headedness on the auto bailout… he was wrong in
      suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the
      private markets.”

      Lie No. 3: Ordering the bin Laden raid was a piece of cake.
      Romney said that authorizing the killing of Osama bin Laden was such a
      simple act that “even Jimmy Carter would’ve given that order.” In fact, Obama’s ordering the raid was opposed by his secretary of defense, Vice President Biden and his No. 2 military adviser.

      Intelligence sources were not certain bin Laden was in the compound, a
      short distance from an elite training center for Pakistani army
      officers. One member of Seal Team Six, the team that executed the raid,
      wrote a book about it and said: “Not every president would have ordered
      the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”

      Lie No. 4: No apology tour. “The president began
      what I have called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the
      Middle East and criticizing America,” Romney says often and is parroted
      by Fox News. In December, Michael Cohen, a columnist for Foreign
      Policy’s Election 2012 Channel, called the “apology tour” claim “a lie
      that has been reiterated so often that it has become conventional wisdom
      on the right.”

      In fact,
      in France, Obama criticized Europeans for “not recognizing the good
      that America so often does in the world; there have been times where
      Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.”

      Lie No. 5. Magical tax cuts that cut the deficit. Romney says his tax cut plan
      will not add to the deficit. He plans to lower tax rates by 20 percent
      for everyone, repeal the estate tax and Alternative Minimum Tax, not add
      any new revenue to the system, and not raise taxes on households making
      less than $200,000. Romney’s plan removes $5 trillion from the federal
      treasury while he adds another $2 trillion to the Pentagon budget. He
      argues that his budget will reduce the long-term budget deficit because
      he will close tax loopholes and deductions, although he refuses to say
      which ones and by how much.

      The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed Romney’s proposal and concluded it doesn’t add up. No one outside of Romney headquarters can do the math.

      Lie No. 6: Flat-out false on new jobs. “We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office,” Romney said. This is flat-out false.
      The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Obama has actually created
      a net positive 125,000 jobs; there have been 868,000 jobs created in
      the private sector. The biggest job losses have been in government,
      where Romney wants to make even deeper cuts.

      Lie No 7: Blunt on birth control. “I don’t believe
      employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care
      or not,” Romney said. Back in March, when Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri
      introduced a bill that would allow employers to deny contraceptive
      coverage to employees, Romney said: “Of course I support the Blunt amendment.”

      Lie No. 8: Oily deception. Romney: “Oil production
      is down 14 percent this year on federal land.” Romney cherry-picked 2011
      because drilling on public lands did fall 14 percent, but the Obama
      administration has approved more drilling permits than any previous
      administration. Romney conveniently ignores that drilling went down
      under Bush Jr. and rose under Obama. Romney wants more offshore drilling along the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas.

      Lie No. 9. Energy independence = Hello, more fracking and coal. After saying, as governor, “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he’s now
      a climate change denier. Buoyed by major contributions from Big Oil and
      the Koch brothers, he promises “energy independence” requiring offshore
      drilling for oil (on the East Coast) and repeal of “restrictive”
      environmental safeguards on fracking of natural gas with more chemicals
      in the water supply. Guided by politics, rather than science, he’s for more coal mining (“I love coal!”).

      Lie No. 10: Slippery on Keystone. Romney says the president blocked the Keystone pipeline, depriving Americans of crude oil. In fact,
      Keystone has been carrying oil to an Illinois refinery since 2010. What
      Obama delayed is the Keystone XL extension, designed to carry Canadian
      oil to a deepwater port at Houston, where it could be sold on the world
      market.

      Lie No. 11: Triple flips on immigration. Romney has flipped, flopped and flipped again
      on the 6-7 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. In a 2007 “Meet the
      Press” interview, he said that he supported permanent residency or
      citizenship for the illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., as long as
      there was not a “special pathway” to citizenship. But he hardened into
      an immigration hawk during the recent Republican primaries, calling for
      tough immigration laws that would lead to “self-deportation.”

      In June he refused to say if he’d revoke the president’s executive
      order that allows young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation as long
      as they meet certain standards. With polls show him getting clobbered in
      the Hispanic-American community, Romney now says he supports the Obama policy.

      Lie No. 12: Suddenly for affirmative action. He said
      that when he became governor, he initiated “a concerted effort to go
      out and find women who had backgrounds… to become members of our
      cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us
      find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.” Romney
      did not ask women’s groups for resumes; a nonpartisan coalition of
      women’s groups went to him with names
      of qualified women and insisted that he hire more females. Since when
      did Romney start believing in what Republicans degrade as “affirmative
      action” and “quotas”?

