Category Archives: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney and a Lava Lamp

For almost four years we have listened to the extreme ideas of the modern Republican Party: things like what deadbeats we are if we rely on our own government for any of our support, even Social Security; things like signing a pledge to never raise taxes; things like repealing the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade; and things like planning every move to make sure that our President would not get a second term. They have called Obama Hitler, a Socialist, a liar, and have implied that he was a non citizen, a Muslim, and a possible terrorist. Then they chose Mitt Romney as their candidate. Mitt Romney has been around for quite a while and he has never embraced an ideology that was this radical in the past. This led me to believe that he had been chosen as a figurehead and would have to dance to the tune of the right wing of the Republican Party.
Until that stunning debate last week he continued to espouse the radical ideas of the new right, although sometimes in such garbled form that it became clear that the ideas did not originate with him and that he had not internalized them. He made the kinds of mistakes people make when they memorize a script and then try to ad lib. His remarks about the 47% were terribly insulting to almost half of America, but it seemed that he was not really clear about what he was saying because he explained it in at least two different ways after he said it. At the debate we were all astonished when a much more moderate Mitt Romney showed up. I believe that President Obama was so surprised and perhaps disgusted that he decided that to engage would be senseless.
Who is the real Mitt Romney? My guess is that there is no real Mitt Romney or that he really has no idea what he will do. If he does not get really specific about what tax cuts he will make and what loopholes he will close how can we explore the math? We will have no way to know the effects of his tax plan. Have the Republicans asked him to be deliberately vague? Does he think we won’t notice? No one in the GOP is giving the American people much credit for any intelligence or gumption. I remember Mitt Romney used to say that he isn’t worried about the poor because they are taken care of by government programs. Does anyone else remember this? Does CNN have this on tape? Today he said that he isn’t worried about the wealthy because they can take care of themselves. What are we, the voters, supposed to think? If the wealthy are the 1% and the poor are the 47% then that leaves only 52% to be the 100% of the middle class that Mitt Romney is suddenly passionate to help. I never heard him offer to be so nice to the middle class until, let me see, just last week.
Then there is that other issue that Romney is a “pro-lifer” who wants to defund Planned Parenthood on day one. Yet he assures us that there are no anti-abortion laws currently on the agenda (as far as he knows) that he will need to consider. This is no reassurance whatsoever. We can assume that if there is such a law to consider at any point in his tenure he will sign it. One of my sister’s likens Mitt Romney to a “snake oil salesmen” and I can see that. I see him more like those blobs that float around in a lava lamp. They are fascinating to watch as they shift their blobby shapes, but they are constantly changing and cannot be counted on for anything beyond temporary, mindless entertainment. How can anyone vote for a lava lamp? I know we want a strong President, and I know Mitt Romney seemed that way in the debate, but I don’t think he really will be a strong President. He changes his views too easily. He may sound more moderate now, but I still believe that all Republicans have to dance to the tune of the new right or be very quiet.

