by Alex Miller-Mignone
If becoming President of the United States has more to do with money than anything else, and it does, then Mitt Romney should be a shoo-in. The former Massachusetts Governor has a private fortune estimated between $300 and $500 million, far in excess of any other candidate of either party. He has also evinced a knack for fund-raising, with $23 million garnered in the first quarter of 2007, more than double his nearest Republican rivals and in the Clinton and Obama range of $26 and $25 million respectively. Like Reagan, the classically handsome and photogenic Romney has a way with words and appears presidential and charismatic, making him formidable competition for any Democratic contender, yet his national polling numbers remain in low double digits as the GOP primary heats up. Leading indicators in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he holds a slight lead in the Republican field, may indicate that he is ready to break out of the pack.
Born Willard Mitt Romney on 12 March 1947, his father George was a three-term Governor of Michigan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary in Nixons cabinet, a presidential candidate himself in 1968 and chairman of American Motors. The family are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons, a sect viewed as cultish and not quite Christian by many evangelicals. Ironically, considering the polygamist roots of his faith (Romneys grandfather fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution for polygamy, and that is where his father was born), Romney is the only once-married top-tier GOP candidate currently in the race. Romney married his high school sweetheart, Anne Davies, in 1968, after completing 30 months of service in France as a Mormon missionary. The couple have five sons and ten grandchildren. Romney graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1971, where he was valedictorian, and followed this with a joint JD/MBA degree from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School in 1975, where he was in the top 5% of his class.
Romneys business career began in Massachusetts at Boston Consulting. In 1978 he joined Bain & Company, Inc. as vice president; both are management consulting firms. In 1984 he left to found Bain Capital, but returned to its parent company in 1990 when financial collapse threatened. Romney turned the company around in under a year, then picked up at Bain Capital where he had left off. Bains success (their average annual return on investments was 113% during his tenure) was due largely to Romneys choice of acquisitions and investments, including industry giants Staples, Dominos, Sealy Corporation and The Sports Authority. In 1998, he resigned to head the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee (SLOC), which had been plagued by scandal, bad management and corruption.
Romney stepped in as president and CEO of SLOC when the former head resigned in disgrace, and turned an incipient $379 million shortfall into a $100 million profit for the organization. He contributed $1 million of his own money to the Olympic Committees coffers, and further donated his $825,000 salary to charity.
An early foray into politics was his unsuccessful bid in 1994 to oust incumbent Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Romney spent $7 million to Kennedys $10 million, making it the second most expensive race of that election cycle. At one point in September, the two candidates were in a statistical dead heat, but a last-minute infusion of funds gave Kennedy the edge, with a win of 58%-41%, the smallest margin of victory in Kennedys 40-year political career.
As the job with the Olympics was winding down in 2002, Massachusetts politics was gearing up, with acting governor Jane Swift, heading a corrupt and unpopular Republican administration, expected to run for re-election. GOP activists feared a loss of the Governors mansion, and encouraged Romney to throw his hat into the ring, despite a residency issue (Massachusetts state law requires seven consecutive years residence to run for office, but Romneys official residence during his Olympic Committee tenure had been Utah, with Massachusetts listed as part time). He proved so popular that Swift bowed out of the race before the primary, and Romney went on to defeat Democrat Shannon OBrien that November, 50%-45%. He had contributed more than $6 million of his own money to the campaign, a state record.
Romney refused a salary as Governor, but has been criticized for charging the state for his travel and security expenses on junkets spent furthering his own presidential aspirations and in support of other GOP candidates nationwide. His tenure as Governor was largely uneventful, highlighted primarily by the opening of the failed Boston area roads project known as the Big Dig, an underground system of highways designed to reduce congestion, but which was plagued with construction difficulties from the start. Also during his term of office, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to legalize marriage for same- sex couples, a move which the governor opposed. Romney announced as early as December 2005 that he would not seek election to a second term, fueling speculation about a possible White House run which was confirmed with his formation of a presidential exploratory committee on 3 January 2007, the day before his term as governor expired.
Romneys political opportunism seems apparent, and has given rise to charges of flip-flopping. A former supporter of gun registration and legislation, he now sides with the NRA on these issues, and became a member of that organization in August 2006. He further insists that he is a life-long hunter, though when pressed, his experience seems to consist of two overnight hunting trips as a young man, on which he shot varmints.
During his 1994 senate campaign in pro-choice Massachusetts, Romney avowed himself a supporter of abortion rights, based on the death of his sister-in-law following an illegal abortion. Now that he is running in a national GOP race, he is pushing a pro-life position, which he says is a result of the emerging debates on cloning and stem cell research while he was governor, which allowed him to clarify his thinking on the subject.
