"His religion isn’t the issue--he’s the issue...At some point you need to be honest about who you are. He has an authenticity problem. People don’t get him. They don’t feel that they know the guy."- Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America [1]

Willard Mitt "Romney" Romney (born March 12, 1947) was a candidate for the God, Guns, and Gays Party nomination in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, and is running again, this time as the near-certain nominee, in 2012. He served as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

One of Romney's claims to fame was saving the Salt Lake City Olympics from rampant corruption.[2] However, he is probably most notable for his perfect[3] hair.

Many Republicans consider him to be a RINO.[4] Romney is a man of deep conviction who holds fast to his principles unless it is convenient to abandon them, leading The Economist to characterize him as "several vertebrae short of a backbone."[5]

What is certain is that Romney is consumed with a lust for power.


Romney's membership in the Mormon Church has been an element of controversy in the run-up to both the 2008 and 2012 primaries, and his faith could be a substantial handicap to his candidacy, as 22% of Americans say they would not vote for a Mormon as president (though JFK was elected despite similar opposition to Catholicism at the time).[6] The critical question for Romney and the Republican Party may boil down to that of what proportion of Republicans would prefer a comfortable chair in front of a television rather than go out and vote for a Mormon?[7]

He avoided the Vietnam draft for several years through studying and Mormon missionary work.[8]

As a political grandstander, he has been firm in pointing out that in the West, "marriage" has meant "one man and one woman" for over two thousand years, not just since 1890 when the Mormon church leaders caved before the U.S. government seizure of all their property experienced a divine revelation and gave up polygamy.

Despite being a Mormon, he has had fewer wives than Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, or Rudolph Giuliani, as he has only married one woman.[9]

2008 campaign

In 2008, Romney attempted to woo social conservatives by running as a right winger, a significant departure from the moderate positions which he held during his days in Massachusetts. He flip-flopped on abortion, gun control and a whole lot of other hot-button issues (see below).[10][11] He claimed that he'd seen his father march with Martin Luther King, when it could be proved that both of them had been in different places at the time. That earned him the coveted "Pinocchio Award" for truthfulness lying from the Washington Post.[12][13][14] He also wanted to show everyone how tough he is by doubling the size of the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Romney's 2008 campaign was surprisingly free of personal scandals and embarrassing revelations. The only notable mini-scandal it yielded involved one of Romney's senior aides, Director of Communications Jay Garrity, who took a peculiar approach to handling the press: he and a few other campaign workers dressed up as policemen and used fake badges to order reporters away from events and avoid highway tolls.[15][16]

Mitt Romney eventually ended suspended his campaign on February 7, 2008 after seeing his results in the Super Tuesday primaries, saying that him staying in the race "would make it easier for Senator Clinton or Senator Barack Obama to win" and that his campaign would "be a part of aiding surrender to terror."[17] After that he endorsed John McCain on February 14 (mmm... Valentine's Day) and supported him ever since. This must have impressed him as Romney was said to be one of McCain's choices for a Vice-President, though God knows why.

In a feeble attempt to compensate after a failed try for both the presidency and vice-presidency, Romney (and Rudy Giuliani, another also-ran for the 2008 Republican Presidential candidacy) decided to make trouble at the 2008 Democratic National Convention by creating an on-site "war room" to try and get media coverage by spewing his skewed nonsense about the Obama campaign. Like his bid for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, this was not a success.

2012 campaign

Romney is taking another shot at the presidential election in 2012, but his record for truthfulness makes it hard to ascertain what he stands for or what he would do in office.

Romney has a few hurdles to overcome; he's not very popular among his own party's base, and tends not to come across as the type of guy people like.[18] That said, he is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, most likely because many of the other candidates are/were batshit crazy right-wingers who wouldn't stand a chance in the general election.

Romney's drive to secure the nomination has not come cheap. He spent four times as much money per vote (and three times as much per delegate won) as Rick Santorum.[19] He will need a lot more money if he is to defeat Barack Obama, who raises money well, both in smaller increments from a broad donor base and in large donations to so-called "Super PACs."

