Saturday, February 12, 2011

How We Got To Where We Are

We each arrive at our political views and choice of a candidate for President by way of experiences, people who have influenced us in life, and other factors and insights--each has had a unique journey thus far. Do supporters of a particular candidate have certain characteristics in common? Why do millions rally around just a few front-runners--is it more about the candidate or more about the supporters?

How did you arrive at supporting your candidate?

I grew up in a conservative family. My father experienced gaining advanced degrees at one of the nation's elite universities prior to programs that pushed admitting minorities. His education qualified him to teach at the university level anywhere. Initial interviews made it clear that due to his political views, he was not wanted, even by other academic Hispanics. "We like you, but don't feel you'll fit in here." This was in the mid 70s--a time when the radicalization of America's universities was in full swing.

My own career took me to Europe from 1993 to 2004, where I experienced cultures, languages, and, of course, true socialized medicine. As a user of the system, it was great. I had to wonder, though, who is paying for this? Clearly, it was the tax payers--as my pay stub proved. During this time period, I was less involved with what was happening politically across the pond here in the States.

It was also during this time, the mid 90s, that my younger brother was in college. He roomed with a few guys there and continued to room together during their first jobs after graduation--they remain close friends to this day and try to visit and catch up whenever the opportunity presents itself. I vaguely remember hearing back then that two of them were from back east--Massachusetts. I thought I had heard their father was a businessman who was getting into politics.

The Presidential election of 2004 was interesting, but not all that riveting for me as I was still getting used to life back in the States. As the race for 2008 was heating up, I began looking at candidates and settled on Romney. What attracted me was a) his education--I also had a business education, b) his executive experience in the investment banking and consulting world--two areas for which I had a lot of respect and some insight, and c) his experience with the Olympics and as governor--I had always wished that someone with the unique insight derived from that sort of combination of private sector and public sector work would run.

Leaders who motivate me have core values and principles as well as those who have intellect, knowledge, a desire to understand the issues on which they are making decisions, and who have the smarts not to be duped. The ability to implement conservative principles was important as well and I felt Romney's experience had prepared him to undertake the daunting task of overhauling all things Federal government-related to make it more efficient.

One of my own personal characteristics is to try to look at situations from a variety of angles before making decisions. I'm quite analytical and I appreciate the same on the part of others. I avoid absolutes and this includes politics and candidates. A person who can build up the opposing argument and then make an even more compelling case for their own has the utmost credibility--hence my tendency to look for the positives in other candidates.

A few months ago, I was chatting with my mother. It had occurred to me that my brother's roommates and friends may have been two of Mitt Romney's sons--he just never volunteered or was vocal about it, probably because he just saw them as his buddies. She confirmed that's who they are and a few other tidbits, such as the fact he's been to their New Hampshire home a few times.

Believe it or not, I have not pumped him for information. Maybe I'll see if he'd be agreeable to be interviewed. Strangely, his relationship with their family hasn't had any impact either way on my assessment of Mitt. If anything, I'm more cautious about my support of him due to not wanting to be influenced in any way other than by my own independent analysis.

That's a bit of my story. What's yours with respect to your candidate?

49 comments:

kelly said...

hamaca,

Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to Right Speak.

I hope you do ask your brother about Mitt's sons. My bet is they were just regular guys with no aura of importance.

I like Romney for many of the same reasons as you.
Education and SUCCESSFUL Business and Public sector experience.

There is a saying, "It's the economy stuptd". That's how I feel about 2012!

Noelle said...

I became a fan of Mitt Romney a bit into the campaign. I didn't jump in with both feet until I had looked at all of the candidates, but after reading about them, reading their own words, and reading what some of their supporters had to say, I found Mitt to be the best candidate. Well before the economic collapse I recognized that the economy was our most vulnerable part of the culture, and Romney was the one with the best credentials.

After Romney lost the 2008 nomination I was very unhappy with McCain. I found his campaign to be weak and noncommittal. At first I was disappointed that Romney did not get the nod for VP, but before long I realized that Palin was a good choice as she added an energy to McCain's lethargic and uninspiring campaign. After thinking about it, I did not think Romney would be very effective as the #2 guy. After all, what does a VP really do? Mostly just be an enthusiastic supporter of their president.

