Introducing Mitt Romney

Most people are not like Common Sense. This column has been covering the 2012 presidential election for almost four years now. Most people are just beginning to pay attention. The polls suggest a tight race. There is almost nothing that Barack Obama can do to change people’s minds about him, but Mitt Romney has only just begun to define himself in the American psyche.

A candidate is not a lump of clay and cannot simply be anything he or she chooses. Any image needs to be linked to reality. A candidate should not want to be labeled, as Hillary Clinton was, “a clever politician”. A candidate should set out to seem like someone who is motivated by a desire to serve and to do the right thing. Ronald Reagan – successful at his third attempt in running for President and a two term governor of the largest state – somehow managed to come over as a reluctant candidate. He would rather have been riding his horse in California, but those guys in Washington had made such a mess of things that he felt compelled to come out of retirement and sort it all out.

Common Sense suggests three themes for introducing Mitt Romney to America:

Mitt comes from a family that believes in public service. His father walked away from a successful business career to serve as Governor of Michigan and US Housing Secretary. He always believed in doing the right thing for his state and his country, and brought up Mitt to do the same. Mistakes made in Washington have led the US to a dire situation. Families are struggling. Unemployment should be falling, but it is still rising. The President has ignored his own commission’s recommendations to deal with the debt crisis. While Mitt’s own family is not struggling, this is not a time when a man who believes in public service could contemplate comfortable retirement. It is a time to act.

Mitt could have followed his father into business, but chose to make his own path instead. He specialized in helping failing businesses turn themselves around. It didn’t always work out, but he saved those businesses more often than not. He brings those turnaround skills to a failing government which desperately needs them. Business is not the same as government, but those business skills are transferable. When he was asked to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics the organization committee was not paying its way and plagued by allegations of corruption and incompetence. Does that sound familiar? He was able to turn it around and hold a very successful Games. Massachusetts was struggling with liberal overspending and a huge budget deficit, but Mitt was able to take control and balance the budget.

Mitt puts his family at the heart of everything he does. He stepped aside from a stellar career in business to spend time with Ann when she developed cancer. Business success does not insulate people from devastating challenges. Possessions can seem very shallow when that which you value most is under threat. But Ann’s strength, with Mitt at her side, was sufficient to overcome this terrible threat.

This dedication to service, the skills of a turnaround specialist and the emotional resilience to deal with personal challenges are what makes Mitt Romney the man that he is.

Quentin Langley is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire Business School as well as a freelance columnist published in the UK and all parts of the US. He blogs on social media and crisis communications at

%d bloggers like this: