Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Sunday, August 01, 2004


  Burning Bridges...

Tall Poppy Social Rule #1: No need to burn bridges unnecessarily. The more success you have, the more quickly they'll crumble with little assistance from you.
First, I must say that I suspect some Tall Poppy Syndrome on the part of some who have been acquainted (or not) with Ann Romney. I had heard that Ann was not as warm and friendly as many political spouses are. Yet, having met her for the first time last night, I think it's possible that she's being unfairly whacked. She's definitely a woman whom other women could easily dislike--attractive, brainy, wealthy, and famous...a tragic combination, for sure. She seemed perfectly charming to me, though my time with her was admittedly short. She received a similar positive read from a Tall Poppy friend of mine who spent several days with her and whose judgement I trust. So for now, I give her two thumbs up.

I also enjoyed seeing Gov. Romney again. We have met briefly once or twice before, but I can't say that I know him. Last night, though, he seemed perfectly swell. HOWEVER, there is this matter of the book that Gov. Romney has written about the Salt Lake Olympics. YIKES! According to the AP and numerous others, it's quite, shall we say, "Weedy". Seems that the Governor takes more than his fair share of credit for the success of games that took tens of thousands of people millions of man-hours to pull off (and years of work before he arrived in Utah). The scandal, after all, was about how the Olympics ended up in Salt Lake, not about any of the preparations for the actual games.

It doesn't bother me who is given the credit for a job well done as long as the job gets done. However, Tall Poppies need to learn how to reveal strategic maneuvering and a good story without slashing and trashing others or beating their own chests. In Gov. Romney's case, Utahn's gave him most of the credit for pulling off the games so successfully. Unfortunately, some of that good will may be lost now that he has belabored his own best reviews.

Tall Poppy Rule #2: There's a reason why God made it virtually impossible to give yourself a hearty pat on your own back.

Virtually all of Utah's editorial departments have run stories in the last few days reminding those who care that, though Romney deserves a huge pat on the back for making the games much better than they might have been otherwise, the games would have gone on with or without him. However, they also remind Romney that...

Tall Poppy Rule #3: Just because you're thinkin' it, doesn't mean you have to say it.

Orange Poppy has a saying that "Those who believe themselves to be indispensible have confused themselves with someone important."

Here are a couple of links to Utah editorial comments concerning the book:


So, does Governor Romney's book burn bridges that it would have been nice to have kept intact? After all, his Utah ties run much deeper than a two year stint for the Olympics, and sometimes it's nice to have somewhere to go where most people know and love you. Heck, Utahn's even tried to convince Gov. Romney to run for Utah governor instead of running in Massachusetts.

It seems that there are some lines that one shouldn't cross, no matter what your aspirations. I think he was doing just fine without compromising the faith and respect of the folks back "home". I guess time will tell whether this is all much ado about nothing or a turning point in Gov. Romney's relationship with Utah. In the short run, Gov. Romney has unnecessarily made himself a target for criticism from a state that once sang his praises. In the long run, I doubt anyone else would care.

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