As Adele would say, “Rumor has it…” that Mitt Romney is mulling over a third-time’s-the-charm run for the presidency. He’s taken a look around at the political landscape and determined that the time has come. Again.
One would think that, between his two failures to achieve that goal, not to mention his father coming up short against Nixon in 1968, he’d have had his fill of presidential campaigning.
Full disclosure time: I’m a Democrat. From that perspective, I should welcome a two-time loser to oppose whoever the Democrats prop up.
This is my attempt to discourage him from running in 2016, which means running starting yesterday, since presidential campaigns are interminable these days. It’s not whether I think he’ll win or lose. It’s not whether I agree with his potential policies. No, my problem is less ideological than medical.
It’s well known that Mitt’s wife Ann has MS. It’s less well known that the 2012 campaign had a huge detrimental effect on Mrs. Romney’s condition. In fact, from what I’ve been able to determine, the rigors of the campaign trail caused an (choose your favorite term) attack/remission/exacerbation/setback/flareup. As she put it, “I hit empty. With MS you just run out of fuel. You just stop. You can’t even go on. You can’t even talk.” That sounds bad.
Stress wreaks havoc on most (nothing about MS can be applied to “all”) people with MS. I can’t even imagine a more stressful experience than a presidential campaign. (That’s why you’ll never see me running for president. There are other reasons, but that one puts me in the best light.) Who knows what another run for the presidency would do to this woman’s health.
As best as I can figure from my reading of news reports and interviews, Ann and Mitt agreed that 2016 was out of the question. When asked about 2012, she responded, “We said at the end, we will never do this again.” That sounds pretty nonnegotiable. Why the sudden change of heart? Did they both agree… again? Did Ann sacrificially encourage her husband to ignore the potential negative effects a campaign would have on her debilitating condition since he’s the only person who could possibly prevent the end of civilization as we know it? Or did Mitt put his foot down when he looked at the current pathetic field of potential Republican candidates?
I don’t care how it happened. What kind of man makes the decision to participate in an activity that could cripple his wife? Not someone with an ounce of compassion.
Ann has said that, in lieu of another campaign, she will pour whatever energy MS leaves her into the new “Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases” at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. So a run by Mitt would mean either Ann won’t participate at all in his campaign – like that’s going to happen – or this center will suffer. That would mean all those who could benefit from such a facility would suffer, too.
That’s a high price to pay to satisfy one man’s craving for power, redemption, or whatever else motivates the man.
Those of us with MS know the value of a supportive spouse in our fight against this “scum-sucking pig of a disease” (thank you for your way with words, Teri Garr). There’s no way my wife would intentionally jeopardize my well-being, nor would I hers. I’ve already seen way too many partners of people with MS who, ignoring the consequences, leave those folks in the lurch.
Mitt, please spare Ann. The MS world doesn’t need another negative role model.
(I know this will be seen by some as a partisan liberal diatribe, but I’d feel the same way if it were a Democrat or a candidate of any other stripe.)