How Ann Sold Mitt

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 29 2012 @ 12:17pm


How Douthat understood Ann Romney's speech:

The purpose of her primetime address was ostensibly to humanize her husband, to make him seem more like the lovable Everyman that presidential candidates always pretend to be. But her speech was actually most effective when it was confirming the impression that Romney is less a relatable 21st century kind of guy than an unusual sort of throwback – the last of the WASP aristocrats, the latter-day heir of the Cabots and Saltonstalls and pre-Texas Bushes, offering himself up to serve a country where his species long ago ceased to rule.

Nicely captured. I found her enchanting, I have to say. But shallow and too subservient at the same time – not exactly Michelle. Joe Klein wishes she had been more specific:

Mrs. Romney said at several points in the speech that her husband makes her laugh. But no examples. We didn’t hear a single Mitt Romney anecdote–at least, none that I recall. We had to take his humanity on faith. I’m willing to do that. I’m sure he’s a great husband and dad. But that tells you nothing about the kind of leader, the kind of national father-figure, he might be…and delivering bad news, in a fatherly way, is one of the jobs of a President.

And wasn't she supposed to help us understand his faith? He might as well have been a reserved Episcopalian, rather than Mormon royalty. Rachael Larimore echoes Joe:

I’m the rare conservative who will admit to sorta kinda actually liking ol’ Mitt, not just tolerating him, but even I was left wanting a little more from Ann’s speech. There are some wonderful Mitt Romney stories out there: the time a daughter of a Bain partner went missing after a rave and Mitt shut down the entire company and brought everyone to New York to find her (they did, and just barely in time); the time he and two sons saved a family on a lake in New Hampshire when the family’s boat started sinking. And I know you don’t tell those stories on a national stage, because it would be viewed as crass exploitation. But surely there are some anecdotes that lie somewhere between strapping the family dog to the car and saving someone’s life.

And Andrew Sabl takes Mrs. Romney to task for pretending to have had it tough:

As I blogged a few months ago, the way she and Mitt paid for their pasta and tuna fish, and the desk that was a door, was by SELLING STOCK, given to them by his family, that on a conservative calculation was worth in current money almost FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. …Reminding viewers of the facts ought to be the press’ job. But it’s not doing it. The reports I’ve seen—including the New York Times—have made no mention of Ann and Mitt’s vast gifted wealth (and the much vaster wealth that they could of course have drawn on if in trouble). A speech eagerly reported as humanizing and successful actually had a fabricated reality at its center.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)