Freedom Rider: Mitt Romney, The Less Effective Evil
by BAR editor and senior Margaret Kimberley
Mitt Romney is living proof that incompetent white guys with money can go far in life – but not, this time, to the White House. The poor little rich boy will doubtless blame the 47%. But Obama will treat them no better. “If he is re-elected he will waste no time in making another grand bargain with the Republicans which will come at the expense of the 47%.”
Freedom Rider: Mitt Romney: The Less Effective Evil
by BAR editor and senior Margaret Kimberley
“Romney is very ambitious but not very bright, which is the cause of his latest campaign troubles.”
At Black Agenda Report we have long argued against the canard of supporting the “lesser of two evils.” After all, one is still supporting evil and the rightward shift in American politics means that the so-called lesser evil is generally nothing of the sort.
Barack Obama is not, as most Democrats argue, the lesser of two evils, he is actually the more effective evil. Mitt Romney is simply no match for Obama, who clearly surpasses him in intellect and political shrewdness. Obama knows how to give his supporters the back of his hand and still get their undying love and loyalty. Romney doesn’t have anyone’s loyalty and is living proof of the power of white privilege and the entitlements that come with wealth.
Romney’s presidential campaign is only viable because of deep pocketed right wing contributors and deeply racist white Americans who cling to the Republican Party regardless of the quality of its candidates. The Romney campaign has weathered many missteps on the part of the candidate, who managed to insult the British during a simple photo opportunity at the Olympics and who was unable to run an effective convention, which is now nothing more than a glorified commercial. He followed his lackluster event with hastily made and just plain incorrect statements about the killing of the American ambassador to Libya and followed that public relations disaster by stating that middle income Americans earn $200,000 per year. Mitt Romney is a conservative, turned moderate, turned conservative again. He is very ambitious but not very bright, which is the cause of his latest campaign troubles.
During a May fund raising event Romney was recorded saying the following about Obama supporters:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
For good measure, he added, “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”
“Romney doesn’t have anyone’s loyalty and is living proof of the power of white privilege and the entitlements that come with wealth.”
His remarks were not that shocking considering past statements about not caring about poor people, but his obvious obedience to right winger red meat makes him unappealing to the millions of people who don’t pay income taxes because they only have Social Security to live on.
In contrast, Barack Obama also sucks up to wealthy patrons at private events but isn’t nearly as ham fisted about it. During a $30,000 per plate fund raiser at the Greenwich, Connecticut home of one Richard Richman (his real name) Obama took the opportunity to sneer at his progressive critics and was so unconcerned about any reaction that he posted his comments on the White House web site, complete with indication of when the well heeled group had a laugh at the expense of his supporters.
“Now, the second reason I'm telling you this is because Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn’t there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particularly derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven’t yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.)”
The teflon president let his host know that he remembers where his bread is buttered without insulting half of the population in the process.
“Austerity is killing the economy and causing terrible hardships, but liberals didn’t make that case.”
Liberals leapt upon the words which even Romney called “inelegantly stated” and in the process showed their own brand of evil. Liberals could have pointed out that Americans should expect decent housing and medical care. They could have noted that there are nations around the world who do provide for their citizens’ basic needs, and that they are more advanced as a result.
Instead of shooting fish in the barrel when even conservative pundits piled on the Romney condemnation, they could have advocated for a different conversation about the role of government in our lives. Austerity is killing the economy and causing terrible hardships, but liberals didn’t make that case. Because there are enough Americans with some degree of need for government support, the Romney comments made for great political theater. But if liberals were interested it could have been an opportunity for so much more.
Obama proved that he has no more regard for people living on the margins than Romney has when he put Social Security and Medicare on the budget cutting table. He convened a budget deficit commission and packed it with pro-austerity conservatives without anyone in either party having asked him to do so. If he is re-elected he will waste no time in making another grand bargain with the Republicans which will come at the expense of the 47%.
A few gaffes won’t ruin a campaign, but the cumulative effect of repeated examples of incompetence make it unlikely that Romney will be the next president. He is no match for Barack Obama, a master of marketing and slickness. Men dumber than Romney have won presidential elections, but they weren’t up against the likes of Obama. If anyone is the lesser of two evils, it is Mitt Romney. He isn’t really less evil, he is just not as good at hiding it.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.