After he was tag-teamed in this morning’s debate by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who doubted his suggestion that he did not run for reelection as governor of Massachusetts because he wanted to return to the private sector, Mitt Romney recalled some interesting advice his father once gave him. In essence this advice was: Don’t run for office unless you are rich.
Here is what Romney said:
Mr. Speaker, citizenship has always been on my mind. And I happened to see my dad run for governor when he was 54 years old. He had good advice to me. He said: Mitt, never get involved in politics if you have to win election to pay a mortgage. If you find yourself in a position when you can serve, why, you ought to have a responsibility to do so if you think you can make a difference. He said: Also, don’t get involved in politics if your kids are still young because it may turn their heads. I never thought I would get involved in politics.
This raises a question: Is Romney saying that not running for office unless you don’t need a salary to cover a mortgage was good advice for him personally? Or is he saying it is good advice generally?
If he is saying the latter, it juxtaposes interestingly with his theme of being a champion for the middle class. Perhaps his motto should be: Politicians should defend the middle class, but not be part of it.
— Terence P. Jeffrey is author of Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life.