Primary and caucus highlights

Romney's campaign for the Republican nomination revealed the deep ideological fault lines in the party:

Iowa Republicans were pretty much evenly split between Romney and Rick Santorum,[20] although Santorum won a narrow victory after a recount.[21]

Despite the calibre of the opposition, the South Carolina's Bible Belt had little confidence in him, throwing their weight behind Newt Gingrich.[22]

Romney did well in Florida, a state whose panhandle is in the Bible Belt.[23]

However, a few hiccups aside, once Santorum pulled out, it became clear that Romney would secure the nomination. In effect, his faction — finance capital — will once again subordinate the other factions: Christian Right and various other globules of bigotry.


On May 31, 2011 Romney called Barack Obama "one of the most ineffective Presidents" he's ever seen, and argued that he could beat him in the general election.[24] That sufficed at the time to set him apart from the rest of the field, making him the closest thing to a frontrunner. For the 2012 campaign, Romney has apparently given up on trying to sell himself as a social conservative, and bases his candidacy mostly on criticizing Obama's handling of the economy:

"Obama did not cause this recession, but he made it worse... it will be essential to have a person who understands how the economy works, understands what it takes to create and grow jobs, in the White House. "- [25] This particular claim — which is now central to Romney's sales pitch — has been repeatedly knocked down. After Romney made the assertion in his announcement speech, fact checkers demolished it.[26] According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession ended in June of 2009.[27] The Associated Press, meanwhile, pointed out that the gross domestic product, the prime measure of economic strength, picked up modestly after Obama took office, adding that while unemployment is still very high, "the recession officially ended six months into his presidency”, which is obviously an improvement. Yet Romney was cheerfully repeating the bogus claim again. What we’re seeing here are the limits of fact-checking — something we rediscover every cycle.

  1. Candidates, party committees and outside groups make false claims.
  2. Media fact-checkers go to work and debunk the claims.
  3. The candidates and groups go right on making them anyway.
  4. Reporters stop pointing out that they’re false.

Romney seems to hope that a lie repeated often enough will eventually be believed, and he might be right on that account. When challenged he tried to deny he had ever said it[28] which was yet another flip flop.[29] We are waiting to see if he repeats that lie yet again.

Romney-care problem

Mitt Romney has been facing harsh criticism for stating that nothing is "more misguided and egregious" than the Obama administration's federal health care overhaul. He then went on to state "Obamacare is bad law constitutionally, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families,” Romney said. “The federal government isn’t the answer for running health care anymore than it’s the answer for running Amtrak or the Post Office."[30]

This is because the Massachusetts' health care overhaul he signed into law in 2006 served as a model for the federal legislation.[31][32] And even the Democrats have thanked Romney on their website for the model he gave them.[33] Romney proudly touts the law in his list of achievements, while refusing to acknowledge large similarities between the two laws.[34] When pushed about how he stated it was unconstitutional at a federal level, he pleaded it was different because it's a state plan.[35]

Trying to help uninsured sick people get better is a serious weakness in the eyes of some Republicans as The Onion notes.[36]


Apart from bashing Obama, Romney also frequently promises voters that the unemployment situation will dramatically improve once he's in office and as late as February 1st he was promising an era of prosperity. How exactly does he plan to get people working? Mitt just says he’ll "focus, focus, focus." That certainly sounds impressive, but what will Romney focus on? Mitt has not said anything clear about that. He’ll just "focus, focus, focus" on something or other and somehow that will create jobs.[37] Since he already made the same promise during his tenure in Massachusetts, it's worth checking out his record:

"During his full term in office, Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in terms of job creation according to the U.S. Labor Department. The only states that created fewer jobs were Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. Also, when you examine Romney’s job creation ranking during the first two years of his administration (the period that Obama has now been in office), you will discover that Massachusetts ranked 50th."- [38]

Despite this less-than-stellar achievement, his supporters still hope that the whole country would fare better under his leadership than Massachusetts did; his opponents, on the other hand, argue that if Mitt Romney’s an economic "heavyweight," we’re in trouble.[39]

Lying about job creation

The Washington Post gave Romney the Pinocchio award because he lied about firms under his control creating jobs in the private sector. Romney further lied about jobs falling in the auto industry under Obama when auto jobs in fact increased : "But since January 2009, when Obama took office, overall there has been an increase in jobs. The number of jobs hit a low point in November 2009, but then it has slowly inched upward so that Obama can point to the auto industry and says there has been a net gain."- [40]

Accordingly, Romney got the Pinocchio award in 2008 and in 2012. Well done, Mitt!