After the election was over I read Turnaround and No Apology, both by Mitt Romney. Those 2 books confirmed that Romney was the right man to lead this country, both because of his undisputed understanding of the economy and his ability to fix what's not working, as well as his understanding of international affairs.

Thanks for this post. I look forward to hearing why various people support their various candidates.

ConMan said...

Everything you've said, plus Family values. Just look at his wife and 5 sons. Their family life and interactions. It all adds up to Romney being the BEST CHOICE in 2012.

BTW, welcome to Right Speak hamaca.

Anonymous said...

I like him because he's a Mormon and so am I.

Revolution 2010 said...

Welcome to Right Speak hamaca.

It's his RESUME and family values.

NO ONE ELSE COMES CLOSE!

Pablo said...

Hamaca,

Good post. I am glad to see you posting.

I first met Mitt Romney in 2006 when I was working for a social conservative group in South Carolina (back when I felt a lot stronger about social conservative issues). Mitt was trying to woo the pastors in the area so he set up private meetings at some rich lady's house. Because of my work, I got to sit in one of these meetings. I was the young guy in the room with about 7 or 8 local pastors.

Interestingly, the one conversation I had with Mitt after the meeting was about girls. He found out that I was single at the time and he jokingly told me that he knew several girls back in Massachusetts he could get me set up with. I told him to take me with him. Lol.

I guess my approach to politics is the following: the more I try to understand public policy, the more I realize how complicated it is and how "gray" it can be. I don't believe in "common sense" politics. One of the things that has impressed me about Romney is that he appears to be a data guy. He doesn't appear to base his policy preferences on gut feelings or emotion. We need somebody who will do the hard work of trying to come up with solutions to very complex problems.

I like a number of Republicans. But I think that Romney "deserves" the opportunity. If Republicans want to honor success in life as a prerequisite for becoming President, then they ought to nominate Romney.

hamaca said...

Thanks for the welcome, guys!

A President has to face such a variety of challenges that it's impossible for anyone to have experience related to each item.

What a person CAN have, however, is an exceptional ability to handle and deal with the new and unknown. It's how they operate in that environment, in the gray, that's a sign of a leader.

I believe Romney has honed that ability through, perhaps, thousands of business and political situations. I'm not saying he has a monopoly on it, but he's excellent. He's too clever to let people pull the wool over his eyes regarding any program, event, or disaster.

phil said...

Welcome hamaca,

It's his success in the public and private sectors.

No one has the degree of success in that combination out of the potential candidates. Also and most importantly, He can WIN.

zappo said...

I like Sarah Palin because she is one of us.

Bill589 said...

I like SP because she worked up to her position. She wasn’t born into money, had a dad that was a governor, or anything like that.

She is also consistent with her beliefs; her right principles have been displayed for decades. I don’t have to guess what her stance will be during her Presidency as people would have to with the establishment’s frontrunner.

She also has proven her courage. The establishment’s guy can just say he is courageous.

Because of her fortitude, her clarity, and her consistency, I know where SP stands today and tomorrow, and I know I’ll stand with her.

BOSMAN said...

hamaca,

I'm happy you decided to join Right Speak.

I met him when he first became Governor of MA. I was asked to sit on a panel and I've been in his camp ever since.

Pablo said...

"She wasn’t born into money, had a dad that was a governor, or anything like that."

Romney wasn't born into money either. He has earned every coin that is in his pocket through hard work and success. In fact, that is what I admire about Romney. He works harder than most of the other 2012er's.

Closer To Home said...

I started in politics in the run up to 1980 and became a precinct leader for Reagan, then district and state delegate, then alternate to the national convention. It was a great year to support conservative principles driven by someone with a proven track record.

For the past 30 years, I have supported people who shared my same values but who also had the capacity to get things done. Think about how many people share our values. And how many of them would you want to be president?

