Mitt Romney Follows Father’s Footsteps & Other Candidates’ Kids Who Went for the Gold

How do those kids feel, standing on podiums behind their fathers as they concede defeat in their race for the presidency? Nobody’s asked Mitt Romney. Yet.

Mitt Romney with his parents as his father George Romney launched his campaign for governor, 1962.

Not that he doesn’t have a good politically strategic reason for avoiding the issue of his father George Romney’s failed bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, at least until he secures it for himself at next summer’s convention, even if those events are now just stage shows. After all, despite the national media having already crowned Romney, there is that process known as primaries to be gotten through so that party’s registered voters can add their two-cents.

Still, its not unreasonable to  suggest that at least part of what makes Mitt run is that his visionary, bold, unique  father went from leading all of 1968′s Republican candidates – to dropping out before the New Hampshire primary.

James Brown Clay, who abruptl;y abandoned the path of his father, the failed Whig presidential candidate ofd 1844 Henry Clay.

Ruth Bryan Owen

Most family members of political dynasties do well securing and hold seats in Congress or the Senate, but its tougher for those whose fathers sought the presidency,or even re-election to it, Jimmy Carter’s son Jack failed in his 2008 U.S. Senate bid. A decade after his father Henry Clay lost the 1844 presidential election. James Brown Clay went to Congress but quit after a term. In 1988, Skip Humphrey failed to win the U.S. Senate seat held by his father Hubert Humphrey, the failed 1968 Democratic Presidential candidate and then his mother Muriel.

Failed Republican Presidential candidate Alf Landon and his daughter Nancy, who was later elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right.

Some daughters have fared better. Although her father Democrat William Jennings Bryan lost the presidential races of 1896 and 1900, Ruth Bryan Owen was elected the first Congresswoman from Florid and first woman appointed an Ambassador (Denmark, 1933). Four decades after her father, Republican Al Landon lost to FDR in 1936, Nancy Landon Kassenbaum was elected to the U.S. Senate from Kansas, serving from 1978 to 1997.

Sixth President John Quincy Adams and his father, second President John Adams.

President William Howard Taft and his son Robert, who failed to achieve the presidency.

Father and Son Bush (Geoge H Bush Library)

Three Presidential sons sought some vindication for their fathers being defeated for re-election: John Quincy Adams (son of John Adams) won a term in 1824 before losing his own re-election four years later. George W. Bush won two terms in 2000 and 2004, his dad George H.W. having lost his 1992 re-election race. Less lucky was U.S. Senator Robert Taft, son of another one-term President, William Howard Taft (he lost re-election in 1912). Junior failed to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1952.

A poster with the father’s catchy campaign phrase.

Thus far, there’s been very little mentioned about whether Mitt’s possible mission might be to see some completion of his own father’s vision.

No Republican was more committed to civil rights, improving public education, getting everyday citizens to exercise as much influence in government as lobbying groups, fiscal responsibility yet absolute bi-partisanship than George Romney.

Hardly a record to run from or hide. Or is it?

Why would comparisons to George hurt Mitt?

Tomorrow: What Killed the  First Romney for President Campaign?


Categories: George W. Bush, John Adams, William Howard Taft

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