On gay rights, too, his positions have varied considerably. In 1994 he was endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP organization, when he stated that he would be an even firmer supporter of gays than Ted Kennedy, opining that equality for gays and lesbians must be made a mainstream concern. But a decade later as governor he opposed both gay marriage and civil unions, and also renounced his former support for domestic partnership benefits. He went so far as to lobby for a state constitutional amendment to overturn the Massachusetts Supreme Courts decision that the state legislature must validate gay marriage.
He has taken the hard line on Iraq and terrorism so popular in GOP circles, stating in an early candidates debate on 15 May that far from eliminating the prison system at Guantanamo, he felt it should be doubled. He continued, I'm glad they're on Guantanamo. I don't want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don't get the access to lawyers that they get when they're on our soil, adding And enhanced interrogation techniques have to be usednot torture, but enhanced interrogation techniques.
Romneys religion may be a significant barrier to his chances of winning the Republican nomination, though it will probably count against him less in the general election. The fundamentalist evangelicals who dominate the GOP primary are not best pleased by any of the current candidates (although former Tennessee Senator and Law and Order star Fred Thompsons incipient entry into the race may change that), but even in a field as damaged as this one, membership in a church which many consider only nominally Christian may prove an insuperable obstacle. Romneys stock response to this issue may be telling: I believe in God. I believe in the family. I believe in America's future.... So the kinds of values I have are very much in line with those of the American people. My guess is as they get to know me better, there will be other faults that they find more troubling.
Indeed, Governor Romney; indeed.
Mitt Romneys chart (born 12 March 1947), sports a fair sprinkling of galactic connections. At 21 Pisces, the Sun is in square to the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius (now transited to 19 degrees) and also to the Pulsar at 22 Gemini, creating a Galactic T-Square. Black Hole Sun folks can be very charismatic and magnetic, attracting others into their orbit seemingly effortlessly. They often prefer to work behind the scenes, and when they do become public figures, it can be very difficult to determine who they really are. Black Hole Suns tend to be somewhat secretive and chameleon-like, being all things to all people; they can appear to be blank slates upon which others write whatever they wish to read. Part of this is simply a coping mechanism, adapting to their audience to best achieve their own ends, but in part there is also a natural tendency to sudden, dramatic change and reversal with these individuals which makes if difficult to pin them down, or to feel that the man you see today is the one youll see tomorrow.
This may make some feel better about the weathervane quality of Romneys positions. And then again, it may not. Taking a stance and sticking to it is not a common Black Hole Sun attribute, but the chops and changes are not always merely duplicitous; rather, it is the nature of these individuals to frequently alter or revise their viewpoints, and they see no inconsistency in doing so.
The Sun combined with Pulsar energies makes for a high media profile, and allows the native to communicate easily with others. This is an extremely favorable placement for feeling the pulse of an audience, connecting and expressing oneself, seeming to assimilate and fit in. These individuals have a good intuitive sense and excellent instincts, and often just know a thing to be true, as well as being natural receivers for information of all types, from both traditional and more esoteric sources.
Mercury at 14 Pisces is retrograde, another indicator of one who readily changes his mind or shifts positions. From that degree it forms the apex of a Galactic Yod constituted by inconjunct aspects to the Maser at 13 Leo and the Black Hole at 13 Libra, implying a certain fated or predestined quality to Romneys decisions. Mercury tied with a Black Hole also tends to revise decisions and rethink situations regularly; stick-to-it-iveness is not a hallmark of this combination. There is also a certain degree of self-deception in this placement, and it is quite possible that Romneys convenient reappraisals of his political positions on hot-button issues are not conscious attempts to manipulate, but rather subconscious reactions to a perceived need. That is, to attain his goal and win the GOP nomination, Romney must be pro-life; therefore his internal mechanism moves him in that direction, in a fashion which to him seems genuine, but to others smacks of opportunism. Mercury/Maser may also come in for a fair share of controversy for the choices it makes, and the volatile or provocative manner in which it expresses itself.
Venus at 8 Aquarius conjoins a Pulsar and opposes a Black Hole at 9 Leo and Pluto at 11 Leo. Venus/Pluto is often hit hard by the dart of love, at an impressionable age. Romney first met future wife Ann when she was just 15, and he was about to leave for his foreign mission service. He has described the immediate sense he had that she was the one, and the agonies he endured during their 30-month enforced separation, fearing he would lose her to another. That Venus/Pluto may also have been reflected in Anns diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 1998, as it could describe the devastating decline of a loved one. Anns situation has since stabilized, and she typically accompanies her husband on his campaign appearances. Venus and Pluto, as money planets ruling the thousands and billions, have much to say about Romneys personal fortune; allied with Black Hole energies, his acquisitive powers are indeed formidable. With the third money planet, Jupiter, ruling the millions and exactly conjoined a manifestation-evoking Quasar at 27 Scorpio, Romneys financial acumen and success are virtually assured. Venus/Pulsar may also help in connecting with women voters, a vital constituency in any national election.