      Lie No. 13: “Refocus” (that is, cut) Pell Grants. “I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing.” It’s simply false.
      Romney and his running mate would cut Pell Grants for about 1 million
      low-income students. Romney has been vague on the issue, using, as The
      Nation’s George Zornick writes, “ominous budget-speak” that he wants to
      “refocus” Pell Grant dollars to “place the program on a responsible
      long-term path,” but VP candidate Paul Ryan’s budget would cut Pell
      Grants.

      Lie No. 14. Failure rate Bain could love. He said “about half of [the green firms the Obama administration invested in] have gone out of business.” He misses this one by a mile.
      The Department of Energy has approved 33 loans worth about $16 billion.
      So far there have been three failures (Solyndra, Beacon and Abound),
      which works out to a failure rate of 9 percent.

      Lie No. 15: The brass of Ryan. Former President Bill Clinton said “it takes some brass” for Romney and Ryan to attack Obama for doing what they’re doing. In fact,
      the $716 billion reduction in Obamacare is a savings from reduced
      payments to hospitals and physicians that were overcharging. Ryan’s plan
      includes the same $716 billion of savings, but he gets it from turning
      Medicare into a voucher and shifting rising health care costs to
      seniors.

      Lie No. 16: ‘Pants On Fire’ on welfare. Romney has
      claimed that Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law.
      “You wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They
      just send you your welfare check,” a Romney ad says. Truth is, Obama
      merely allowed governors to create harder or broader work requirements.
      That was such “a drastic distortion” it earned the “Pants On Fire” (most inflammatory claim) award from the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact website.

      Lie No. 17: Day One as CEO. Romney apparently believes he will be CEO, not president, on his first day in office.
      He has variously promised to approve completion of the Keystone
      Pipeline, without proper environmental impact understanding or emergency
      measures; issue executive orders to halt implementation of the
      Affordable Care Act — that that will go straight to the Supreme Court;
      introduce tax cuts for “job creators,” also known as millionaires and
      billionaires; classify China as a “currency manipulator,” which allows
      him to impose tariffs on Chinese imports that he believes are killing
      U.S jobs — ignoring that China owns a mountain of U.S. debt; reduce the
      deficit; repeal job-killing regulations; and end the Obama era of big
      government. Whew, all in one day.

      • Boggiecruz

        This is all lies you post. your a real piece of work and your sources are false. and you think yours so high and mighty now bashing on romney. lets see how you do in 2 more years you wont have the right to type your thoughts or afford a computer. your so done. dont complain later on down the road where headed for a crisis. that you welcome. 

        • Happy Voter

          your brain is boggie, EVERYTHING said above your spoiler reply is true, and you need to watch something beside Faux news

        • Guest

          I guess you and your buddy Tisei are going to have to “get together” and console each other later on tonight.

        • Upyoursamericantaliban

          Prime example of the American Taliban. Ignorant, illiterate and uneducated and delusional. Cling to your guns and false God because that is all that your feeble mind can deal handle.

  • J__o__h__n

    Romney was gracious in defeat but I only feel a sense of relief that Americans rejected his flawed vision. 

    • Circusmcgurkus

       Romney was not gracious in defeat.  Stephen Douglas was gracious in defeat.  Al Gore was gracious in defeat.  John McCain was gracious in defeat.  Mitt Romney’s speech was the coach of the team the lost the Super Bowl.  He proved to the world that he was not worthy of the job of president.  This is one country, united, indivisible.  We must learn how to work together and celebrate the greatness of our democracy even when, especially when, we disagree.  Mitt Romney did not say that he would work with – and ask his supporters to work with – OUR president as this nation heals and moves FORWARD.  Mitt Romney said that he left it all on the field and “thanks, guys!”  Gracious?  Pathetic.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BABSTAFAWIRAJDHH57IXYY2TCY Leo

    For those who say there is no place for government. If I’m stranded in the middle of an ocean, I’ll take the govt supplied Coast guard. If my house is invaded, I’ll accept govt supplied police. If I can’t afford to send my son to private school, I’ll accept govt supplied education. If a bridge collapses on my street, I’ll accept govt supplied assistance, and if I reach 80 and am unable to care for my self, I’ll accept govt provided health care. And I’m happy to put my share into these programs. Republicans want to cut ALL of these things to allow Milton, the billionaire, to buy his 82nd vacation home. it IS as simple as that. The country spoke with a rational voice last night, and I am grateful for it.

  • Frank_in_Lex

    It is a shame that Mitt could not run as Mitt – a moderate, centrist, reasonable problem solver.  Any non-NE republican is doomed to have to pander to the far right (socially extreme and/or fiscally extreme).    Figure that the GOP had an organized, articulate, plausible candidate with Mitt.  And with a weakened president – the GOP could not close the deal becuase of those extremists. 

    There is no consensus after this election – I am not optimistic on the ability of Obama, a Dem Senate and a Rep House to address the fundamental un balanced tax revenue vs. entitlement expectations:  “do not increase my taxes, do not take away my entitlements.”

  • Circusmcgurkus

    It is very hard to feel badly for Mr. Romney. 

    If he could have created jobs in the last 5 plus years instead of running in a million directions unsure of how to lead as he sought the resume-builder job of president, we might be in a better position economically.  He wanted to be CEO, not to have the rare opportunity to lead the greatest nation on Earth into a brighter future.

    It is not “sad” that he lost in every single place he has ever called home (save Utah for college), it is an indication that he does not reflect the values and the aspirations of progress that we in MA (especially Belmont – thank you Belmont!), NH, MI, and CA all share. 

    Mr. Romney is a fraud.  No one knows what he stands for, what he believes in, why he even wanted to be president.  I wish I believed that this loss would humble him, and I hope it does, but will not hold my breath.  He and the Republican Party should do some self examination right now about what it really means to be an American.  It does not mean waving a flag, it does not mean having more money than anyone else, it does not mean keeping people out when we should really welcome all in, it does not mean depriving anyone of his or her rights to equality and dignity. 

    Being an American we best described by Harold Ickes many years ago – and it is even more true today:

    What constitutes an American? Not color nor race nor religion. Not
    the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence
    of his citizenship. Not his social status nor his bank account. Not his
    trade nor his profession. An American is one who loves justice and believes
    in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom
    and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice property,
    ease and security in order that he and his children may retain the rights
    of free men. An American is one in whose heart is engraved the immortal
    second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.

    Americans have always known how to fight for their rights and their
    way of life. Americans are not afraid to fight. They fight joyously in
    a just cause.

    We Americans know that freedom, like peace, is indivisible. We cannot
    retain our liberty if three-fourths of the world is enslaved. Brutality,
    injustice and slavery, if practiced as dictators would have them, universally
    and systematically, in the long run would destroy us as surely as a fire
    raging in our nearby neighbor’s house would burn ours if we didn’t help
    to put out his.

    • J__o__h__n

      What are you talking about?  Five years of Mitt in the private sector would have meant more layoffs!

      • Circusmcgurkus

         I agree – but the whole point is that people looked to him as a jobs creator – if that was who he was (and as I say, we have no idea who he is or was or will be), then do that and stop telling President Obama that he’s not doing it right.  If he really knows how to create jobs specifically without the help of the government, then he should be creating jobs without anyone’s help.  Or, as another poster has said, build an Opera House or fund a Public Library like the great 19th Century “robber barons” did because that creates jobs, too, and increases knowledge, awareness, appreciation of the arts, etc.

        Mr. Romney has 5 boys.  5.  All of whom came of age around 9/11/01 when we faced our most frightening national event.  Not one of these men has ever served his country in any capacity (and I do not mean necessarily in the military; there are many ways to serve).  So, pretending to carry on a tradition of his (really kind and good and noble – this is no joke) father’s legacy of public service is another lie.  As others have said, he is allergic to the truth. 

        I stand in awe and admiration and grateful to this nation for seeing through it all.  I like Bob Oakes, but this commentary was over the top.

  • GSHHHH

    For Romney, being president was never a means to an end, it was an end unto itself. He believed that because of his social position it was his right and manifest destiny to hold the title.  A hundred and fifty years ago, when guys like got bored with being the social creme de la creme and captains of industry, having succeeded at everything they put their hand to thanks to doors being opened for them from birth, they went off to expore jungles or invent things or build opera houses. They didn’t go into politics. their boarding school classmates who already ran the country were looking out for their interests. Romney is just one more guy born on third bases who thinks he hit a home run in life. Just like GW Bush, probably some compulsion to both gain approval from and compete with his father.  Romney’s attitude toward  those beneath him socially as expressed in his 47% comment reminded me of Barbara Bush’s inadvertent  honesty during Katrina when she commented that the newly-homeless hurricane victims being housed in hotels around Houston – uncomfortably close to her her and her husband -  should be grateful for their new, more hygenic living quarters, the implication being they probably lived in squalor anyway. Romney, like Mrs Bush, lives in his own world. Now maybe he’ll stay there and stop bothering the rest of us.

  • GSHHHH

    I always wondered why Romney, a self-proclaimed “sever conservative,” chose to enter politics in Massacchusetts, maybe the most lioberal state in the country. Couldn’t he have run for something in Michigan, New Hampshire, or California, all places he owns a home, and all more welcoming to the political philosophy he claimed to hold for all except the last few weeks of his campaign?  More boadly, I’m puzzled by people who want to go to the effort of getting elected to public office when they are claiming that government is The Problem, needs to be dismantled, most things need to be privatized. Seems like applying for a job  on Titanic when you know it’s going to sink.   

  • Suezenne

    Theree appears to be irregularities in Fla, Ohio and Penn in the vote counting…. If the attys find there are can Mitt take back his concession to Obama?

    • Kathy

       I don’t know, but I hope so.

Most Popular