And The Better Sort, in this election, is Mitt Romney.
We did not need a speech to tell us this, of course. Almost every facet of Romney’s biography and personality fits the stereotypes of the old Main Line/Saint Grottlesex world. There’s the combination of great wealth and private frugality, the ruthless business acumen paired with the quiet works of charity, the personal probity joined to the clear discomfort with ideological fervor. And then there are the verbal tics – his description of Paul Ryan’s budget as “marvelous,” say, or his reference to athletes as being “in sport” – that suggest that Romney would be entirely at home in the works of John P. Marquand or Louis Auchincloss.Did any of those references make sense to you? Congratulations. Though you are no doubt possessed of a Yankee modesty that would keep you from boasting about your breeding and erudition, you are fit to rule. If not, I suggest that you retreat to Saint Grottlesex for a prep year.
But remember, it's not for himself alone that Romney's doing this. Take his wife's word for it. Douthat does!
But when she pivoted, took ownership of her husband’s throwback qualities and used them to plead his case, her address felt impressive, credible and true. The opening was populist in the style of almost every American political speech today, but the second half was more unusual: It acknowledged her husband’s good fortune, emphasized how hard he would work on behalf of average Americans rather than what he has in common with them, and portrayed the Republican nominee for president, ultimately, as a man forrather than of the people. Her best line evoked generations of reticent, public-spirited Brahmins: “Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.”In the final analysis, it doesn't matter if the particular utterances Romney makes are true. Only a churl would insist on verifying the truthfulness of a campaign's rhetorical pillars when the far more reliable (and polite) recourse to pedigree is available.
You don’t have to love him, the more effective parts of her speech implied, or relate to him, or even always necessarily agree with him. But you can trust him with the presidency, because he’s suited to public service, and he was born and raised and trained to do this job.This Douthat is going places. I've but one complaint: while he clearly possesses the kind of sexual repression required of a true gentleman, but he should really stop commenting on a lady's weight, even if she behaves like a brazen hussy.