As a conservative American, married for forty years to the love of my life, father of six and grandfather of seventeen, and as a serial entrepreneur, I am deeply concerned, as are many, for the future of this great and blessed land. I have spent my career in business, banking and private equity. As an investor in and advisor to leading financial and business enterprises, I have witnessed the consequences of our Administration’s failed policies and ideologies. Even so, my concerns are not for me as much as they are for my progeny. A friend whom I have known for nearly seven years also echoes these same concerns. I came to know this great man, and his beautiful wife, when talking one morning about what could be done about the declining direction we were heading in our country, and their mutual yearning to make a critical difference in that direction. They had spent most of the previous decade in serving others, first in restoring confidence in and turning around the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and second in leading the effort to turnaround a severely broken state as Governor and First Lady. We talked about the threats and challenges we faced as a nation, and what might be done to move our country forward. We discussed the alternatives proposed by the left, and how those options could undermine the very foundations of our freedom. We knew it was a pivotal time for America – we just didn’t imagine then how far off course we could be taken. Even so, they were serious about embarking on a commitment few would ever consider, running for POTUS in the 2008.
Over the past seven years I have witnessed the heart of good friends, Mitt and Ann Romney. In public and private moments they always exhibit great character, class and caring commitment to that which matters most, to a cause greater than self. Their willing sacrifice for the Presidency is not driven by personal appetite for glory, power or position, but by a sincere desire to serve our Nation and each American. Illustrative of the point, Mitt Romney will most likely be the first individual in history, if elected President, to donate his salary to charity, as he has done in previous calls to serve. Sure, he can afford it, right? Mitt Romney’s business success and consequential wealth creation has been prominently discussed in the press and will continue to be fodder for the media as the class warfare campaign of Barack Obama unfolds. The fabrications of the media would paint Mitt Romney as aloof and out of touch – how could a person of such wealth and intelligence be anything else? Most Americans cannot fathom the thought of such abundance, and would expect anyone of such wealth to be as the media or others might paint them, elite and disconnected with the common man. When you think about it, most individuals who have risen to the height of Mitt Romney’s success become consumptive and at times, “self-exiled” in their abundance. Their personal lifestyle typically reflects what most can’t completely comprehend.
Parenthetically, I was recently co-teaching a financial markets MBA course at a leading university. The students were asked what they would do with a $25 million windfall – how they would invest it and/or how they would spend it. It was an interesting exercise, as some chose to invest the preponderance, while others chose philanthropy and others chose to consume up to 40%. What would you do?
What I do know is what Mitt and Ann Romney have done and are wont to do. They are the very antithesis of the media’s aloof creation. Aside from their great generosity in almsgiving, they have given of themselves, always. They care! And, they relate to you and me. They are as real as real gets, and those who have been touched by a personal experience can attest to who they truly are. Many, many individuals and families have experienced their empathy and caring love through anonymous acts of kindness. Further, their private lives are more like yours and mine than you might imagine. They do for themselves and their family what you and I do for ours – they do not live the life that many might expect.
Mitt and Ann Romney’s commitment to this country is heartfelt and self-evident in a sacrifice most of us would be unwilling to make, given their station in life. Amid their comfort, they and their family have chosen the greater good and set aside personal interest and seeming ease to serve. If anyone wants to know what is in store, seek out those who have served with them in past efforts, and you will come away knowing Mitt and Ann Romney a little better. Somehow the cynic in me doesn’t have confidence that the media will pursue such a course. And, Mitt and Ann Romney are not inclined to self-promotion. That said my hope is that those of us around them might take up the charge.
As we consider the choice before us and who it is that will lead our nation at this critical juncture, we must better understand where we have come from, where we are and why, and what is needed to put us on the right course to restore that which has been lost. With this foundation we can look to the character, competence and capacity of Mitt Romney and why it is so important that he be elected in this season of our nation’s struggles. Uniquely, Mitt Romney’s life and experience has been a preparation for this time, America’s defining moment.
Karen Hughes, former Advisor to President George W. Bush, provides tremendous and experienced insight here.
Jack Welch agrees and recently stated, “In my lifetime, Mitt Romney is the most qualified leader I’ve ever seen run for the Presidency of the United States.”