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Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!: It’s A Bad Sign When One Of Your Errors Is Your Book Title

This was the week we’ve been waiting for! Decades into the future, you will be able to tell your grandchildren where you were when Mitt Romney announced that he had formed a presidential exploratory committee.

Who knew he needed to explore? He said he was running on his Christmas card, for Lord’s sake.

My job today is to give you a run-through of every book Mitt Romney has ever written. Fortunately, there are only two: “Turnaround,” which is about his stint as the leader of the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, and “No Apology,” his campaign tome, which used to be subtitled “The Case for American Greatness” but is now “Believe in America.”

Perhaps three. When the new paperback edition of “No Apology” came out in February, early readers noted that not only had Romney added a new subtitle but also a new preface, ranting about the founders-hating big spenders who are now running the country. And, most notably, he had also changed some critical chunks of the original to make the text more Tea Party-friendly.

For instance, paperback Romney has now noticed that the Massachusetts health insurance law that he championed as governor does have some flaws, all of which are because of anti-freedom provisions that the Democrats in the State Legislature put in. Also, the stimulus was way, way worse than he originally thought.

We all know that Mitt has a habit of, um, mutating to the political winds. So even in its earlier incarnation, the book had a decidedly uneven tone. “Despite my affiliation with the Republican Party, I don’t think of myself as highly partisan,” Moderate Mitt wrote toward the end. This comes after 300 pages of unrelenting attacks on Barack Obama and every member of his party since Andrew Jackson. He blames Bill Clinton for everything from cutting military spending to presiding over an administration during which “birth to teenage mothers rose to their highest level in decades.” I’m sure this week’s Romney does not regard that as a partisan statement even though teenage birth rates actually fell spectacularly during that exact period.

The book is heavy into policy and rather sparse on personal history, except for the parts that relate to his dad being a successful businessman and Mitt himself being an entrepreneurial hero along the deal-making, business-closing, job-slashing private equity line. Romney’s earlier book, “Turnaround,” had some great stories about his Mormon ancestors, including a great-grandmother who single-handedly drove her children to Mexico in a covered wagon during the Indian wars. “At one point along the way, she came across freshly slaughtered U.S. Cavalry horses. She paused only long enough to pry the shoes from the wasted horses, re-shod her own wagon horses, and journey on,” he wrote. Truly, “No Apology” could use a whole lot more of Hannah Romney and a whole lot less about the causes of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

Also, there is not a single mention in “No Apology” of the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car. I regard this as a critical oversight, although perhaps it was Seamus that Romney was thinking of when he chose his title.

But, according to the book, “No Apology” refers to Romney’s objections to President Obama’s alleged habit of going around the world, asking other countries to forgive America for its faults. This Obama apologizing tour is an article of Tea Party faith, but one that PolitiFact analyzed a while back and found it to be false. (“Yes, there is criticism in some of his speeches, but it’s typically leavened by praise for the United States and its ideals.”)

Anybody can make a mistake, but it’s a bad sign when one of your errors is your title.

Of all the awful books by presidential candidates I have read this year, “No Apology” was the hardest to get through. To be fair, Romney does write a lot about the issues, but in a way that makes you feel as if you’re trapped at a school assembly where a long-winded donor is telling you what life is all about. (“If I may return to my engine analogy from earlier in this chapter: Our economy is powered by two pistons …”)

“Turnaround” is a much easier book to read, even though it requires a pretty keen interest in how the Salt Lake City Olympics planners saved the day after Mitt took over in 1999. I was particularly fascinated by Romney’s insistent contention that he is a fun guy. (“I love jokes, and I love laughing.”) There is not much evidence of actual humor, although Romney says that when he visited the Clinton White House, he prankishly protested being given a visitor’s badge that had a red A on it, saying, “I’m not the one that cheated on my wife.”

Maybe you had to be there.

By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, April 15, 2011

April 16, 2011 - Posted by | Birthers, Conservatives, Democrats, Elections, Exploratory Presidential Committees, Freedom, GOP, Governors, Independents, Jobs, Mitt Romney, Politics, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , ,

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