"Getting things done" in politics requires both winning the trust and support of the voters (getting elected) and understanding how to manage the process of governing. The most overwhelming job in the world, the most complex, the most consuming, is POTUS. I want someone there who can be effective.

Example: In 1941, all Americans were against the Germans and the Japanese. Finding someone to share my values would have been easy. But only a few would have been competent to be CIC.

Romney is the person I want as CEO of USA. I want him as CIC of the war on unemployment and the effort to take back America's greatness.

Doug NYC GOP said...

I'm not very different than the other folks who have posted here, regarding my support for Mitt Romney.

I began seeing him TV interviews and found him to be very articulate, intelligent and competent. Right away I was asking myself "Why is this guy not our President." After learning more about him, I was even more convinced he was the right man for the job.

Hamaca, Closer to Home and Pablo highlight some very core and truthful statements about governing and solving problems. I believe Romney has the skill set, temperment, experience and intentions, do what is right, effective and smart, to correct many of current and long term problems.

Common sense is easy, getting real results is hard.

Anonymous said...

Just because Romney worked hard and earned the money in his pocket doesn't mean his family connections didn't give him the opportunity to work hard and earn that money.

jerseyrepublican

Doug NYC GOP said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Romney

Doug NYC GOP said...

"Mitt went to public elementary schools,[8] and then from seventh grade on, attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, a private boys preparatory school of the classic mold where he was the lone Mormon and where many students came from even more privileged backgrounds. He was not particularly athletic and at first did not excel at academics."

"While a sophomore, his father was elected Governor of Michigan. Mitt campaigned for him at county fairs, exclaiming "He's a truly great person. You've got to support him. He's going to make things better." George Romney was a popular governor who was elected for three two-year terms; Mitt worked for him as an intern in the governor's office, and was present at the 1964 Republican National Convention when his moderate father battled conservative party nominee Barry Goldwater over issues of civil rights and ideological extremism."

"Mitt did not flaunt the connection with his father to his friends nor did he trade in on his father's famous name to gain any advantages for himself.[8][10] Mitt had a steady set of chores growing up and worked summer jobs, including one as a security guard at a Chrysler plant."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney

Doug NYC GOP said...

This is one of my favorite quotes, as it goes at the silly notion only the hoi polloi have a monopoly on noble virtues.

"Well, I made a funny discovery. In spite of the fact that somebody's up from the bottom...he can still be quite a heel...and even though somebody else is born to the purple, he...he can still be a very nice guy."

- Jimmy Stewart's character in The Philadephia Story, a comedy about marriage and social class.

Anonymous said...

Doug, you do realize that wikipedia is not a trusted source...for all I know you could have written that passage. And even if he didn't trade in his father's name for personal advantage...it doesn't mean that somebody else didn't...

jerseyrepublican

Matt "MWS" said...

Good post Hamaca. I haven't completely settled on a candidate for '12, but the major influences on my outlook and affinity for candidates are:

1. My Catholic faith. That doesn't mean the candidate needs to be Catholic of course (Newt is just about the bottom of my list), or that a candidate just gets bonus points for being Catholic (I would never vote for Rudy), it means that Catholic moral principles are the foundation of my political philosophy, and I look for candidates that reflect that to some degree.

2. My Midwestern/small town roots. I grew up in a traditional, small "C" conservative region, which is ethnically homogenous but economically diverse, as rich and poor all went to the same schools, stores, churches, restaraunts, etc... Our politics tends to be sober, traditionalist, and pragmatic.

3. A cynicism and natural distrust towards politicians. Maybe it's because I caught the political bug in 3rd grade, but I got over the naive hero-worship many many years ago (though I will always have a soft spot for Pat Buchanan). I am very sensitive to what I perceive as pandering or insincerity. Most politicians are whores, so when I find one I really trust, I put a high value on that.

Anonymous said...

Matt, your number 3 is one of my biggest reasons for supporting Palin.

Of course I am a bit of a populist(in the true vein of the word) as well so that doesn't hurt. Populism/Libertarian/Republican Fiscal and Defense and Foreign Policy = Sarah Palin. You really cannot get much better of a candidate in my mind...unless, of course if, "Zombie Reagan" were to rise and run.

jerseyrepublican

BTW, welcome to RightSpeak

Doug NYC GOP said...

