In 1964, a young Mitt Romney attended the Republican convention in San Francisco, accompanying George Romney, the popular governor of Michigan and part of a group of pragmatic, moderate Republicans that were thriving then, but on the path to extinction within a decade. Barry Goldwater was the nominee that year, and Gov. Romney walked out of the convention because of Goldwater's opposition to civil rights legislation. Romney’s father, according to an account in “The Real Romney” by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, wrote Goldwater a letter that said, “Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlocks, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress.”
That is a remarkable statement on many levels, given the political party Mitt Romney will stand before in just two nights. I can only wonder how much he will be thinking about his father, whom he revered, when he steps to the podium to claim the prize that eluded the senior Romney. What will he feel? Unlike his father, of course, Mitt Romney has been willing to sacrifice his principles repeatedly for political expediency. I wonder how that feels, too.