An open letter to Mitt Romney

2012-11-10T02:45:00Z An open letter to Mitt RomneyBy DR. MARK W. HENDRICKSON The Times and Democrat
November 10, 2012 2:45 am  • 

I have awakened on Nov. 7 to learn that your bid for the presidency was unsuccessful. In the midst of the disappointment that I share with you, I want to thank you for devoting years of your life to the wearisome task of running for president. Millions of Americans are grateful to you.

You have been one of my heroes for the past 48 years. I still recall vividly the valiant cross country race you ran at our Cranbrook Homecoming in October 1964 — a race when you willed yourself to run faster than you ever had until, near the end, oxygen starvation set in, causing you first to stagger, then to collapse just 30 yards from the finish line. I can still see your face, ashen and contorted in pain, as you ignored the torture of the cinders on the track scraping against soft skin and began to crawl.

Even though every other runner passed you, and you had nothing to gain — other than surcease of agony — from dragging yourself to the finish line, you refused to quit until you reached your goal. Your brave effort touched me deeply. That’s when I learned that you were special — a man of character, commitment, heart and guts, someone who embodied the indomitable American spirit.

I also admired your exuberant joie de vivre. You loved life, and I can see that your great capacity for love found abundantly happy fulfillment in your life with your wife and sons. I also remember your friendship with Chester, our night watchman at Cranbrook. At prep school, there can be a tendency to disregard the support staff, to take them for granted like the furniture, but you reached out to that good, simple, kind, salt-of-the-earth security guard. (Just for the record, I befriended Chester, too, during my senior year, so I feel we share that bond.)

Nobody can doubt your love for our country. Whereas your opponent concentrated on lining up support from key special interest groups, your focus was more akin to the patriotic statesman than the opportunistic politician — it was so clear that you wanted to get our country back on track. As we can now see, that wasn’t to be.

What occurs to me is that, by losing the election, you might have been spared a cruel fate. If elected, you would have inherited an economic mess. The problem isn’t just the looming fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, but the overall financial situation of our government is clearly unsustainable and nonviable.

Entitlement spending has mushroomed so that it — combined with interest on the national debt — now consumes virtually every dollar of tax revenue. That means that the various departments and agencies that we normally think of as “the federal government,” from the Pentagon through the EPA and everything in between, is being run on borrowed (or “quantitatively eased”) dollars.

No president could trim entitlement spending or shut down enough of the government to stanch the flood of red ink. Government indebtedness will continue to balloon and our currency will continue to be debauched, and it would have been impossible for you, given the prevalent attitudes of the people, to halt that insidious process.

You might have tried by firing Ben Bernanke and replacing him with someone who would stop quantitative easing, but that would have caused interest rates to rise and the federal government to become insolvent, triggering a crisis that would have made you a vilified president.

The presidency at this juncture in history strikes me as an impossible job. Both domestic and foreign policy seem to be Gordian knots that no mere mortal can cut. I know, though, that you would have valiantly been willing to give your all in the attempt to help your country at this difficult time.

Your path as president would have been as excruciating as those last 30 yards of that cross country race you ran so long ago, but you would have addressed the challenge with the same determination and commitment as you did then. Now those awful burdens you would have been willing to shoulder fall on your opponent, and we’ll see what kind of shoulders he has.

You gave years of your life for the chance to be of service to your country, Mitt, and you lived by our school motto, “Aim High.” You did us proud.

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. This column first appeared at

Copyright 2015 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. Harvey Elwood
    Report Abuse
    Harvey Elwood - November 11, 2012 8:23 am
    Public service does not start nor should it end with the Presidency. Jimmy Carter is a true testament to that, as are both Presidents Bush and Clinton. Once a person enters the national and world stage carrying the hope and support of millions, perhaps is their best opportunity to really do some good, not being confined to the whims of party or extreme position.

    So often is God’s name evoked in guiding our steps and actions and if we truly believe that, then we find the real answers and calling on our lives as leaders. The greatest figures of all time were not office holders, but women and men called to a much higher purpose.

    Mr. Romney should know that better than anyone and many hope to see his best service to God and Country now that he has the opportunity to do just that, in a much greater way than being a President.

    No one has all the answers to the issues facing our world. But never before have good people been needed for service to humanity, using their leadership in a manner that brings good ideas and our nation together for its prosperity and the next generation.

    ■ Harvey Elwood, Jr. – Orangeburg, South Carolina
  2. pkorah
    Report Abuse
    pkorah - November 10, 2012 6:55 am

    Even so I feel Mr. Romney was the best person to lead america at this juncture. Mr. Romney fought a good fight. Feels very disappointed with the results. Now hope for the best.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick