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There’s a huge problem when a candidate for President of the United States does not run on his previous job experience. Case in point: Mitt Romney. It is no secret that Romney has shied away from reminding voters of his experience as Governor of Massachusetts. Oh, but he’s done other things that are more relevant to the current state of affairs? He has instead focused his campaign squarely on his experience as a “job creator” because the ailing economy is the prevailing issue in this election? Even if I were to grant him the idea that he’s playing to his strengths (which he’s not), the problem remains that Romney is decidedly running away from campaigning on the only elected office he ever held.
Like it or not, Romney’s governorship is his only record of elected public service. (No, running the Olympics–singlehandedly, as he’d like us to believe–doesn’t count, sorry.) His tenure as Massachusetts Governor is his only political experience. For those who gripe about Obama’s “lack of experience” going into the Presidency, take a look at Romney. Seriously.
One can’t really blame Romney from not wanting to highlight his Massachusetts experience. The most glaring reason that pundits love to point to is “Romneycare”, aka the Massachusetts Health Plan, aka the so-called “blueprint” for “Obamacare”. But wait…there’s more. Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 in a list of states for job creation during Romney’s time as Governor. In fact, the state was 37th in the nation when Romney became Governor, and moved down 10 slots when he left. This certainly runs counter to the “job creation” ethic he’s created for his campaign. There was no recession when he was Governor of Massachusetts. No statewide natural disaster occurred. What could have happened? Oh, right. Mitt Romney CUT jobs. Oops.
The previous point is a particularly important one. Romney bills himself as a “job creator”. His Massachusetts record tells a different story. Perhaps he should not be held accountable for the dismal job numbers in his state. Perhaps he doesn’t have very much control over actual job creation as a governor. The same must be applied to President Obama, then. Romney is unwilling to grant the president the same luxury. Besides, direct actions by Romney impacted the number of jobs created in his state.
Romney is also running on the platform that he doesn’t discriminate against women or LGBT people. A quick look at the bills he passed against protections for both communities and the funding cuts for domestic violence programs for women tells a different story. Oops again.
Moving beyond the issues, there’s a much more fundamental issue. Residents of Massachusetts don’t like him. Yes, it’s a blue state. Maybe he’s fighting an uphill battle. Too bad not even Republicans tend to view his Governorship favorably.
Lest we credit Romney for acting strategically in an important political race, I must once again be the bearer of bad news. Romney has not been elected by the public for any other position IN HIS LIFE. Even if his record at Bain Capital was all sunshine and rainbows (which, again, it’s not), would you really want to elect a Herman Cain type to be President of the United States? Yes, we all agree Mr. 999 has been a successful businessman–but he is a joke as president. What’s Romney’s advantage? That he has political experience (however slight) and that maybe he can pronounce the word “Uzbekistan”. Maybe. It’s not a tax haven, so who knows?
The point is that Mitt Romney’s governorship is the only yardstick with which we, the American people, have to measure him politically. He can’t run from his record. He has definitely tried (shredding records as he was leaving office, dodging questions in interviews), but the fact remains. This period of his life as Governor of Massachusetts is important. Romney cannot just pretend this part of his career did not exist. It’s not as if it will just go away if he never talks about it. He is running for what is ostensibly the most powerful job in the world. His only quasi-comparable experience in governing was as Massachusetts Governor. As much as he may want to sanitize it, or leave entire parts out, Romney’s record—in its entirety—should be scrutinized.