Mitt: the Documentary

By: Mormon Heretic
January 27, 2014

A scene from the film shows Mitt ironing his shirt while wearing it.

This week is the Sundance Film Festival, and one of headlining movies was Mitt:  The documentary (it’s now available on Netflix.)   Don’t forget to participate in the LDS Film Festival coming up Feb 5-8.)  I’m curious if any of you have seen it?

I didn’t realize that the movie covered both of his campaigns (2008 & 2012), and I didn’t realize that it was John McCain that branded Mitt as a flip-flopper, a charge that stuck and he had an incredibly hard time shedding.

There was some interesting information about Mitt’s debate prep, but I was a little disappointed that the movie didn’t show more of the internal workings of the campaigns.  For example, we saw nothing of the deliberations about who would be his vice-presidential candidate (Paul Ryan.)  I wish there had been more recording of that.  But I thought Mitt was much more self-aware than has been portrayed in the media.  He was very realistic about his chances to become president, and it seems his aides were the ones who unrealistically thought he could become president.

I have looked at what happens to anybody in this country who loses as the nominee of their party, who loses the General Election.  {Romney makes the shape of an L on his forehead}  They become a loser for life.  That’s it.  It’s over.  {Crowd laughs}

And–you know Mike–Michael Dukakis? {former governor of Massachussetts who also ran for President against Ronald Reagan.}  He can’t get a job mowing lawns, all right?  We just brutalize whoever loses, all right?  And I know that, I know that, and so I’m going in with my eyes open.

I think my favorite quote came from his son Josh Romney.  The cameraman asked Josh, “Ever once have you thought, ‘This just isn’t worth it?’”  Josh responded,

You know, it’s hard for me to do these interviews because I’m so used to doing interview with the media, where I’m so trained to say ‘Absolutely not.  It’s been great to get to know the country…..

That’s so hard, but to actually speak my mind, it’s very different. {Josh laughs}

[Cameraman}, Okay, well, let’s do this, then do the media version, and then translate what’s really going on in your head.  Okay, so what’s the media answer to your question?

{Josh}  I just think the opportunity for someone like my dad to come in and run the country, and with the challenges we face in this country right now, to have someone with my dad’s experience, his knowledge and his vision for America, some that can come in and do this, it’s worth whatever it takes for us to get my dad into office.

Translation:  This is so awful.  {he laughs}  It’s so hard.  I mean you always hear about–they talk and they say, ‘Oh why can’t we just get someone good to run for president?’

And this is why.  This is why you don’t get good people running for president.  I mean what better guy is there than my dad?  You know, is he perfect?  Absolutely not.  He’s made mistakes, he’s done all sorts of things wrong, but for goodness sakes, here’s a brilliant guy who’s had his experience turning things around, which is what we need in this country.  It’s like this is the guy for the moment.  And we’re in this and you just get beat up constantly.

‘Oh, Mitt’s Romney’s a flip-flopper.  He’s this, he’s that.’  And you just kind of go, ‘Man, is this worth it?’  This is awful.  So, that’s the translation.  {he laughs}

In a Today Show interview, Mitt said he was very uncomfortable that the film crew filmed his family prayers.  I know that Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but ran again and won in 1968 and 1972.  Why do you think that we don’t have “losers” run again anymore?  Is the campaign process just too brutal?  Does one have to have concrete skin to endure the endless bashing of candidates?  What are your thoughts about the documentary?

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6 Responses to Mitt: the Documentary

  1. Daniel Ortner on January 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    The campaign staff denied he filmmaker access which is why there isn’t internal campaign discussion and why the 2012 primaries are glossed over.

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  2. hawkgrrrl on January 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    I watched this on Netflix a few days ago, and I liked it. I agree with the sentiment Josh expressed above. Why would anyone decent go through all that and be vilified and misunderstood? The best thing about the documentary is that you can see he’s not the heartless plutocrat presented. He’s fairly average, and much warmer than the media portrayed him.

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  3. NewlyHousewife on January 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    I see this as prep for another campaign. As for why people don’t continually run all the time, funding. Sooner or later people will stop donating to your campaign because it failed so many times. Eventually your track record has more power than your ability.

