Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mitt's First Date,
And Some Automotive History

Mitt’s first date, as recounted by Ron Kessler (link):

When he picked up Ann Davies for their first date, Mitt Romney left nothing to chance. He arrived in a red Marlin, a new fastback model made by his father's American Motors Co. Mitt had cleaned and polished the car until it gleamed. He brought along a bottle of sparkling Catawba grape juice and two chilled glasses.

Mitt took Ann, then 15, to see "The Sound of Music."

More than four decades later…

I’m having a bit of trouble with the dates here, but Mitt was born in 1947. “More than 40 years ago” would be before 1967. I’m assuming she’s younger than he is, and if he was driving, I assume he was at least 16. So, 1963-66.

Romney’s father was, of course, once president of American Motors. In fact, quite a good one: he developed the high-visibility “Rambler” line—fuel-efficient economy cars whose only real problem was that they were 20 years ahead of their time (Wiki has some good history).

But Romney left Rambler in 1962 to run (successfully) for governor of Michigan, a post he held from 1963 to 1969 (a period that bracketed his unsuccessful run for president in 1964). Conceding that conflicts standards were more relaxed in those days, I assume he was not involved in AMC management during that period. I haven’t any idea how much stock he continued to hold.

The Marlin was in large measure the brainchild of Romney’s successor, Roy Abernathy, one of those guys—there seem to be a lot of them in the car business—who loved cars too much and balance sheets too little. It was a success d’estime among car fans, but Abernathy’s grand strategy came near to destroying the company before he was ousted by Roy Chapin, Jr., in 1968.

So Romney’s story is—well, not really a lie, on the order of saying you’re a lifelong hunter when in fact you never owned a hunting license. But it’s a bit of marketing. The Marlin was really not the product of his father’s car company, and his father had reason to be glad of it.

H/T Pearlstein

Clarification: In the sentence that begins "So Romney's story is"--I first left out the "not" between "well" and "really." This was an editing error of mine, which I have corrected, although it was perhaps obvious what I meant from the context anyway.


Matt said...

So you're saying if the story would've excluded the words "his father's" it would pass your sniff test?? Common' already, is this the best people can do? You actually are calling him out on referring to the company his Dad had probably just recently left to go run the state of Michigan as "his father's" car company?? You must be some kind of serious Romney hater.

It's pointless hit pieces like this that just help remind us all of how squeeky clean Mitt Romney is, as people cannot come up with anything of substance to hit him on.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you trust deleted/merged wikipedia articles (Google Cached version) Ann Romney was born in 1949, which would make all this happen 1964-5.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't just look up when the Sound of Music came out. According to imdb, it was released in 1965, which means the date couldn't have been before then.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, that's close enough for 40-year remembrances (and no obvious indicators of a lie). I wouldn't be surprised if Mitt thought of AMC as 'my father's company' for many years.