Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Romney: It's Not About the Dog. It's About the Man

Some say shoes make the man. To me, it's about character.

Lately, there have been noises from Democrats and Republicans alike opposing the president's recent diatribes on Bain Capital, and that company's business practices when Romney was at the helm. I say, they're overdue. Notably, The New York Times was reporting about Bain's corporate licentiousness half a dozen years ago.

Then, there are high octane proponents of so-called "free enterprise" who suggest President Obama's views are what they call anti-business. For someone whose views are anti-business, we have seen greater job growth in the private sector under Obama than we did under Bush. Overall job growth was greater under George W. Bush because Bush added more government jobs, something Romney likes to attribute to Obama..

While the economy clearly remains the signature issue of the 2012 election year, the question of character may be the deciding factor as to who gets to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four years as well it should be.

And, when it comes to the question of character, no one is connecting the dots between a man who, as a high school student at an elite Michigan prep school led a gang of his peers to forcibly hold down a youngster, and cut his hair to a man who put his Irish Setter in a crate on the roof of his station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Massachusetts to Canada to a father of five who, around that same time in the early 1980's, had an altercation with a park officer leading to his arrest on charges of disorderly conduct, an arrest which was thrown out because this father of five had the wherewithal to buy his way out of it. Yes, this man is Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, and the scandal of Romney's arrest in 1981, one that became a major campaign issue in the senatorial race in that state back in 1994, has been largely ignored by the media today. But, this is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Being the one who personally held scissors, and cut another student's long hair against his will as a prep school prank back in 1965, nearly 50 years ago as Mr. Romney has stated, may be ancient history, but the laying off of thousands of workers while Romney ran Bain Capital is not nor is what was then that company's practice, according to Think Progress, of bankrupting more than 25% of the companies it acquired. http://thinkprogress.org/progress-report/romney-job-killer/ More importantly, both the high school bullying and the thousands of layoffs that resulted from what amounted to a corporate chess game speak volumes about candidate Romney's character.

And, while details of his 1981 arrest on charges of disorderly conduct show that all he did was ignore the command of an officer not to launch his family boat because the boat's license was not visible, the fact, as the Web site Buzzfeed notes, the charges were dropped by the magistrate, and the record sealed due to Romney's threat to sue for "false arrest" are rather troubling. http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/mitt-romney-was-arrest-for-disorderly-conduct-in-1

It should come as no surprise that anyone who has been from birth filthy rich would be arrogant enough to think that the law doesn't apply to him. Consider the irony, though, that a candidate who boasts of having a law degree from Harvard, and has made repeated bids for public office, would show this kind of hubris, and this is only one instance. Romney reportedly tangled with a traffic cop at the 2002 Winter Olympics, even going so far as to ask an 18 year security volunteer "who the fuck are you?" after pushing local sheriff deputies out of the way to manage a traffic jam himself. http://theweek.com/article/index/227698/mitt-romneys-1981-arrest-and-4-other-times-he-lost-his-cool

So, you say, the guy has a little problem with anger management when it comes to the authorities. Some may even think this is a good thing, but where it gets tricky is that this is the same fellow who now says that public sector workers like cops and fire fighters are getting paid too much. Many didn't like the idea of a presidential candidate who smokes, back in 2008, being a role model, but what kind of role model is a candidate who chooses to ignore law enforcement and sail his boat without a license anyway because, after all, he can buy and sell not only the park officer, but the entire police department ten times over.

Time to connect the dots between private citizen Romney's defiance of the law, and his current position, as The Washington Post reports, that folks in the public sector "are getting better pay and benefits than taxpayers are." Someone need so to ask Mr. Romney, what about folks at Bain Capital, and JP Morgan Chase? http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/what-does-mitt-romney-have-to-offer/2012/05/03/gIQA6g1XzT_blog.html

To the contrary, the public sector has tanked over the past several years, and the biggest growth has been in the private sector.
Oh, and it's not only the public sector he's going after, candidate Romney has even gone so far as to suggest that the failure of the auto industry was caused by union "stooges" and bosses. What Ronald Reagan did to the air traffic controller's union will look like chump change should Mitt Romney prevail in his bid for the White House.

Police officers, teachers, and firefighters, as well as other public workers, should also bear in mind that President Obama wants to allocate federal funds to the states, so they can hire back some of those members of their ranks who were laid off. By way of contrast, candidate Romney will give that federal money to members of his country club in the form of corporate tax breaks, yes, esp. those members who attended the same elite prep schools, who own boats, and have more cars in their collective garages at any time than one will find at most Chrysler used car lots.

The smart money says Gov. Romney had better not run on a law and order platform because his views on the public sector, and union busting put him squarely at odds with law enforcement, and by reducing the ranks of fire fighters and peace officers, he will surely put this country on a path that can only lead to an unprecedented rise in violent crime. But, of course, that won't matter to Romney and those who can go to his country club. They can afford private security firms. As for the rest of us, well, look for more George Zimmermans coming soon to a gated community near you.

It may not be the economy, after all, that will be the deciding factor in this race as it's not just about job creation, and job creators, but character and the values a candidate embraces that may well determine which direction this economy will go. Don't confuse calls for growth in the private sector with the noxious quest for privatization. The Republican claim that they're afraid the economic course the current administration has charted is a precarious one for business is bogus given that all the major oil companies have boasted record profits during the Obama years, and record bonuses been awarded to many CEO's. What the Romney Republicans are running scared from is no different from what the Reagan Republicans were running scared from--regulation. Period.

The austerity measures in the Ryan budget, of which Mitt Romney is an avowed admirer, specifically target not just the middle class, but the elderly, the needy, and the working poor.

For Romney, austerity measures target the same folks as Paul Ryan, only Romney would mix school teachers, cops, and fire fighters in with the mix. Clearly, any federal budget proposed by presumptive presidential nominee, and hopeful, Mitt Romney wouldn't include any belt-tightening for those earning $1 million a year or more, just their chauffeurs.

So, in the end, the question for candidate Romney isn't who's riding on the roof of his station wagon, but who he will be throwing under the bus next..