Theodore Roosevelt had little patience with people who criticized politicians but would not run themselves.
Mr. Romney ran.
He is a smart man, good looking, healthy, with an attractive family. He did not have to give up six years of his life to campaign. He did not have to serve as governor, in the Olympics, or run for the White House.
Mitt Romney wanted to help.
He always wants to help.
Everyone has mixed motives all the time, but the best of us are mostly guided by our better impulses. Mr. Romney is one such man.
Many writers are pointing out that Mr. Romney has “no future in politics,” because he was not a movement guy. This is true, unless the movement was patriotism. The simplest explanation for most of his life choices is his Mormon faith and his Mormon faith taught him love of country and his fellow human beings. Following him politically in this Mormon moment exposed me to the positive elements of that tradition.
An incumbent in trouble was bound to demonize such a man and Mr. Romney knew the attacks were coming. He thought he could beat them, but he was wrong. Millions of Americans did not vote, because they accepted the attacks. Millions turned on him, but it worth remember that in the first debate, his most shining moment, he undid much of the billion dollars worth of damage.
He ended with favorables as high as the President of the United States.
I don’t believe that Mr. Romney was a perfect candidate any more than I believe that he is a perfect man. His “move left” to win in Massachusetts was untrue to his religious roots and some of his primary positions seemed forced and false to his true beliefs. He is moderate man . . . not in political terms, but in the old sense of the virtue associated with being even keeled and prudent.
This is not an age for moderation and so he often tried to ape zeal. He is no zealot and never will be. He is prudent man, a cautious man, a reasonable man, a helpful man.
Mitt Romney would have been an excellent President, just as his father would have been a fine chief executive. Sadly, the first Mr. Romney lived in the age of Nixon while his son lives in the age of Obama. Both were bested by men who understood the devils and angels of the age better.
I wish I could listen to Mr. Romney tell stories like he did at the Al Smith dinner. I wish I had a greater chance to see him as he appears in the talkradio interview where his religious beliefs were challenged. I wish he were President of the United States, but he will never be.
But I am thankful for his service. What will Mr. Romney do next?
He will find some way to help, just as he has always done and has often been the case most may never know how he helped.
God bless the United States of America and Mitt Romney, the moderate man in the arena.