That earlier one, “Turnaround,” was an account of his takeover of the scandal-ridden 2002 Winter Olympics, and read like one of those volumes that line the shelves of the management and leadership sections at the bookstore. “No Apology,” published in 2010 and featuring a slightly grayer Mitt Romney on the cover, was his manifesto, a dense read with chapter titles such as “Why Nations Decline” and “A Free and Productive Economy.”
“He felt very clear, having written the book, about what he thought the prescriptions were,” said Robert White, a partner of Romney from his Bain Capital days who remains one of his closest friends and advisers.
Romney stayed within the bounds of Republican orthodoxy, but some of his ideas were edgy, especially amid economic uncertainty. In 2008, Romney was accused of pandering when he told auto workers in Michigan and textile workers in South Carolina that he would “fight to save every job.” In his subsequent book, he championed “creative destruction” — the downsizing and restructuring of businesses to make room for innovation.
That left an opening for his opponents to remind voters that his work in private equity had been on behalf of investors, not the workers of the companies he acquired.
In New Hampshire, Gingrich accused Romney of having “looted” companies; in South Carolina, Perry said Romney had gotten rich off “failures and sticking it to someone else.” But both of Romney’s rivals ended up finding themselves on the defensive for rhetoric that, to Republican voters, sounded anti-business. That was part of the Teflon that Gingrich described — the base did not want to hear language that might come back to haunt their ultimate nominee.
In picking Romney, the increasingly conservative Republican Party voted with its head, rather than its heart.
Some worry about the consequences if that bet turns out to have been wrong. “If he is not successful, holy Toledo, there will be hell to pay in this party. The right wing is going to drive further right,” said Gross, Romney’s former Iowa chairman.
But that may happen even if he does win. For the Republican Party has decided that Mitt Romney is the means to an end. Which is exactly the point he has been making all along.
Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this story.