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  4. Mormon Heretic on January 27, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    On the Today Show interview, Mitt said “No” 11 times and said it was someone else’s turn to try for the nomination, so I doubt that he will run again.

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  5. Douglas on January 27, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Mitt should have brushed up on his history. Witness Richard Milhous Nixon (aka “Tricky Dick”, a label stuck on he with the ski-jump nose by his 1950 opponent for Senator from California, Helen Gahagen Douglas)…
    1952…nearly booted from Republican ticket as Ike’s VP. “Checkers” speeech saves his candidacy.

    1960…LOSES the Presidential nomination after two terms as Ike’s Veep, some say due to Richard Daley, Sr’s, uncanny ability to get the vote out from even the deceased, and likely started the phrase, “Vote early and OFTEN”.

    1962…LOSES for California Governor to incumbent Pat Brown (father of now third-term Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr, aka “Jerry” or “Moonbeam”). In his conceding speech, tells press, whom Nixon accuses of relishing in his political misfortune, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”.

    1968…After several years in private law practice, re-emerges as a surprise candidate in the Republican primaries, beating out better-regarded contendes such as Nelson Rockefeller and Mitt’s own Dad, George Romney. After LBJ’s refusal to seek re-election, and the RFK assassination, Democrat support for the current Veep, Hubert Humphrey, is lukewarm, with Southern Democrats deserting to the American Independent ticket of “Segregation Forever” George Wallace and “Bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age” Curtis LeMay. This turn of events hands Nixon the 1968 election.

    1972 – Nixon is re-elected, both on the perception of successes in the US Economy and in Vietnam (his successor would have to deal with a severe recession and the loss of Vietnam in what would have been the latter part of Nixon’s second term). In this same year, he allows his underlings to oversee the break-in of the Democratic Party’s National Headquarters in the Watergate complex, which would later end his Presidency.

    1974 – Nixon, facing certain impeachment and removal from office, resigns the Presidency and fades into apparent oblivion.

    1977 – Nixon re-emerges in the public spotlight in a series of interviews with TV personality David Frost. His popularity restrains the extant President, Jimmy Carter, from otherwise visiting as an unofficial US dignitary with China’s Deng Xiao-Peng.

    1981 – Accompanies Ford and Carter to the funeral of Anwar Sadat (who’d been assissinated by rebel Army officers who did not agree with the Camp David Accords)

    1986 – Time magazine has Nixon on it’s front cover with the Title..”He’s Back!”

    1993 – Nixon meets with newly-elected President Clinton, being the last succeeding President to consult with Nixon for his expertise on foreign affairs (even Carter sought Nixon’s advice, though only through functionaries, as he personally depised him). Both Reagan and Bush, Sr acknowledged Nixon’s advisory role in dealing with both the PRC and the Soviet Union in its last days.

    So, rumors of Mitt’s political demise may be exaggerated. The only one that can stop Mitt is himself, which for the time being, seems right. The man does have his faults but gluttony for punishment isn’t one of them.

    However, if you know anyone who has a better chance to prevent the swearing-in of Hillary Rodham Clinton on January 22, 2017, and you desire that be accomplished in an ethical and LAWFUL manner (I’ll rule out both incompetent doctors and some nut with a gun), then get behind that person.

    1974 – In the wake of the Watergate scandal, which Nixon likely could have avoided entirely with more candid admission, he resigns after the House Ju

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  6. Jeff Spector on January 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I watched it yesterday and had a number of impressions:

    1. There was a certain level of altruism about service that I admired.
    2. Mitt seemed most genuine during the scenes with the family. Though, he did greet family members like constituents. “Hi, how are you… How ya doin’ today.”
    3. I was a bit uncomfortable with the filming of the prayers, At least they didn’t ask God to make him President.
    4. Mitt seemed pretty conflicted about running at all. Seemed pretty fatalistic most of the time. Optimistic once in a while. Even after the first debate with Obama there was a fatal side to it.
    5. Let’s face it, he has the politics of a rich guy who grew up with privilege with a dose of Tea Party junk thrown in for appeal. He was the flippin’ Mormon, after all.
    6. Never could have would have voted for him. this only convinced me i was right about that.

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