Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Furious George: The Rhetorical Might That Mitt Is Missing

Romney's father dubbed business leaders "political eunuchs" and railed against giant cars and corporations in a spate of bold speeches in the '50s and '60s.

DETROIT -- "I never saw myself being like my Dad," Mitt Romney told The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn in 2007. "Now that I'm older, I see a tape of myself giving a speech, I say, 'Holy cow, I'm turning in to my Dad.' I look like him a lot. I talk like him a lot. The things I value are very much the things he valued."

It's a nice sentiment for a son to have.

Described by a reporter for Detroit magazine in 1968 as "a man who says in private what he says in public -- and in much the same way," George Romney's pronouncements were as memorable as his son's are forgettable, a fact dramatized by a sampling of some of the old man's early speeches, housed in the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library.

In the 1950s and 1960s, at the very height of American automobile dominance, and at a moment when when his American Motors Corporation teetered on the edge of insolvency, Romney was calling out the Big Three automakers for a lack of engineering innovation -- "most present-day automobiles are the lineal descendents of the ox-cart," he said -- and for pandering to consumers' egos.

"Cars 19 feet long, weighing two tons, are used to run a 118-pound housewife three blocks to the drug store for a two-ounce package of bobby pins and lipstick," Romney told the Motor City Traffic Club of Detroit in a 1955 speech titled, "The Dinosaur In the Driveway."

George sounds more like statesman potential than Mitt ever will, always pandering and being puppeted about. 

More: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheAtlantic/~3/GPy68MzqRMY/story01.htm


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