Mitt Romney was born a child of privilege in the golden age of Detroit. It’s impossible to look back at those years objectively now, through the time-smeared window of history, as too much has changed to understand Detroit’s zeitgeist in the 1950s. It was indeed the center of the manufacturing universe, and those running companies were well aware of it.
If The Washington Post is to be believed, at least one of Romney’s classmates at the exclusive Cranbrook School viewed him as a prankster, playing tricks on students and faculty alike. Some were in good fun, like propping an English teacher’s Volkswagen Bug up on blocks so the rear wheels were just off the ground.
Other incidents, like encouraging the same teacher to walk into a set of closed doors, were perhaps viewed in a different light, and other incidents referenced by the Post clearly portrayed Romney in an unfavorable light for his actions as an adolescent.
As the saying goes, there are three sides to every story (yours, ours, and what actually happened) and the foil to the Washington Post piece can be found in the Automobile article, at least according to Breitbart.
Those interviewed for the Automobile piece don’t recall a young Mitt Romney flaunting his wealth; in fact, at a time when other children of industry executives were driving the latest hot cars from Detroit, Romney wasn’t given a set of keys at sixteen, nor did he have access to the latest hot cars on loan.
Perhaps it was because his father George headed perennial underdog AMC, but Automobile seems to indicate there was more to it than that. In fact, if you read between the lines, it’s apparent that George Romney was trying to instill values in his son that other industry execs didn’t bother with.
Perhaps the most telling statement was a lecture that the senior Romney once gave his son, after Mitt asked why so many consumers bought cars from brands other than AMC.
“Size doesn’t always indicate strength,” the elder Romney said, “popularity doesn’t always indicate truth, and sales volume doesn’t always indicate value. And right will always prevail.”
Whether or not Romney took those words to heart depends on whether you believe The Washington Post or Automobile magazine.