Mars at 6 Pisces conjoins a Quasar at 5; Romneys sexual persona is vibrant and apparent. Hes a mans man, too, apparently stuffed to the gills with Y chromosomes, for all five of his children are sons. This is rather more common with Mars/Quasar in a mans chart than not, though it is by no means a guarantee. Mars on a Quasar here does much to counter the rather debilitating effects normally ascribed to Mars in Pisces; Romney is athletic and aggressive, outgoing and social, exuding an aura of health and vitality.
The Jupiter/Quasar contact also speaks to his excellent academic performance, for Quasars promote success, achievement and high visibility, and Jupiter naturally rules higher education. It also governs philosophies of all types, including political platforms. Ordinarily one would expect more consistency from this placement, but at 27 Scorpio Jupiter is also exactly squared a disruptive, change-evoking Black Hole at 27 Aquarius and a controversy-sparking Maser at 27 Taurus. Jupiter is even more powerful in its impact in the chart for being stationary in the sky, just two days shy of its retrograde station at Romneys birth.
Saturn at 2 Leo exactly conjoins a Black Hole, which could indicate attaining the most powerful executive office on the planet, or the disappearance of Romneys presidential aspirations down an Alice in Wonderland-like rabbit hole. In general, Romney invests a great deal of focus and energy in career matters, and functions well in a command position where he can dictate, as opposed to following orders, something often complicated and counter-productive for Black Hole Saturn types.
Uranus at 17 Gemini squares the Sun and exactly opposes a Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius, lending a sense of the unexpected to Romneys personality. Easily excited, he may react before he thinks through the ramifications of his actions, and others may see him as somewhat of a loose cannon, unpredictable and not easily controlled.
Neptune at 9 Libra is opposed one Quasar at 10 Aries and square another at 8 Cancer. This adds immeasurably to Romneys attractiveness and star quality, his ability to ensnare others with his style and a type of glamour which he projects. Telegenic and ruggedly handsome, Romney can be quite devastatingly charming one-on-one, and has the potential to captivate large audiences. There is also a strong spiritual core, an abiding faith in ones star, but perhaps a tendency to see things as somewhat rosier than they in fact are, glossing over problems with wishful thinking and a sense that things will naturally turn out all right.
Pluto at 11 Leo is allied with Saturn at 2 Leo and also conjoins the Black Hole at 9 Leo. This can be a very powerful combination, but also a potentially dangerous one. Saturn linked to Pluto in this fashion may compel Romney to continue the disastrous perversion of the office of Chief Executive along the Plutonian power-grab lines begun by George W. Bush, following the Unitary Executive principle so beloved of neocon philosophers. The temptation to augment his personal power by strengthening the presidency to the detriment of the other co-equal branches of government, even at the price of our democracy, will be a strong one.
Several eclipses over the next 18 months, until the general election, will hit Romney strongly. The Solar Eclipse of 11 September 2007 at 18 Virgo opposes his Sun, granting greater visibility and a focus on his actions, which can prove either positive or negative. The 4 Pisces Lunar Eclipse this August 28 falls on his natal Mars, and that of 20 February 2008 at 1 Virgo opposes it. This could represent an energizing of his campaign, or conversely, a bad stumble or irritated, angry outburst which effectively ends it. Lending credence to the latter likelihood is transit Uranus conjunctions with his Sun, which will be exact in April and August of 2008. Uranus on Romneys Sun may put him in an uncomfortable light, emphasizing any quirks or eccentricities in his character, and perhaps making him seem less than stable. However, by the time this manifests, the nomination will already have been decided, with election day still months away, so though the transit may be a difficult one, its timing largely works in Romneys favor.
On Election Day, 4 November 2008, an exact opposition of Saturn and Uranus dominates the sky, perhaps impelling an unexpected outcome in the race for the presidency. This polarity straddles Romneys 21 Pisces Sun from 18 Virgo to Pisces, and is squared by transit Venus at 19 Sagittarius, conjunct a Black Hole, implying that women may be decisive in the decision, and their choice may be impossible to pin down in advance. The transit Sun that day at 12 Scorpio squares Romneys Pluto, perhaps igniting or augmenting his personal power, and Mars at 21 Scorpio is exactly trine his Sun, possibly energizing his efforts, should he be the nominee. But there is a long way to go to get to that point, and it remains to be seen if Romney has what it takes to pull it off.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.