Romney has not gotten a job in a decade

Last night it occurred to me that Mitt Romney hasn’t gotten a job in a long, long time.  Just how long took some calculating.  Romney ran for president last cycle and lost to McCain; he ran for the Senate before that and lost to Ted Kennedy.  Of course, he is wealthy enough he doesn’t need a job, but that’s not much of a qualification for running for president.  His claim to the world’s most powerful position is based on the strength of his executive experience but the dates attached to that experience are pretty distant: the Bain Capital spin-off that made him rich (or richer) happened two decades ago; the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that he helped rescue from financial turmoil was a decade ago.

So when did Mitt Romney last succeed in getting a job?  Nearly ten years ago, when he parlayed his Olympics success — backed up, as is his habit, by $6 million of his own fortune — into the governorship of Massachusetts.  He won that race in 2002 but decided not to seek re-election in 2006; since then, he has been looking for work.  What are some other things that happened in 2002?  The first American soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan, the euro became legal tender, WorldCom revealed it had cooked its books, American Taliban John Walker Lindh was convicted, Trent Lott resigned as Senate Majority Leader, and the #1 song was “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback.  How long ago does that seem?  Too long, certainly, to feel relevant to the current day.  As many others besides Romney have learned during the current economic downturn, after that much time out of the job market skills begin to atrophy, metabolisms slow, and you start to look like yesterday’s man.

It is a good thing Romney is rich because he is basically unemployable.

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The painting above is the official portrait of Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  Painted by Richard Whitney, it provides much to marvel at amid its general Thomas Kinkade-like color scheme but the main curiosity, surely, is the oddly angled head in the mini-portrait on Romney’s desk — we trust this is Ann, his high school sweetheart, but it looks no more like her than the larger portrait does Mitt.

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