Look at Wikipedia as a starting point in your Romney research...that's all.

BTW, is it so hard to believe he didn't trade on his father's name.

Matt "MWS" said...

Doug,

"BTW, is it so hard to believe he didn't trade on his father's name."

Yes, it is. But that's not a knock on Mitt. It's SMART to utilize whatever assets you have, as long as it's not unethical or immoral, and using family connections and the family's reputation is not inherently immoral. I see it as similar to cashing in on a Harvard degree. If you can use the name and the network, why not?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Doug it is...and it has nothing to do with any negative or positive feelings I have toward Romney...nepotism is just a fact of life. I think you need to take a step back and look at everything in perspective. I think one of Romney's biggest problems are his supporters...in the fact that they put him so high onto a pedestal that he cannot even live up to. It's really not fair to him and very unappealing to anyone who doesn't currently support him for President...or the second coming.

jerseyrepublican

Matt "MWS" said...

jersey,

Thanks. I can see why you could support her for those reasons. You and I are just looking for different backgrounds and temperaments in a candidate, and clearly disagree on Palin's suitability.

Anonymous said...

I mean Bain probably had a half dozen or so, comparable candidates, for his position. He might not have asked for any nepotism but it's ridiculous to believe that it wasn't given to him.

jerseyrepublican

Anonymous said...

Matt, I don't always agree with Palin's methods but I do trust her motives. I think you are going to see a different Candidate Palin, if she runs, than you have seen of Citizen Palin.

jerseyrepublican

Doug NYC GOP said...

Nepotism Definition: Simply put, the definition of nepotism is favoring relatives. Nepotism in the workplace occurs when employers favor relatives in making employment decisions, with little to no regard for anything but kinship.

Perhaps nepotism at Bain is not the correct term, considering Romney's father George or any other relative didn't work there. But yes coming from a prominent family does indeed help. The point I was making, as Matt said as well, having connections is not morally wrong. This populist notion only someone who comes from the masses can be of noble virtue, is a form of reverse elitism. This sentiment is also reflected in the quote I cited.

Doug NYC GOP said...

"I think you need to take a step back and look at everything in perspective. I think one of Romney's biggest problems are his supporters...in the fact that they put him so high onto a pedestal that he cannot even live up to. It's really not fair to him and very unappealing to anyone who doesn't currently support him for President...or the second coming." - JR

That could be the funniest line, intentional or not, I have read in quite some time. Exchange the name Palin for Romney and you sound just like me for the past year. I am humbled I have been able to influence you. ;)

Anonymous said...

Your right Doug, I didn't use the literal definition that you looked up when you didn't understand the vocabulary in my comment but your definition is somewhat incomplete as well...technically nepotism is favoritism to family members or close friends...but since I didn't use your definition of the term you can negate my entire point?

You are so ridiculous sometimes and in your quest to appear knowledgeable you really just end up looking silly.

I'm not sure what you're referring to...when you wrote about populism or noble virtue? I basically said the same thing that Matt did. I never said it was wrong for having and utilizing family connections...never!!! I also never said that only someone that comes from the masses can have noble virtue...so I'm not sure what you're smoking today...but in this case...I don't want any.

jerseyrepublican

Matt "MWS" said...

Doug,

We agree that it's not inherently wrong or makes him a bad person, but I think it's fair to say that Mitt benefitted from being a Romney, don't you?

I own my own small business, and would give preference to someone if I know and like their family. It's not a guarantee they'll be good, but it helps if they come from "good stock."

Noelle said...

Whether or not Mitt benefited from being a Romney or not when he was getting started in his early professional career, I do not know. But the guy graduated from BYU at the top of his class, then he graduated from Harvard business(top 5%) and law school (cum laude) simultaneously.

He succeeded over and over again, and proved that he deserved any opportunities that were afforded him, and any company that took a chance on him was rewarded.

