Mitt Romney was more than a defeated candidate in Feb 2008.
Yes, he lost early.
Yes, he lost credibility.
And yes, his lackluster campaign deserved the beating that it received.
Yet, four short years later Mitt Romney is the GOP Nominee for President.
How did that happen?
To a man whose success was uniquely tied to his own abilities, his flame-out failure in 2008 was completely new to him and may have made him the successful candidate he now is. He lost because others lost with him.
He lost because he was lost... and looking for a purpose.
And he decided to re-himself...
Re-making due to pain? Maybe...
Re-newal due to change of politics? Probably to a minor degree, but not wholly the reason, I'd guess.
Re-invention due to looking at his pathetic performance and making a decision he could do better?
Well the word "re-invention" is a little too harsh to use, maybe "re-investigate" oneself comes closest to describing his thinking and subsequent actions.
Yeah, re-investigate. That's it.
The NY Times presents that line of reasoning, as well.
"From the moment that Mr. Romney ended his first bid for the Republican nomination, he complained to friends, advisers and family that he had felt cheated out of a chance to explain himself to the country. He had emerged from his debut on the national political stage, he told them, as a caricature he did not recognize: emotionally uncaring, intellectually inauthentic, ideologically malleable.
Over the next three years, a little-examined period in his life, he sought to reclaim his public identity with the self-critical eye, marketing savvy and systematic rigor of the corporate consultant that he once was"
Romney had no interest in losing. He also had very little experience in losing. Yes, he lost to Ted Kennedy. But other than that, Mitt Romney won... he won things... he won money.
He simply won.
He not only lost, he lost big.
Again the NY Times:
"He coolly assessed the failings of his 2008 campaign and undertook an intensive yearlong tutorial on everything from the tax code to global jihadism. He wrote a book laying out his vision and values to answer conservative doubters and counter charges of flip-flopping, elbowing aside a ghost writer who he felt could not accurately channel his voice."
He let his losing teach him how to win.
His GOP Presidential nomination is the culmination of this longitudinal time of learning.
Defeat does that.
I too lost and... I too lost big.
I learned that I needed to dig deeper, to learn more to be more vulnerable.
I learned that I did not know it all. I also learned that there were other smart minds on certain key issues, who could advise me. Advise... not Direct.
And in acknowledging those other minds, I also learned when to simply shut them off.
And that's where I am today.
It's why I came forward in 2010 to help a struggling GOP primary candidate for US Congress in Idaho's 1st CD. Raul Labrador now sits in Congress because of many people who helped him. I just happened to be one of the first to come aboard as his spokesman in that year's GOP primary.
I no longer had to be on the front line as only a player. I could help as a player/coach - never getting rid of my jersey. Politics remains a part of me, though certainly not at the level of "political guru" others claim me to be.
I learned that politics is so much more than budgets, though budgets direct the powerful flow of money.
I learned that each of us needs to encourage the others - to love and good works. Ann Romney's convention speech was replete with that truth.
I learned that when moments in time meet a person prepared, then service is the natural by-product. And both coaches and players make the team. All the players...
And when we allow that to happen, defeat is not defeat.
For Mitt Romney, for Raul Labrador, for you and for me.
My upcoming book on the changing of positions in life, entitled Beautiful Nate, presents my own public and private changes.
Yes it is about my son, Nate, who passed away at age 27, but it is so much more.
It is a book that offers a chance for people to re-investigate themselves
Mitt Romney's 2010 book helped America see him (and ourselves) clearer today.
It is my fondest hope that Beautiful Nate clearly challenges the reader to something similar - what Ann Romney spoke about in describing the changes in their life together - love and good works.