Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Man who Would be President
If consuming ambition disqualifies a presidential candidate, none would be left standing. And lying is something that comes with the politician's trade. All that aside, there is still something remarkably troubling about Romney's candidacy.
Having served as governor of the state that gave us Ted Kennedy and Michael Dukakis, Romney faced a difficult challenge in reinventing himself as a true conservative. His moderate image would have served him well in the Republican party of a generation ago. In the lunatic fringe asylum that passes as the modern-day Republican party, however, moderates are an extinct species.
Somehow, he managed to secure the nomination despite the extremist's misgivings about him. It took two tries and naked manipulation by the PTB, as they paraded a series of "flavor of the month" loony tune primary candidates to divide and distract the Tea Party extremists. It also took repudiation of many positions he had once espoused.
Hearing Romney try on a tough-talking rant during the primaries, it came across as anything but authentic. Watching him attempt to transform back to moderate in the final stretch is almost nauseating. And then he makes an amazing discovery: Bold-faced lying really works!
As I've said many times, Obama is no saint, and the Democratic ticket is only marginally better than the Republicans - but the margin is large enough to easily secure my vote.
Here is my take on a few of the cliches and issues raised during the debates:
"The middle class is being crushed under Obama". OK, Mr. Elite, what would you know about the plight of the middle class? It's been a long-term socio-economic trend that the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, while the middle class have shifted downward a notch in the strata. The trend has continued for several decades; sociologists and economists have written books about it. Obama's numbers didn't get helped by the worst recession in modern history. And you're going to reverse this trend...how?
"Obama believes in trickle-down government" Oh, give it a rest, would you? You think jacking the phrase that Dems used against Reagan's tax cut philosophy will get you somewhere? And if Obama is to be faulted for not bringing down unemployment enough, then how is Romney going to change anything except through the same means - being in charge of the government?
"I will create 12 million new jobs" The president has very little control over the economy and employment. Romney's centerpiece proposal is to cut taxes, something that has not worked well in the past. If unemployment had dropped under 6%, Obama would be a national hero, despite the fact that he simply would have been lucky. Romney's empty promise could become his legacy if the economy downturns again.
"I will balance the budget" The math just doesn't add up. Cut taxes 20%, and then make it up by eliminating deductions? Gee, good luck with that. Every time congress tries to simplify the tax code by eliminating deductions, the affected interest groups push back. Last year Republicans killed every attempt to curtail deductions that favor the rich, insisting that it violated their sacred Grover Norquist no-tax pledge. Even so, the math still doesn't work unless middle-class deductions are included. And all that just to get back the 20% in additional tax cuts - Romney doesn't mention how to get additional revenue to close the current deficit. Oh, did I mention that he also wants to increase defense spending by a couple of trillion?
"I will repeal Obamacare" This one really puzzles me. How can Romney run away from his own health care model in Massachusetts? What would his replacement for Obamacare look like? Since the same health care lobbyists that wrote Obamacare would still be around to write a RomneyCare bill, chances are only cosmetic changes would result. Unless his elitist impulses win out, in which case he might simply say "If you can't afford insurance, too bad. You're part of the 47% useless eaters".
One of the biggest problems with Romney, in my opinion, is that we just don't know what he really believes in. Candidates all make promises and then evolve as conditions warrant once they are in office. Perhaps by then none have any scruples left, so then it becomes a question of who controls them. Sometimes following the money trail sheds light on that, so you at least have some idea of what to expect.
Who controls Romney? The mystical elders in the Mormon church? He's not a typical political insider, although he's surrounded himself with requisite Neocons and certainly kissed enough insider ass. All we know about him are his intense ambition and his ability to change colors like a chameleon. What we don't know is what kind of deal he made with the devil or who that devil might be. If he gets elected, we are sure to find out eventually.
Granted, a similar question could be raised as to who controls Obama. For a community organizer to rise to junior senator and then president in such short order, powerful forces must be at work behind the scene. Which devil is Obama dealing with?
Here's the real irony: What if Romney's and Obama's devil are one and the same? What if they both work for the same boss? Whoever the boss is, he must be laughing at the pretend drama in the campaign and debates. Bwahahahaha!