A profile of Gov. Mitt Romney’s eldest son Tagg, and his family’s “myth of self-reliance”:
Not long after graduating from Harvard Business School, he turned down offers from several prominent firms to join an obscure start-up called eGrad, whose meager resources gave it a kind of grunge aesthetic: secondhand furniture and heating so erratic he brought in blankets to keep warm. When Tagg wasn’t cold calling would-be corporate partners, he could sometimes be found packaging merchandise and mailing it. But making it on your own is never so clear-cut when you’re a Romney. Some of the biggest meetings he landed were with Staples, which his father had funded at Bain Capital, and General Motors, a company where his last name still carried weight.
Tagg’s biography is littered with similar stories—short cuts he couldn’t have taken without his last name, obstacles that melted away before he was even aware of them. And yet, thanks to the Romney myth, he and his family believe that most of what he has achieved comes from old-fashioned industriousness, not older-fashioned status and wealth.
Tagg’s blind spots, however, are largely forgivable. Everyone looks in the mirror on occasion and sees a taller, thinner, more virtuous version of himself. The problem is that Tagg’s blind spots are also Mitt’s. And Mitt’s peculiar version of reality doesn’t just drive him personally; it skews his politics and shapes his policies. It distorts his entire vision of how a president should govern.