Ah, 2007: today’s robust social web was a gleam in Zuckerberg’s eye, and blogging still had the allure of a new and mysterious technology. Also in that year, Mitt Romney first ran for president, dogged as always by accusations that he was more robot than human. What to do? Unleash the five Romney sons!
Tagg Romney, 37, loves the Sox and has a thing for Billy Joel. Matt Romney, 35, always tunes in to “Saturday Night Live,” and Josh Romney, 31, likes to surf and water-ski. Ben Romney, 29, hesitates to call his dog, Kingsley, a half yorkie and half poodle, “a yorkie-poo.” And Craig Romney, 26, a Tom Brady look-alike, has 337 friends on MySpace and cites his dad, along with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as his heroes.
Wholesome does not really begin to describe the five adult children of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who for the past few weeks have been sharing such details on Five Brothers, their blog and the most popular feature on the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign Web site. The blog is yet another medium to convey the image of dedicated family man that is an essential part of Romney’s identity as a candidate. Earlier this week, while most of his opponents introduced themselves during the Republican presidential debate by highlighting their rÃ©sumÃ©s, Romney started with, “I’m a husband, a father, a grandfather….”
The words belong to Jose Antonio Vargas, who wrote up the Romney boys’ blog as a part of his coverage of the digital side of the 2008 campaign for the Washington Post. In the process, I got what I think was my first quote in that paper’s esteemed pages:
“The blog does a really good job of humanizing the candidate,” said Colin Delaney [sic], founder and editor of Epolitics.com, a one-stop shop for tools and tactics of online campaigning. “I’m impressed by the consistency and the quality of the posts, which seem real and not scripted. Of course, this is politics, so of course at some level it’s scripted…. But it feels sincere, and that’s what counts when you’re trying to reach an audience.”
Epolitics.com was barely a year old that fine summer, and I owe the Romney brothers (and Jose) for that opportunity to get it in front of the Post’s readers. The Five Brothers blog has long disappeared from Mitt Romney’s site, alas, but you can still read it via the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive. Enjoy! And think about the difference 8 years has made in the look, feel and content of the political web.