The Devil is in the Details

On CNN.com-Politics there is a political update entitled “Romney unveils simplified message”. Obviously, since Romney wants to be our President any message from his campaign is important. With this simplified “5 Point Plan” it is necessary to read between the lines because “simplified” is the correct descriptor for the plan.
These are the 5 points he will concentrate on if elected (as of this week):
·         Extend Bush tax cuts for all
·         Domestic energy production
·         Job Training
·         Deficit Reduction
·         Boosting small business
As to the first point, extending the Bush tax cuts, the information we are getting is confusing. We are also hearing that Romney will back the tax reforms of Paul Ryan which suggest a flat rate over $200,000 of 28% and a flat rate under $200,000 of 10%, with an 8% tax rate for some at the lowest income levels, and all of the loopholes in the tax codes will be closed (which loopholes, we need a list).
Domestic energy production is a point that, of course, means that Romney plans to find and tap American energy sources. This is nothing new. He has already told us he plans to approve the Keystone Pipeline project immediately (Day 1). Although I’m sure he may continue some of the efforts to find alternative sources of energy, his main emphasis will be on finding sources for fossil fuels (drill, baby, drill).
A great and focused job training effort would be a wonderful thing to have. Sometimes the job training programs we already have are not as effective or as focused as they could be. Whether or not anyone can actually design a job training program that will truly meet the needs of American workers and employers is unknown; but, it is a worthy goal to attempt it. However, clearly this is the major push the Romney administration will make towards increasing employment. The only other jobs stimulation mentioned is in the area of boosting small business (although, of course, tax cuts are also supposed to stimulate jobs) (Are we still buying this?)
Deficit Reduction is a pretty broad area. What exactly will this entail? I’m guessing that cutting huge holes in our safety net will be a big part of this “simple” agenda item if President Romney is elected. I think we need a few more specifics here, please. Are we talking austerity? Are we talking that GOP favorite, “small government”? Are we talking decimating programs that support the poorest Americans? I’m also guessing the answer to all these questions is yes.
Last, but I’m sure not least, Romney says he will concentrate on boosting small business. Since he constantly tells us that Obama has been making life more difficult for small businesses by increasing regulations and trying to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, we can assume that he will get rid of regulations and he will continue to assume that cutting taxes on the wealthy will help small business. He also seems to suggest that because he has been an entrepreneur he will just exude a magical pro-business ambience that will totally revive the American economy. You go, Romney!
Too bad there is nothing different here. Too bad this is the same old GOP party line. Too bad the Republican Party has single-mindedly supported the wealthy and corporate bigwigs. Too bad the Republicans refuse to accept that we must make some environmental concessions if we want to balance the needs of humans and the needs of the planet. By staying deliberately vague, by just giving us a general outline, Romney’s simple points sound so reasonable. The devil is in the details.

Mitt Romney and Pretty Woman

Mitt Romney, in ad after ad, speech after speech, promises us that if we elect him as our President he will “fix” our economy and set it moving again. He implies that his business sense is so good that he will know exactly what to do to bring back good jobs and middle-class affluence. He was a successful businessman and he did make millions of dollars, although he seems to have enriched himself in the same way that Edward did in Pretty Woman. He didn’t make anything or create any thing; he bought and sold companies, took them apart, sometimes shipped them overseas and was often responsible for firing people. Now we are told that, also like Edward, he wants to come back from the dark side (I know, mixed movie references) and help build the American economy once again. But he is a Republican, and he will be locked in to the current GOP mantra that small government (translate as end “entitlements”), a huge military, and tax cuts for everyone including the wealthiest Americans will do the trick. This is the course he will have to pursue; this is the bargain he has made to be President.
So if you believe that austerity is the path to prosperity you will believe Romney’s promises. If you believe that putting money in the pockets of wealthy people will encourage them to invest in small businesses and start-ups, then you will want Mitt Romney to be our next President, because he will rubber stamp the GOP party line. He is also in the good old boys club (he’s white) (he’s rich) (he knows lots of corporate movers and shakers) so no one will threaten to put a stop to his agenda from Day One; instead Congress will be chock full of Republicans passing bill after bill in support of the agenda they have been insisting on for the past three years. If we let these people win after all they have done to stonewall, all they have done to keep us from seeing if a less austere approach that offered a combination of cuts and injections of economic stimulation would have worked, then we deserve to follow Europe into financial disarray.
Maybe Mitt Romney will be able to get things done, after all the Republicans will not stonewall him, he is their beast. Whether or not the things he gets done will be good for America remains to be seen, but since he can only back those who “have” and not those who “have-not” life may get pretty grim for some of us (the middle class) while he conducts the “Great Republican Economic Experiment.” In a sense he will be putting us on the roof of his car along with his dog, he will assume that we like it up there, and we will fend for ourselves as best we can. And the regrettable stubbornness of the GOP will look more and more like racism and classism (and sexism).