Who he is: Mitt Romney, having established himself as a businessman and author, is also known for being the 70th governor of Massachusetts, from 2003 to 2007 and in 2012, was the Republican Party candidate for US president. His vice presidential running mate was Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.
Romney's success as a conservative in a predominantly liberal state may be due in part to having been more liberal in his positions at the time of his election. The question continues to plague him: Is he too apt to compromise with those who want more of the same failed policies of the past?
Romney likes numbers. He has proven his business acumen living by them, strategizing, evaluating and making what he considers to be sound decisions. When it comes to Romney's social conservatism stance, however, his ideological purity has always been questionable. Mitt Romney is a man who values pragmatic competence over philosophical consistency.
In fact, this is one of the main criticisms of Mitt Romney. The US faced a US$14 trillion deficit and some US$200 million in unfulfilled obligations at the time of the 2012 election. Tea Party types and others uncomfortable with business-as-usual argue that Romney represents simply "more of the same."
Romney, in this view, is too eager to compromise and apt to endorse and implement socialist and leveling strategies rather than stand firm on the conservative values he purports to hold. The US needs less public sector involvement, this line of criticism continues, not more. But under Romney, had he been elected, although the rhetoric would change the reality would have remained the same.
Mitt Romney is a statist, a man immersed in a culture of modern pragmatism. He is not a philosopher-politician like the influential libertarian Ron Paul. Romney is essentially a shallow man ... the proverbial "empty suit."
Background: Born in Detroit into a traditional Mormon family on March 12, 1947, Willard Mitt Romney was the youngest of four children of George W. Romney and Lenore Romney. Romney's name is derived from his father's best friend, hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott, and his father's cousin and former Chicago Bears quarterback, Milton "Mitt" Romney.
A skillful businessman in his own right, George Romney was appointed CEO of American Motors and brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy. Mitt idolized his father, a three-term Michigan governor, emulating his model on religion, education, business and politics.
Mitt would intern for his father in the Michigan governor's office and was there for the 1964 Republican National Convention. As a young adult, Mitt Romney saw his moderate father battling ideological extremism and civil rights issues with conservative Barry Goldwater.
In 1966, Romney embarked on a 30-month mission for the Mormon Church in France, where he reports having been confronted with a deepening religious conviction after facing many challenges. Upon his return to the United States, Romney had gained an appreciation for the fragile nature of life as well as a newfound ambition and tenacity of purpose. He then attended Brigham Young University, met and married Ann Davies and fathered five sons.
Mitt Romney graduated in 1975 from Harvard with a joint JD, cum laude, ranking in the top third of his law class, and MBA, for which he was named a Baker Scholar, being in the top five percent. Romney was readied to embark on an influential career. Unfortunately, that career has reinforced the status quo rather than the free-market thinking the US so desperately needs.