by Linda Beale

More on Romney’s Privileged Roots
The New York Times ran a story on Rmoney on Sunday but with quite a different take than the Journal’s interview by Paul Gigot that I reported on yesterday.  See, At Harvard, A Master’s in Problem Solving, New York Times, Dec. 25, 2011, at A1.  The story extols Romney’s steady, hardworking, pragmatic, data-driven, parent-in-school approach to a concurrent Harvard business and law school education. 
There were a few paragraphs that grabbed my attention for the additional perspective they provide on Romney’s Harvard time and on the way class connections facilitate success in America today.
1.  It’s who you know that counts
Unlike George W. Bush, who was a year behind [Romney] in business school and was immortalized in the yearbook blowing a huge bubble of gum, Mr. Romney had limited interest in socializing.  (The two barely met, but if Mr. Romney had known where Mr. Bush ‘was gonna go, I would have been on him like white on rice,’ he later told The Atlantic.)  Id. (emphasis added).
As I noted in yesterday’s posting, those who are well-off enjoy a ready-made network of connections that will serve them well all through their lives, from family friends and business partners to influential schoolmates at the most prestigious schools to which they are admitted as much through “legacy” practices as through their own merit.  The quote from The Atlantic demonstrates Romney’s keen awareness that a big part of being at Harvard Law or Harvard Business is getting to know the people that you will be glad you got to know later.  Sally Smith at Podunk Community College isn’t likely to have that opportunity…..

2.  Making distinguished connections while avoiding disagreements, even in a purportedly intellectually stimulating environment, can facilitate your ability to succeed
Mr. Romney was not someone who fundamentally questioned how the world worked or talked much about social or policy topics. Though the campus pulsed with emotionally charged political issues, none more urgent than the Vietnam War, Mr. Romney somehow managed to avoid them. …
Nearly all business school students formed study groups to help them digest the constant flow of cases, but Mr. Romney recruited a murderers’ row of some of the most distinguished students in the class.  “He and I said, hey, let’s handpick some superstars,” said Howard Serkin. …
Romney’s all-male group of “distinguished” “superstars” allowed him to build on his own abilities to succeed while at the same time further achieving the ancillary goal of building contacts in the upper class that would stand him well in his corporate and political career.

originally published at ataxingmatter