5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mitt Romney
In the months leading up to a presidential election, things can get pretty ugly. Everywhere from my classes to my family emails to my Facebook have suddenly become a place for political discourse, and people are showing their true colors. And let’s just say they’re not all red, white, and blue like they pretend to be. I don’t particularly enjoy having to defend my basic views constantly, but my political views, especially on social issues, are a huge part of my personality, so I find myself drawn into these debates and ultimately having to explain to people why “feminist” isn’t a bad word and abortion isn’t a form a birth control and racism does, in fact, still exist. You would think that this makes me stay away from politics, but instead, it does quite the opposite. I find myself obsessively researching candidates, trying to find a glimpse of the human behind the shiny white teeth on the signs. Most of the time this ends up making me frustrated and sad, but I’ve also picked up some weird tidbits about people. Today, all of that pays off, because I am going to share my exciting knowledge with all of you! I hereby present the top five things about Mitt Romney that I’m currently trying to slip into casual conversations because I don’t know what else to do with this information.
1. He has a degree in English Literature
The Republican party likes to criticize Democrats, especially Barack Obama, for being intellectual and therefore elitist. They much prefer the good ol’ boy type who’d rather tune up a car than read a book. While I can’t really imagine Romney touching an engine, it turns out that he is rather well-read. An interview in the Washington Post cites his old professors at Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution:
“A strong conservative streak also ran through the classrooms, though some professors in the English department did their best to avoid Wilkinson and give their students a broader education. Reading lists in Romney’s major addressed the ideas of the civil rights movement. Faulkner replaced Hemingway on some syllabi. Richard Cracroft, a professor who went on to chair the English department, said he and others found ways to teach controversial novels such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Catcher In The Rye, though some established works also caused them headaches.
“These people would go right to the first presidency of the church,” he said, referring to the church’s highest governing body, “and say, ‘Cracroft is teaching this play by Shakespeare, and it is filthy.’ ”
In fact, Romney was even thinking of studying for his PhD in English before the head of the English department advised him to get his MBA, which he later earned from Harvard. It’s interesting to think about what would have become of the young man with a passion for literature had he chosen the path that he loved rather than what was financially profitable. It does, however, give us some insight on Romney’s policies on education. Why should we study what makes us happy when he couldn’t? It should also be noted that Romney now lists the Bible as his favorite book and seems embarrassed to discuss when he reads anything non-political.
2. He’s “unemployed”
In a June 2011 speech in Florida, Romney said that he was unemployed. Romney, who is worth about $230 million, made this hilarious comment in front of a group of people who had just finished telling him their own stories about seeking jobs in a rough economy. He then continued to joke about how he’s on LinkedIn and “has [his] sight on a particular job.” While his job since 2008 seems to have primarily been convincing people to like him, I don’t think that exactly qualifies him to empathize with people who struggle to support their families, feed themselves, or find housing, like many unemployed Americans do. But hey, at least he can laugh about it.
3. He’s been accused of being a bully — to people and animals
You’ve probably heard about this first story; when Romney was at prep school, he apparently pinned down a fellow student who was suspected of being gay and cut off his hair, which had recently been dyed blonde. But have you heard about this one involving a teacher people often mocked his poor eyesight?
Romney opened a first set of doors for [the teacher,] but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.
Sure, these are dumb high school pranks, and everyone makes mistakes. But there’s a difference between being a silly teenager and being mean-spirited and hurting people, which it appears that Romney did. There’s also the infamous account of Romney’s dog, Seamus, which he used to put in a dog crate on the roof of his station wagon for long drives, not even letting the dog out to relieve itself. This was done as an adult, so no excuses about youth there. I respect Mitt Romney, and I think he’s an intelligent person, but frankly, someone who does these kinds of things worries me.
4. He was one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002
For once, it’s not the women in politics being judged by their looks! This is also an honor which Barack Obama has never received, which seems like a shame, because our President is not a bad looking fellow. Regardless, though, Romney’s appearance has definitely contributed to his success in his political career, as does any good-looking politician’s. He’s also apparently quite shy. “Nothing embarrasses Mitt more than someone saying he’s good looking,” says former colleage Cindy Gillespie. He doesn’t know he’s beautiful, guys. That’s what makes him beautiful. (Listen, I asked my editors if it was okay to mix politics and pop music, and they said yes, so judge me all you want.)
5. He doesn’t like when you disagree with him
Romney’s usually known for being calm, cool, and collected, which is why it’s especially startling when he loses his temper. During his 2007 race for President, he was interviewed on a conservative radio show. All was going well until the host asked about his record of supporting marriage equality in Massachusetts; Romney responded by becoming aggravated, yelling at the host, and mentioning that he has a degree from Harvard Law School, and the host does not. I wasn’t aware that Harvard could be used an automatic out of uncomfortable questions, but I guess for all that money and prestige, it’s got to have some perks, right?
Would you like to hear facts about other candidates? Would you like me to stop googling arcane things? Let me know in the comments!