By Saul Landau
We survived eight years under George W. Bush, albeit seriously wounded by his two wars and a destroyed economy that resulted from his martial efforts. This year we watched Mitt Romney buy and maneuver his way into the 2012 Republican presidential candidacy. At the Republican convention, Yahoo News fired Washington bureau chief John Chalian, when he got caught on audio pointing out the discrepancy between Republicans at their convention and Hurricane Isaac devastating southern Louisiana.
“They’re happy to be partying while blacks are drowning,” he said, into an open microphone.
When Romney governed Massachusetts he authored a health-care plan almost identical to what he now snidely calls Obamacare. “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose,” Romney told 60 Minutes in 2002. During that gubernatorial campaign, he said, “I’m someone who is moderate, my views are progressive.”
Mitt chose an old fashioned wife who called him “a good and decent man,” and she explained he had to endure failure as a Mormon missionary in France to convert others. Mitt adored his Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, privileged upbringing, and enjoyed a close but not always harmonious complicated relationship with his father. He boasted of building an elevator for his cars in his new fourth home so they wont have to climb stairs after a long ride. That showed his “character.”
But Romney’s business acumen did not suffice to help him defeat Ted Kennedy for Senate, nor did his role leading the 2002 Winter Olympics bring him the presidency in 2008.
He fought for universal health care in Massachusetts, which he now can’t remember, but claims it was much different from Obama’s plan. The experts disagree.
And as recently as 2008, on Meet The Press, he said, “We should keep weapons of unusual lethality from being on the street.”
His 2008 loss in the Republican presidential primary showed him he had to turn his moderate rhetoric into rightwing speechifying for his 2012 run. So he reinvented himself.
Sometimes, to curry favor with Tea Partiers, he simply lies. “I was a severely conservative Republican Governor,” he said in this year’s primary debate. (Feb. 10, 2012) The new Romney called himself, “firmly pro-life,” and followed up with a change in his position on gun control as well.
“I don’t happen to believe that America needs new gun laws,” he said this year. He will say anything to win. Winning is his only principle.
In Israel, Romney kissed Israeli ass, contrasting them favorably against Palestinians.
“Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.” (July 29, 2012)
He has shown a lack of interest in truth or fact. In 2008, Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in which he said if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” He later declared: ”I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” (May 7, 2012)
His biggest prevarication came with his explanation of why he’s running for President. “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor – we have a safety net there” – which, he should add, his economic policies would undo. (Feb. 2, 2012) At times, Romney indulges in levels of verbal abstraction that English teachers would find difficult in a parsing contest. “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” (Jan. 21, 2012)
Romney’s fortune allows him to treat several hundred thousand dollars as chump change. “I get speakers’ fees from time to time, but not very much.” In 2010 he earned about $370,000 in speaker’s fees over the course of the year, according to his personal financial disclosure. (Jan. 17, 2012)
The biggest and most dangerous distortion, however, comes with his casting of corporations as “people… Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?” (Aug. 11, 2011)
At Bain, he amassed some $250 million by piling debt onto U.S. companies, and then leeching huge fees from those companies, as payment for his advice: either fire workers or move their jobs to Asia.
He chose Paul Ryan as his Vice, a self-righteous liar with whom he plans to destroy Medicare under the banner of saving it. (See Paul Krugman’s “The Medicare Killers, NY Times August 31.)
He backed the two foolish wars of George W. Bush, for which the U.S. borrowed money and increased the deficit. Now, Romney blames Obama for the economy-in-free-fall he inherited from Bush, and the recession reaching across the world. Only memory will destroy Republican chances in November, so keep your recollections clear and at hand. Obama did not cause the current mess. Nor did his stimulus “make things worse,” as Paul Ryan repeated at the RNC. Indeed, Ryan supported every catastrophic Bush initiative, only to become reborn in ideological innocence in time for the election. But some people, as Chris Matthews said, “knew him before he was a virgin.”
God help the public if it doesn’t see through these corporate hustlers.
Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP screen in Portland Oregon’s Clinton Theater Sept. 13.