Cutting spending

Romney is campaigning on a promise to cut public spending, eliminate some government departments and merge others. Romney has been cagey about exactly how he would enact budget cuts.[41][42] He told private sponsors a bit about his plans when he had no idea reporters were listening in; what the reporters overheard heard led to speculation that education and public housing may be targeted for cuts should Romney win the election.

Gay marriage

Romney opposes same-sex marriage or civil unions that are marriage in all but name; supporting some vague, undisclosed and possibly meaningless partnership benefits such as hospital visitation rights. Romney further opposes federal recognition of gay marriage and gay civil unions.[43][44][45]

Political positions

Romney apparently is a politician, and as such, presents a strong principled position from time to time. The trouble is his principles change so much it becomes hard to tell what he stands for or will stand for in the future.

Issue Flip Flop
Abortion "I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose. This choice is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not mine and not the government’s." (2002)[46] "I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother." (2005)[46]
Gun control "That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA. I don't line up with the NRA." (1994)
"We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won't chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety." (2002)[47]
"I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I'm a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms." (2008)[47] - The part about owning a gun was a lie, by the way.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell "Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military is a fine first step, but must ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military." (1994)[48] "As for military policy and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same." (2006)[48]
Stem cell research "He supports stem cell research on new and existing lines, in both private and federally funded settings.” - Romney's spokesman in 2004[49] "The governor has never been a proponent of expanded federal funding or state funding for embryonic stem cell research.” - Romney's spokesman in 2007[49]


In an interview on CNN, a campaign staffer for Romney responded to questions regarding Romney's far-right positions hurting him in the general election (should he be nominated) by stating that Romney can "reset" for the general election[50]:

"It's almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."- [51]

The obvious redundancy of "restart all over again" aside, opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich jumped on this gaffe to show further how Romney's political views change with the wind.[52] Romney later backtracked from his staffer's statement, saying his political positions would remain the same during the general election.[53] The statement and its backlash, however, did cause a temporary spike in the stock price of Ohio Arts, the creator of the Etch-a-Sketch[54] as well as a 15-fold increase in sales on[55] The comparison also drew fire from pundit Rachel Maddow who not only criticized Romney for his ever-changing positions but also remarked that Ohio Arts was now producing the Etch-a-Sketch in China at substandard wages; even by Chinese standards; a move that had been previously decried by major purchaser Toys "R" Us, a company owned by Bain Capital which Romney co-founded.[56][57]

Miscellaneous weirdness

"One can draw a straight line from the young man who pinned down a terrified teenager and walked a blind man into a closed door, to the adult who put the family dog in a kennel and strapped it to the roof of the car, to the businessman who laid off hundreds of people, cancelled their health benefits, and paid himself millions while their company went bankrupt. And the line continues: the governor who slashed education and raised fees on the middle class, and the possible president who would use his power to cut taxes on his fellow millionaires while pushing for the gradual demise of traditional Medicare."- {{{2}}}

Bullying a blind teacher

Young Romney pretended to help a blind teacher, he guided the blind man through one set of doors, then laughed hysterically as the teacher bumped into a second set of closed doors.[58]

Cutting hair

During the campaign, allegations emerged that when Romney was 17, at the elite Cranbrook School, he helped gang up on a boy who was visibly gender-nonconforming and rumored to be gay. While his cronies held the boy down, Romney forcibly cut his hair.

"It's a haunting memory, when you see somebody who is simply different taken down that way and is terrified and you see that look in their eye, you never forget it. "- {{{2}}}

Romney claims he forgot about it, though the victim certainly did not.[59] A few years later he shaved rival students' heads, then painted them red. Is Romney a hair fetishist?[60] Kids from a poor background could face a hard time too.[61][62]

Mitt the Ripper

Romney argues that "corporations are people." How did he treat those people? "Much of the business of private equity, especially in the hostile takeover area, amounts to bullying as a way of doing business. That Mitt the high-school bully chose a profession that inflicts pain on companies for profit indicates to me that a core character defect can be detected here."- {{{2}}} As one analysis put it, as head of Bain Capital, he "... bought companies, carved them up and got rid of what he couldn’t use."[63]

One law for the rich and another for the poor

If a mother is poor and on welfare she should be forced to go out and work, because Mitt thinks work is more dignified. ""Mitt Romney’s double standard was revealed when a video (see below) of the GOP candidate (discovered by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes) from earlier this year shows Romney bragging how he was not “heartless,” as he put it, when he forced poor women with children as young as two-year-olds and receiving welfare to go out and get a job. (...) Is this just another flip-flop moment among many or is it a window into Mitt Romney’s soul?"- {{{2}}} However, if a mother is wealthy (like his own wife) staying at home to raise children is hard, dignified work and an acceptable career choice.[64][65][66]

Mitt the dog lover?

