The Strange Tale of Mitt, Mary And Goldfinger...
05/18/2012 - 13:07


I’m late to the party here, but how could I not weigh in on Mitt Romney having dated a Jewish girl?

In addition to implying that Romney bullied gays, last week’s Washington Post article about the presumptive Republican nominee’s school days at suburban Detroit’s elite Cranbrook school noted that Romney and Mary Fisher, adopted daughter of Jewish philanthropist and high-profile Republican backer Max Fisher were briefly an item.

I’m especially drawn to this tidbit because my journalism career began in the Detroit ‘burbs. In my two years at the Detroit Jewish News, I never made it to Cranbrook’s swanky Bloomfield Hills campus, which I’m told is quite stunning, because I was too busy shuttling around the considerably less swanky Southfield and Oak Park, with frequent jaunts to West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills. But I certainly heard the school mentioned quite a bit, a sort of Horace Mann School or Dalton (but with boarders) for the scions of the Motor City.

The same goes for Max Fisher — never met him personally, but of course heard the name a lot, particularly since word was that this oil/real estate tycoon, ardent Republican and onetime college football player (was this man REALLY Jewish?) was the greatest-single donor to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Indeed, the federation’s headquarters, which I visited frequently, is named for him, as is much else in southeast Michigan.

For more on the cultural context of Romney and Mary Fisher’s brief courtship, check out this recent article (by a Jewish Cranbrook alum 30 years Romney’s junior) in The Ann Arbor Chronicle. According to this article:

By the time Mitt was enrolled, Cranbrook had long taken measures to limit Jewish enrollment (as is both attested and documented in the biography of Cranbrook’s most politically significant alum during my tenure, Daniel Ellsberg). One measure was to mandate that students living south of 8 Mile – i.e., within Detroit city limits – must attend as boarding students (at a much higher tuition rate). [3]

Until the 1970s, the vast bulk of Southeast Michigan’s Jewish population – including my own father (not a Cranbrook alum) – lived within Detroit, largely along its northern edge. When I was a student this policy was characterized as anti-Semitic, not racist, although it obviously affected a huge African-American population. Make of that what you will.

Now, a few random “In the Mix” thoughts and questions:

-Did Mitt know Mary was Jewish, given that her name was, well, Mary?

-Will his inter-dating adventures make him seem more tolerant and lovable and perhaps compensate for the alleged gay bullying and hair-cutting incident, not to mention the bizarre dog-on-top-of-the-car incident?

-Will Jews like Mitt more, now that we know he has dated a member of the Tribe? Or will they deride him as a threat to Jewish continuity? Would Jews like Mitt more if he’d dated the daughter of a Jewish Democratic backer, say a child of David Hermelin (if Hermelin’s children were Mitt’s age, which they are not).

-Will the exceedingly philo-Semitic Evangelical Christian community now warm to Mitt?

-If Mitt and Mary had gotten serious and married, would they have raised the children Mormon or Jewish?

-Was Max Fisher OK with his daughter dating a Mormon?

-Are we to glean any significance from their watching the James Bond film “Goldfinger” together in the Fishers’ private home movie theater (back before everyone and his brother had a “home theater”)? According to Wikipedia, Goldfinger is “typically a German-Jewish name, and the protagonists of the novel [and presumably the film as well?] know this, but neither Bond nor Mr. Du Pont think Goldfinger is Jewish. Instead, Bond pegs the red-haired, blue-eyed man as a Balt. And, indeed, Goldfinger proves an expatriate Latvian.[5] " Wikipedia also asserts that the film was briefly banned in Israel, “after it was revealed that [German actor Gert] Fröbe [who played Goldfinger] had been a member of the Nazi party during World War II. The ban, however, was lifted later when a Jewish family publicly thanked Fröbe for protecting them from persecution during the war.”

-When will the Obamas finally tell the world about some Jewish romantic connection? Don’t they realize that a Jewish paramour is practically a requirement in American presidential politics? The Clintons have Marc Mezvinsky and Monica Lewinsky, Biden’s children-in-law are Jewish and even W has a Jewish nephew-in-law. Surely Malia and Sasha know some nice Jewish boys at Sidwell Friends. For goodness sake, Obama went to Columbia!

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Cool, I didn't know about this.

Mary Fisher's adoptive father (Max Fisher) was of course Jewish, but so were both of her biological parents (her mother married Max). They were from the Jewish community in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mary gave a great speech at the 1992 Republica Convention. Easily found on youtube. A very pretty and classy lady.

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