Mitt’s father, George Romney, failed to win the GOP nomination in 1968 for two main reasons: he did not endorse Goldwater in 1964 and he said that he had been “brainwashed” about Vietnam. In 1964, Romney was a stronger supporter of civil rights than Goldwater was and that led to his refusal to endorse Goldwater. It was a standing joke in Washington during the LBJ presidency that LBJ was “brainwashing” everyone about Vietnam. The brainwashing comment was not meant seriously, but it haunted the Romney candidacy.
George Romney was a moderate-to-liberal member of the GOP, and he was somewhat to the left of where President Obama is now.The Democratic Party then contained a wide variety of political views, but the dominant view then was further to the left of George Romney. If he had been elected in 1968, I think that George would have been a good president, certainly much better than Richard Nixon.
Mitt Romney shares few, if any, of his father’s political strengths, and he lacks his father’s honesty and decency. Like many father/son rivalries of the past, Mitt wanted to equal or surpass his father’s achievements, but lacked his father’s abilities. We have just lived through eight years produced by the father/son rivalry between George H W Bush and George W Bush. George H W Bush was an average president; George W was a terrible president. With the results of their example still affecting millions around the world, we must avoid repeating it with the Romney father and son rivalry.