Revealing Mitt Romney

28 September 2012

image I suspected that a key motivation for Mitt Romney to run for president is that he wants to achieve what his father did not. Nicholas Lehman in his New Yorker profile provides evidence that this interpretation is correct. The profile make you understand Mitt Romney very well.

TRANSACTION MAN: Mormonism, private equity, and the making of a candidate.

Lehman explores Romney’s background through historical research, and by talking at length with Romney’s friends and colleagues, as well as with the candidate himself. If elected, Romney, scion of an old, distinguished Mormon family (his ancestors had a direct connection to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young), would arguably be the most actively religious President in American history; he’s been deeply influenced by the Mormon values of personal discipline and business-centric practicality. His approach to problem-solving, meanwhile, has developed over the course of a long career as a consultant, at Bain & Company, and in private equity, at Bain Capital; he thinks of himself as a rescuer, someone who can apply data-driven analyses to otherwise intractable problems and emerge with workable solutions. Romney, in short, presents an unusual combination: personally, he is driven by old-fashioned values, while professionally he is thoroughly modern, a prime mover in the finance-driven, post-corporate, essentially transactional economy that has come to define America in the early twenty-first century. Though Romney is direct, pleasant, and engaged in small groups, his campaign has been hindered by his inability to open up in front of crowds.

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