I think Mitt benefited from being a Romney in that he learned from his parents the value of hard work. He has rightfully earned anything he has.

Doug NYC GOP said...

I don't see what is so hard to understand about what I expressed, or why it's silly. But I'll give it another shot. BTW, JR, not all my commnets are directed specifically at you.

I don't disagree the Romney family name didn't help Mitt in his career and in life. What I challenge is the bigger picture, Populist belief many hold, that all folks born with advantages, somehow achieved success unfairly. Many folks just tune out the real story of successful people, not just Romney, who were "born to the purple" and yet didn't just rely on that to be successful in life.

Many folks born under advantaged circumstances squander their lives aimlessly. Romney by most accounts, applied himself and worked very hard at his education and career. I am sure he would have been a success in life even if he was born under less advantageous circumstances. To discount his success as merely being a bi-product of his families connections, just shows a ignorance about not only him, but his father as well, who instilled good values in his family, while working his way up in life.

My comments were partially motivated in response to Bill's yesterday, on this thread, which Pablo also took issue with. They also go to this line of thinking that only the person who is "one of us" is the best. I think the best can come any and all sources.

JR, even your comment yesterday @11:14am had this negative tinge to it. While agreeing Romney worked hard, you still felt the need to spin it as being due to connections, thereby belittling the man's efforts.

For a guy who's always demanding people be open-minded, research Palin and not to believe the cliches about her, you seem very quick and at ease, at being closed minded about Romney. Which is fine, that's your choice. I'm not out to change your mind.

Now that I'm done being silly and ridiculous for the day, I have to take my unknowledgable a@# to the store, so I can cook a Valentine's Day dinner for the wife.

Anonymous said...

Wow Doug...you told me except you have misinterpreted almost everything I have said...or spun it to fit your "silly" little narrative. I have never belittled anything Romney has accomplished...except maybe for the Olympics...because I think just about any candidate or decent businessman/manager could have done an equally good job...but to his credit...he was the one who did the good job.

If anything my comments are geared towards his supporter who refuse to acknowledge anything that puts Romney in any less of a light than savior. He is a smart, successful, business man...give him credit where it is due but don't over adulate him.

jerseyrepublican

Noelle said...

I disagree with you JR, that any decent businessman/manager could have done an equally good job on the 2002 Olympics. Even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, those were among the most financially successful Olympic games. If any decent businessman/manager could have done it, why have other games, held in less challenging circumstances, not done as well? Romney's success in turning around those games is one of his crowning achievements.

I am a fan of Romney, and he is my choice for 2012, but I don't think he's perfect. None of the potential candidates are perfect. I believe, however, that Romney is the right man for the job at this time. His credentials are excellent to deal with the current challenges our country faces. I'm sure that once he is the president, he'll probably make a mistake or two. All presidents have, but I also believe that in the end, if this country is smart enough to elect him, Mitt Romney's presidency will be an overall success.

Anonymous said...

Noelle, with all due respect...you answer your question with your explanation. The Olympic Games immediately following an American Tragedy, an act of war on American soil...of course the Olympic Games held on American soil would be successful. I'm not denying the quality of work he did...i just think that almost any businessman/manager would have done equally as well. BUT, it doesn't matter because Romney was the man that did the good job so he does deserve some credit...I don't know about it being one of his "crowning achievements," I think proclaiming it that discredits his other work.

JMO

jerseyrepublican

Noelle said...

Do you honestly think that being in the aftermath of 9/11 helped the Olympics? The foundation for its financial success occurred prior to 9/11. The tragedy of 9/11 added complications and expenses due to security, not to mention the hit that the economy took.

Anonymous said...

Yes, unfortunately, I do think it helped the Olympics in the long run. Some people believe that the foundation for its financial success also predated Romney's arrival onto the scene. Much of the sponsor monies collected for the games was promised before Romney took over as President of the games, the contract with NBC, which was 400-500 million also predated Romney. Romney does deserve credit, for the games, but it's not as if he was there doing it all by himself. I say give the man credit where credit is due but over adulation is just a disservice...IMO.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2007/sep/27/romney-turning-over-turnaround-label/

jerseyrepublican

Anonymous said...

