Growing Up Romney
Before you catch a whiff of election rhetoric and run, give “Growing Up Romney: Mitt, Tagg, and the Romney family’s myth of self-reliance” a read. It avoids punditry in its profile of Mitt’s son Tagg Romney, and gives us a lot to think about in the cultural and social, as well as the political, realms.
Its subtitle says it all; author Noam Scheiber uses Tagg’s life as a way to address the myth of the self-made man in the Romney family and in the US more generally. Also at stake are questions about what we inherit, how we narrate our own lives, and what we’re really talking about when we throw around terms like “the 47%.”
A key quote:
In any other circumstance, the Romney myth would be innocuous enough, even constructive. The danger arises when a family myth intersects with a governing vision, when the stories a presidential candidate tells himself shape the policies he favors for everyone else. Though he has always been generous with his fellow worshipers and neighbors, Mitt has supported a budget that would likely slash programs people without his means depend on, such as child care and food stamps. He has endorsed cuts to Medicaid that could leave seniors unable to pay for nursing homes and middle-class families unable to fully provide for disabled children. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to borrow money from their parents, even though most parents can’t oblige, however much they’d like to. Once you understand the Romney ethos, it makes sense that Mitt coolly dismissed nearly half the electorate as entitled takers.