The news is filled with surprise over Ed Gillespie’s statement on CNN that Willard “Mitt” Romney retroactively retired from Bain Capital.
On one level this is the ultimate Mitt-Flop. Romney was retired before he said he was retired. It was three years of rewriting Bain history, SEC filings be damned. This might take folks by surprise in the rest of the nation, but (yawn) here in Massachusetts we can only ask one thing.
What else is new?
Our beloved commonwealth elected Mr. Romney to a four-year term as our governor in 2002. He took office in January, 2003, and he never really showed any kind of love for the job. Unless he was mounting a campaign to kick around Billy Bulger or Matt Amorello, you just didn’t see much of the governor. He didn’t seem to like being governor, didn’t seem to be engaged in governing the state. Instead of creating jobs (MA was 47th out of 50 states under Romney), his trade missions were designed to trash the state that elected him.
“Being a conservative Republican in Massachusetts,” he told a GOP audience in South Carolina, “is a bit like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.”
The Washington Post took note of this (September 26, 2005), and found the political climate to be outright hostile. “For an incumbent governor to make fun of the state seemed gratuitous,” said Jeffrey M. Berry, a professor of political science at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “I think people sort of felt he was flipping the bird to voters here.” Mitt was polling at 38% and dropping.
This retroactive retirement makes a ton of sense. In 2006, Willard Romney spent 212 days outside of Massachusetts on his “trash the Commonwealth” road tour. His minimal effort at governance went south, literally and figuratively, after his legislative candidates were thrashed in 2004.
It’s obvious that Willard “Mitt” Romney retroactively retired as Massachusetts governor, just like he retroactively retired from Bain. All we need to formalize our corner office reality, and to commission the portrait of Acting Governor Kerry Healey, is the official declaration of retirement from Ed Gillespie.