Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be

Mitt Romney: Last Clown Standing

The 2012 GOP Presidential race has been a clown comedy cavalcade: Michele Bachmann and her warped takes on liberty and history;  Rick Perry with his… with his… Nope. Don’t got it; Herman Cane’s 9-9-9 solution to fixing the economy which doubled as Little Caesar’s perfect pizza discount; Rand Paul’s compassionate conservatism in his leave the poor’s sick to charities speech.

Who can forget Newt Gingrich, with his uncanny ability to make just about everyone remember why they hated him in the first place?  Or Rick Santorum, who made as much of a statement with his woeful ignorance as his sweater vests.

Truly, it was a cavalcade of clowns!  It’s all been very entertaining, but now that we’re getting closer to November 6th, the gags and gaffes aren’t as funny anymore.

As much as GOP primary voters tried to forget Mitt Romney, the man who stands on two sides of every issue, he won the war of attrition and took the nomination, ostensibly for being less crazy than the rest of the pack. 

Romney is the presumed  Republican nominee for President.  What does Mitt stand for?  What does the far Right want him to stand for?

GOP representatives and surrogates whom we see on television in support of him have no time tearing at President Obama, but they are hard pressed to give a coherent statement that explains his platform in any detail. In fact, I’m more confused now than I was during the GOP primaries about what his plans are for the government, other then ending “Obamacare” if he was to get into the White House.

Romney tells to use his work at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm where he was CEO, as a yardstick of how he handles business, and government. When the legitimate questions about how he did that business began to come up, the Romney campaign whined that those who challenged his days at Bain were slapping the very hand of big “C” capitalism that made him possible, that makes America possible.

So, for a little while, the media backed off.

Recall what happened to Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, when he had the gall to imply that perhaps attacking capitalism wasn’t quite the way to go. Fair enough.

Then attention turned to Romney’s term as Governor of Massachusetts, and Romneycare.

When Romney was elected, Massachusetts was suffering from a $500 Million budget shortfall. During his term in office, Romney created a surplus in the state’s coffers, which he achieved by a mixture of spending cuts, raised fees and (GASP) the closure of  some corporate tax loopholes [1].   

His administration raised fees on things like driver’s licenses, firearm license registration and liquor licenses. He closed corporate tax loopholes to the tune of about $174 million. [2

He cut services for the poor as well, things like assistance for pregnant teen mothers and legal aid for the poor. [3]

It has baffled me why his campaign refuses to discuss the one time where their candidate held a position of leadership that is a stepping stone for the office that he is seeking.

Is this getting strange or is it just me?

Of course, if he talks about his record in Massachusetts, he can’t avoid the comparison for his own health care plan that he instituted and championed.  That’s particularly problematic, since he worked so hard during the primary to disassociate himself from it.  He can’t go back on his vow to ‘repeal and destroy’ since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Health Care Act.

However, accepting that argument at face value still doesn’t reconcile the notion that he hasn’t been forthcoming with his agenda as much as he’s been dodging questions about his finances and his past at Bain.

Either he’s running a bad campaign, or this is some sort of joke.  It is almost as though he isn’t really trying.

Romney spoke at the NAACP convention earlier this week. The current political climate in the GOP comes with some charges of racism interwoven into nearly every position.  Romney’s speech to the convention did nothing to dispel them.

Things were going well, until he vowed to repeal “Obamacare.”  That’s when the “boo’s” rolled in. Clearly Romney had decided to give a speech aimed more at his white GOP base who would be catching the sound bites on the evening news.  He surely wasn’t speaking to the NAACP.  

He was using the organization’s platform to tell his base: ‘See: I went, and I stood up to them.’  He was certainly looking for a sound bite of him being booed by black people.

Why, one might ask, would he want to be rejected so fiercely by any members of the overall voting constituency? If the GOP base sees Romney being outwardly hated by the black community, they will rally to his defense.  

There is a large constituency in the GOP that hates the NAACP.  That constituency thinks that blacks are freeloaders who shouldn’t be catered to. Period.

The GOP believes that the votes of the black community are all going to Obama. They have written off the whole community, believing that we are unintelligent, single issue voters.  The Herman Cains and Allen Wests of their party are window dressing.

Romney, with his uncanny ability to sense these things, stated a few days later:

“But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy-more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.” [4]

Arguing with this ridiculous logic, if you can call it that, is both useless an unnecessary. Those who wanted to hear and believe it, already believe it.  Their minds are likely made up.

So, I suppose in retrospect, the usual race-baiting is just part of the GOP narrative. Business as usual, if you will.

Perhaps his campaign is doing fine after all. Well that’s what I thought until the little matter of tax returns came up.  Romney refuses to release more info about his off-shore accounts in the Caribbean and Switzerland, despite that fact that several Republicans agree he should just tear off the band-aid. But he won’t.

I’m not sure if he’s standing on principle or hiding something. It’s a “shoot-yourself-in-the-foot” kind of move.

Why allow the media and your opposition to control the narrative with conspiracy theories about what those records contain?

President Obama was hounded to no end to release his birth certificate, which apparently is still an ongoing investigation with Sheriff Joe “Papers Please” Arapaio of Maricopa County Arizona hunting down the juicy trail.

When he refuses to do more, and his wife, Ann’s response on Good Morning, America was:

“There are so many things that will be open again for more attack,” Ann Romney told ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” when asked about releasing tax returns. “And you just want to give more material for more attack. And that’s really — that’s just the answer.”

She added, “And we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how — you know, how we live our life.”

She acknowledged that Romney’s “hidden” record is rife with things that wouldn’t play well to the voters. So she and her husband continue to hide them.

Much of what the Republicans have done in the last four years have been completely shameful, disgusting and sad at worst and destructively partisan at best.

It is clear that they want power back in their hands, but the question is, or should be, to do what?

The platform that they’ve discussed thus far has been full of anti-union, anti-women and anti-civics legislation. Their centerpiece has been railing at the Affordable Care Act, which they’ve offered no alternative to.

They want the 2% to keep their 3% to grant the rest of the Bush tax cuts to the other 98%.  They want less “job killing” regulation. That’s their platform. They make no mention of how this should work in practice. They don’t explain how we stop another BP oil spill with even fewer regulators than we have now.

They use Obama’s name more than their own candidate’s to whip their faithful into a frenzy.  I’m no marketing expert, but isn’t that a bad move? We know where the President stands on all of these issues.  What on earth does Romney think is going to happen if he doesn’t tell people what he plans to actually do, rather than what he’s against?

If this is a joke, I’m not laughing.

About LPB

This is a "what's going on in the world" type of blog. Any and everything that interests me could make the cut! Politics, current events, fashion, television...we'll just have to see how I'm feeling that day.

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