Is it kind to keep a dog in a carrier, strap it to the roof of a station wagon, and carry on even when the animal defecates in terror? Romney's critics don't think so.[67]

See also


  1. Politico:GOP to Mitt Romney: Own your Mormonism
  2. PoliticsUSA: Dropping a Word Bomb of Truth On Mitt Romney’s Olympic Leadership
  3. Werewolves of London
  4. The RINO list on Romney
  5. The Economist:American politics:The right Republican
  6. The Guardian:Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman aim to seize America's 'Mormon moment'
  7. The Guardian:Mitt Romney's problem with evangelicals
  8. The Boston Globe: Mormon church obtained Vietnam draft deferrals for Romney, other missionaries
  9. Slate:Mitt Romney Is Married. To One Woman. To The Only Woman He's Ever Married. Hint, Hint.
  12. Romney Wins WaPo Pinocchio Award
  14. Mitt Romney, a man of falsehoods
  17. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Mitt.
  18. ‘Likability’ scores are hurdle for Romney
  19. [1]
  20. Iowa caucuses: Romney pips Santorum
  21. Mitt Romney stripped of Iowa win after recount
  22. South Carolina poll: Gingrich triumphs over Romney
  23. Mitt Romney scores big Florida primary win
  24. Huffington Post - Mitt Romney Blasts Obama: 'One Of The Most Ineffective Presidents,' He's 'Failed' (VIDEO)
  25. Washington Post: Mitt Romney again repeats debunked claim that Obama made recession “worse”
  26. Mitt Romney again repeats debunked claim that Obama made recession “worse”
  27. NBER: US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions
  30. Politico - Mitt Romney's prescription for 'Obamacare': Repeal it
  33. Say "Thanks" to Mitt Romney
  34. Mitt Romney vs. ObamaCare
  35. Transcript: Mitt Romney on 'FNS'
  36. Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People
  37. Mitt Romney will say anything to become President
  39. If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble
  40. Mitt Romney’s claim that 100,000 auto jobs have been lost under Obama
  41. Romney offers policy details at closed-door fundraiser
  42. What would Romney cut? Overheard conversation holds clues
  43. Mitt Romney reaffirms opposition to gay marriage and civil unions
  44. Mitt Romney Reaffirms Opposition to Gay Marriage
  45. Mitt Romney Not Eager To Play Up His Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage
  46. 46.0 46.1
  47. 47.0 47.1 Boston Herald: Romney, appealing to core GOP voters, toughens pro-gun rhetoric
  48. 48.0 48.1 Mitt Romney’s Top 5 Flip-Flops
  49. 49.0 49.1 New York Times: Romney Faces Another ‘Flip-Flop’ Question: Has He Changed on Stem Cells?
  50. Sexism, plutocracy, bigotry? What does the Republican nominee stand for?
  51. [2]
  52. [3]
  53. [4]
  54. [5]: Stock price went from USD$4.00 to USD$12.50, representing a more than 200% increase in value to shareholders, should they have dumped at the peak.
  55. [6]
  56. [7]
  57. Is your head spinning yet?
  58. Romney faces accounts of homophobia and bullying
  59. Romney led 1965 Cranbrook bullying incident over student's hairstyle... Chicago Tribune
  60. Mitt Romney’s anti-gay bullying has a human face now
  61. 'He was an evil bully... it was like Lord of the Flies': Former classmates reveal the 'real' Mitt Romney and how he 'held down gay taunt student and chopped off his hair'
  62. Mitt Romney A High School Bully with a Gay Student
  63. "Colbert’s ‘Super PAC’ Runs Attack Ad."
  64. Mitt Romney's flip-flop on stay-at-home moms: Will it matter?
  65. Feud Alert! Roseanne Barr vs. Mitt Romney's Wife, Ann
  66. Mitt Romney: Mothers Should Be Required To Work Or Lose Assistance
  67. Mitt Romney’s dog-on-the-car-roof story still proves to be his critics’ best friend