It seems, from that article, that Romney's biggest success was ensuring that one major sponsor did not pull its sponsorship from the games. It instilled confidence in the other sponsors that showed wavering support and interest.

jerseyrepublican

Noelle said...

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. The Olympic Games were failing prior to Romney taking the reins. They became an tremendous success. Of course he did not do everything by himself. He did, however, put together a team that created that success.

You should read Turnaround to learn exactly what he did. Those Olympic Games were far from a guaranteed success prior to Romney taking over.

hamaca said...

I think if it were just a matter of crossing the t's and dotting the i's that any decent manager could have done, they wouldn't have imported someone from Massachusetts to do the job, but rather, would have simply promoted someone local with decent credentials.

The fact that they brought in a high-profile (in the business world), turn-around specialist and leader indicates to me that the sentiment on the part of those making the decision saw the situation as being out of control enough that it needed someone of Romney's caliber even at the expense of not giving someone local the opportunity.

Maybe they knew more of what was going on that was/is publicly available.

Anonymous said...

Noelle, the games were failing because they were riddled with scandal and sponsors were unsure if they wanted to be involved due to the scandals. The problem was they already pledged money so the financial problems would have been rectified as soon as they paid the amount they pledged.

Obviously Romney wrote a book that put his part, in the equation, into a great light. As he should.

Let me be clear...I think Romney did a good job...I just don't think it's as impressive as his supporters do.

Did you read the article I linked to? I think they do a fair job of accessing Romney's career. They are not bashful highlighting his successes in life and they give him credit where credit is due. It seems like a pretty factual account of what happened.

jerseyrepublican

Anonymous said...

hamaca, it's not like Romney doesn't have ties to Salt Lake City.

jerseyrepublican

hamaca said...

Jersey, that is a good point.

Anonymous said...

hamaca and noelle, I just want to make it clear that I do think Romney did a good, if not great, job with the 2002 Olympics. For me, it doesn't impress me as much as his work with Bain and in some ways I feel the over-adulation, by his supporters, of the Olympics takes away from the really great work he did at Bain...especially when he turned around the parent company.

I think too many times we, as supporters of various candidates, are asked to describe why we like our candidate of choice. We staunchly defend and even prop up that candidate. I try not to do that too much, but just ask Doug, I probably fail sometimes.

As the regular talking points about various candidate's echo in our internet minds. It all becomes posturing when he assess another candidate's strengths and weaknesses. I try to keep my support for Palin and my opinion of Romney or Huckabee non-compatable...meaning I try not to let my support for Palin cloud my judgement of another candidate's pro's and cons. In this instance, I am sure I am not.

Before Palin even hot the scene in 2008, I was unimpressed with the Olympics being a main reason that Romney supporters were touting his qualifications...or at least it wasn't enough to get me on board the Romney train...and it still hasn't. BUT, like I said...his work was impressive...it just didn't impress me enough to warrant such adulation based on it.

jerseyrepublican

Anonymous said...

As for all of the "blue blood" type comments, did you see Jim Cramer on "Mad Money" speak about his interview with Mitt Romney? People thought he was endorsing Mitt, but Cramer was actually an Obama supporter. However, Cramer had an interview with Mitt at Bane, which he spoke about. In this segment Cramer said that Mitt was the like the smartest businessman on the planet.

That doesn't sound like nepotism, or anything like it, to me. Mitt has been very good at his work, and he still works very hard. He apparently did get something from his dad--a high level of energy. Fair or not, that is a gift that our POTUS could use!

AZ

hamaca said...

Jersey,

If I had to rank the three main components of his experience that impress me the most, I'd say 1) his work at Bain, 2) Being governor of MA, and then 3) the Olympics.

I think anyone who thinks the Olympics were his crowning achievement is simply uniformed.

What I do like is the combination of the three and that (in my view) he was very successful and three such differing endeavors.

Anonymous said...

hamaca, fair enough. I agree with your number 1 but only like half of his first term, you know how I feel about your number 3.

jerseyrepublican

hamaca said...

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