Perhaps I’m not writing this at the best of times as I think I have a severe case of EF. Yes, I said EF not ED. EF is for election fatigue and, as you know, ED is for….well, never mind. I’ve previously staked out the rationale for Obama in a piece that I wrote on September 4 entitled “Why I Will Vote for Obama Again”. If you’re interested, That’s still my plan. Only more so.
I also know that those who read my stuff from time to time divide roughly in two camps. First would be the “I’m Preaching to the Choir Group” who will not be any more highly motivated to support the president than they already are regardless of what I say. If you’re in that group, I luv ya bro’. Keep it up. The second group is composed of my dear and not so dear friends who tolerate me; but about matters political, only barely. They might be pleased to be labeled the “I Don’t Care What You Say, I’m not voting for #&%$*ing Obama”. To them I would say, don’t worry, I’ll still love you after all this is over, and the Republic will survive. But this isn’t about Obama. This is about Romney.
So I guess I’m really writing this for myself. An audience of one. I’m doing this for myself. And I’m pretty hard to please.
I will try to not let this turn in to a strident anti-Romney piece; although I’m sorely tempted. In fact, I believe Mitt to be a good person. He’s certainly a good family man, father, and husband. He’s obviously a good business man. I believe he loves the republic. He also knows a lot about leveraged finance and how to make money with other people’s money. I admire him for that. And he’s a good and responsible leader of his community. I’m compelled; however, to speak to two weaknesses, and they are the deal killers for me.
First, he want’s to be elected way too much. His ambition, his ego, and his unquenchable lust for the highest office in the land may be the very characteristic that keeps him from achieving his ambition. Yes, I know that he comes across as more than slightly tone deaf to those who haven’t fed at his particular trough, and it’s easy to say about him as Ann Richards famously did about George Bush…”he was born with a silver boot in his mouth”. He wears jeans, but does he wear boots? Even I, who am not the most sensitive to the needs and feelings of those around me, would give pause before saying in a rush to show his support for the auto industry that, “my wife, Anne, she even owns a couple of Cadillacs”. It’s almost as if he’s reprising Joe Boyd in Damn Yankees who sells his soul to the devil to become the best hitter around only to discover that that’s not what he really wanted. I’m afraid that a Romney deal with his particular devil would be something he really did like, but the rest of us would wouldn’t. He would say anything to anyone to get elected. And yes, I believe he would sell his soul to the devil…metaphorically I mean.
Second, and more importantly, is his attitude that those of us not blessed with his skills, ambitions, success, and net worth are somehow not deserving of the fullness of the benefits of being a citizen of this great country. Not only should we not be entitled in full measure, but that we’re feeding at the public trough. I’m referring to his now infamous 47% comment to a group of high net worth donors. He divides our citizenry into makers and takers based on whether and how much federal income tax we pay. I, like most of us, have been both a taker and a maker in my time. Both Sandra and I took loans from Uncle Sam under the old National Defense Student Loan Program to become the first in our families to get a college degree. I also received a scholarship from the Arnold Air Society of the United States Air Force. We struggled to pay off our loans, but, after ten years, we did. We paid them back in full, and I think Uncle Sam made a good investment based on the taxes we still pay. For awhile, Sandra and I fed at the public trough. We were takers, then we were makers, but for awhile we certainly paid no taxes. We were part of the 47% he so disdains.
My father, now deceased, struggled to survive on the meager retirement he received from the Department of Defense for his service to our country in two wars over twenty five years. In the last years of his life, he also was a taker, but most, if not Mitt Romney and Ayn Rand, would agree that he gave in full measure for what he got even though he paid no federal taxes for the last several years of his life. My mother suffered a catastrophic stroke at an early age. She too, for much of her life, fed at the public trough through the small Social Security Disability check she got every month. They were part of the 47% as well. These are personal stories but not by any measure unique. There are millions of our fellow citizens who for a time have been forced by life’s circumstances to be, by Romney’s definition, takers. I, frankly, am outraged and offended by his comment.
I’m sure that Romney would like a do over on his 47% talk to that group of rich donors, or at least he would like to have the room searched for video capable iPhones before he began to speak. I see no evidence, though, that he didn’t mean what he said. The sad fact is that he was just tailoring his message for his audience. He was telling them what they wanted to hear. At least he has been consistent about that. Successful politicians generally have the capability to hone their message to their audience, but Romney has taken this skill to the point of no return. How can a man say “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose” while running for governor in Massachusettes and then say with a straight face, “I never really called myself pro-choice” and support the so called person-hood amendment while running for president? And his position(s) on a health care mandate are well known. He was for it before he was against it. Look, I respect any man’s right to take a well informed position on important issues of the day, but I don’t respect Romney’s consistent practice of changing his position based on his view of what will appeal to the audience he’s trying to reach. There’s a name for this behavior. No it’s not lying. Hell, all politicians lie about stuff. This is worse. It’s hypocrisy. And maybe it’s lying too.
To prevent you from having to pull out your pocket Webster’s, I offer the following definition of hypocrisy: “hypocrisy is the state of promoting or administering virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, or ideology that one does not actually have…”. “Hyprocrisy often involves the deception of others and thus can be considered…a lie.” La Rouchefacauld said about hypocrisy that it is “the tribute that vice pays to virtue”. Romney is right on point with Francois. I also agree with Boris Pasternak’s character Yuri in Dr. Zhivago who opined, “Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike…”.
I’m guessing that Mitt Romney must not be feeling very well about now.
I wish I knew what Romney really thought. He might actually have some good ideas, but I’m not going to take a chance. That’s why I’m not going to vote for Romney.