In the heat of the 2012 elections, I had a real deep seeded hatred for Mitt Romney. There were a number of reasons for this: He was going up against a man who I considered a hero, I thought he represented a type of venture capitalism that I loathed (the bloke reminded me of Gordon Gekko) and he seemed like a self-entitled S.O.B.
Then I watched the recent Netflix documentary based on his 2008 and 2012 Presidential runs and I was shocked at the Mitt I saw. I liked the Mitt I saw and this new found admiration made me feel desperately sorry for him.
The documentary also made me realise what an exceptionally talented politician Barack Obama is. He has taken down hugely influential political operations such as the Clintons and the Republican Party. I believe that part of the reasons they got trounced by the President is because they didn’t respect him enough and did not take him seriously – well it is clear from the documentary that Mitt Romney did (and still got beat).
In fact, for a man who I considered fake and not very disciplined when it came to his message this film showed that behind the scenes he was the exact opposite. To put it another way, the highly paid professionals around him coached all the good out of him. One of his sons pretty much admits this at one point in the film.
What bugged me out the most was how laid back and relaxed he was in the documentary. One scene that took my breath away was when Ann, his wife, ruffled his hair as soon as he got off the stage somewhere. He is also a very self-aware man who is not afraid to ask difficult questions, like at one point where he acknowledges that his reputation as a flip-flopper could mean that he is a flawed candidate. While everyone around him tried to persuade him otherwise, this shrewd assessment of himself was proven right.
Another bit what got me was when Romney was explaining how the government took more than 60% of a business’ income (I forget which business it was). I found myself nodding to every point he made in that scene and kept repeating to myself “who is this guy?”
I also think it was a mistake for him to keep his faith so hidden. I found the points in the film where it showed him praying with his family poignant. It gave him more credibility as a human being. And speaking of family, it was wonderful just watching how he interacted with his. The love just radiated through the screen.
At the end of the day, he lost. He lost because he ran two very bad campaigns and he came up against a once in a generation politician. If the Mitt Romney that appears in this film is the real thing, questions have to be asked about why the hell we didn’t see this man during the campaigns? Why on earth didn’t he ruffle his hair? And why in good god did it take him this long to slow jam the news?