Dear Mitt Romney,
Before you fade into the sunset, a few final thoughts seem fitting and proper before we turn our attention to the serious problems facing this great country.
You are a much better person than the man who was so wrongly depicted during the presidential campaign. Most Americans never got to know the real Mitt Romney. Some of your finer qualities emerged during the first presidential debate, but it was too late to correct a false image of you so effectively created by President Obama, the Democratic Party and some of your Republican challengers for the GOP nomination.
Beth Reinhard said in a National Journal story, “Elected on hope in a season of despair, President Obama won his first term by being the right guy at the right time. He won his second term making Mitt Romney the wrong guy.”
While you were fighting to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Reinhard said an extremely effective media blitz by the Democratic opposition made your wealth and successful business career a liability rather than an asset. Even your Republican primary opponents used your wealth and social status to bash your ability to identify with the problems of ordinary Americans.
Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, wasn’t as nice as Reinhard. He said, “Obama won by thoroughly and completely trashing Mitt Romney and his reputation. It is the classic definition of winning ugly.”
In fairness, it should be noted that you made some serious mistakes and missed golden opportunities to correct many of the false impressions of your past and your business successes. Perhaps your worst blunder was the statement that 47 percent of Americans were looking for a handout, which Obama and MSNBC-TV talked about repeatedly and which became the subject of a book.
The primary campaign also damaged you permanently when you talked about self-deportation of illegal immigrants. It helped Obama receive over 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. Fawn Johnson talked about that in another National Journal story.
“Sixty percent of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented and 90 percent of them have parents or grandparents who emigrated from another country…,” Johnson said. “It (self-deportation) referred to their parents, their aunts and uncles, or their boyfriends and girlfriends.”
You said you would continue the president’s policy of deferring deportations of some young illegal immigrants, but it was too late to improve your standing in the Latino community.
Your party was not your strongest asset, and shame on its conservative wing that never fully embraced your candidacy. In order to secure its backing, you were forced to take unpopular stands on immigration and women’s issues that cost you dearly on Election Day. And when your true beliefs emerged after you got the nomination, you were branded a flipflopper.
We never had an opportunity to hear about your many unselfish and caring acts over a lifetime of civic and public service. And maybe that is because your Mormon faith discourages self-promotion. However, we wish you would have responded to the false charges.
Obama made you out to be someone who was only interested in enhancing his own prosperity. We heard about the plants that were closed by Bain Capital when you were a company official and the people who were laid off as a result. But we were never told about those businesses and jobs that were saved by Bain Capital when all of them might have had to close their doors.
The opposition criticized you for failing to give the voters details about your agenda, but Obama didn’t offer an agenda either until days before the election. And even that was just so much colorful fluff.
The cold, hard fact is many voters don’t want to hear the real truth because it would require individual sacrifices they aren’t prepared to make. You and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, your running mate, took a lot of heat over your calls for a Medicare solution. The health care program needs to be fixed, but a majority says leave Medicare alone.
The main purpose of this letter, Mr. Romney, is to let you know there are over 62 million people in this country who still believe you have the ability, intellect, proven track record and impeccable character that would serve this country well. Unfortunately, 65 million other Americans decided to go in a different direction.
We respect the decision of the majority and hope President Obama — and Congress — over the next four years can deliver what they didn’t accomplish over the last four years. The country desperately needs bipartisan leadership in order to solve our debt and employment problems and to restore our status as a leader of nations.
Meanwhile, our prayers and best wishes go with you and your family. Please continue to work for your country’s best interests. The United States of America needs the talents of men like you who have faith and who are dedicated to putting the welfare of the country above their own.
Thanks for the time and energy you gave to the campaign. We know your main goal was to serve your country as you have done so many times in the past. You didn’t win, but getting to know you has been a rewarding and inspirational experience. May God’s blessings go with you.
Jim Beam, the retired editor of the Lake Charles American Press, has covered people and politics for more than five decades. Contact him at 337-494-4025 or [email protected].