I don’t have anything to add on the quality of the speeches. But here’s what really strikes me about Romney, and in a good way: The man was governor, ran for Senate against a man of profoundly debased moral character, and has been running for president for five years, and only now are we hearing much about the powerful stories reflective of his character, like those of David Oparowski and Rob and Reed Nixon and Joey O’Donnell and Melissa Gay and more.
It’s not just that these are the actions of an admirable man, which they are. Nor even that he did not do his charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. On top of all that, despite all the temptations and probably even pleas by his handlers, Romney sees it as unseemly to boast about them. As one of his sons said, “but when it comes to personal stories, especially the ones where he rescued someone or helped people, it feels like he is bragging, and he is a little reluctant to tell them.”
It’s that reticence to talk about acts of Christian charity that I find most encouraging. We’re never going back to the days of John Quincy Adams, who thought “the Presidency of the United States is not an office to be either sought or declined.” But the idea of a nominee who is uncomfortable prostituting every aspect of his life in order to gain office is deeply reassuring.
It somehow reminds me of the scene in Sergeant York where Gary Cooper, presented with numerous offers to be a celebrity endorser, tells the Cordell Hull character, “What we done in France is something we had to do. Some fellows done it ain’t a-comin’ back. So, the way I figure, things like that ain’t for buyin’ and sellin’.”