Friday, July 20, 2012

The Duchess of Romney and "You People"

The Duchess of Romney
Mitt Romney really, really wants to win the presidency this November. And so does his loyal wife Ann, already a potential First Lady. But neither one of them wants to deal with average working Americans who have a few questions for them.

Reasonable questions for a potential White House occupant like, "how much money have you made, and how much tax have you paid on it over the years?" President Obama started the call for that basic information and was immediately assailed by Mr. Romney who huffily asked for a "public apology" for even suggesting such a thing. 

But Mr. Obama not only didn't apologize, he turned up the heat and has been joined by a growing chorus of demands to see the tax returns from both sides of the aisle. Several have suggested that Romney simply show us the same 20+ years of IRS returns he showed when he was being vetted for Vice President by the McCain Campaign in 2008.

Wife Ann really threw down the gauntlet recently on ABC news when Robin Roberts asked her about releasing the tax returns. Ms. Romney sidestepped answering the question, instead she glowingly reported on how fair her husband is. Robin followed up asking "Why not show that, then?" suggesting that we could all "move on" if her husband would simply make his returns public.

Sweet Ann lost her cool, shooting back, "Because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack... and that's really, that's just the answer! And we've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life." 

The Duchess, in Chapter 9 of Alice in Wonderland, speaking to Alice, could be explaining how Romney and his lovely wife want to be seen by ordinary wage earning commoners in America:
"I quite agree with you," said the Duchess; "and the moral of that is -- 'Be what you would seem to be' -- or if you'd like it put more simply -- 'Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been, would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'"
The Romneys' labyrinthian verbal escape chute is not going to lose many Americans in the twists and turns of his misdirection and obfuscation. The average working American may not be able to quote Hamlet, but he or she sure as shootin' can tell you what "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" means, even if they occasionally misquote it! 

Phony and snobby aloofness doesn't play well with Americans. And political affiliations aside, few find Mitt Romney to be a relaxed down to earth kind of person. His almost manic smile and disingenuous interaction with people at his campaign stops has been dubbed "the uncanny valley" from robotic studies showing that when human replicas look amazingly real, but not exactly like actual human beings, it causes a response of unease and revulsion among human observers. This was addressed by Andrew Sullivan in 'The Daily Beast' recently:
 "I was chatting with a Mormon friend the other day and asking him what Mormons make of Mitt on this 'uncanny valley' question. The phrase he came up with is “the Mormon mask.” It's the kind of public presentation that a Mormon with real church authority deploys when dealing with less elevated believers, talking to them, and advising them. The cheery aw-shucks fake niceness in person is a function in part, some believe, of the role he has long played in the church: always a leader."
Mitt is counting on not only the "Mormon Mask" as a shield to take with him to election day, he also has the broad donor base of big buck Mormon families who share his "common values." Bloomberg Businessweek just reported on the Mormon Church's recent opening of a $2 Billion mega-mall right across the street from their vaulting temple in Salt Lake City. Its 100 stores includes a Tiffany's. 

But it seems that ordinary tithing members of the church, who give 10% of their earnings, can not find out how much money the church has, or what it spends on what. Only its appointed president, Thomas S. Monson, whom Mormons believe to be a living prophet, really knows the bottom line figure. But Romney, a former Mormon Bishop, knows much more than common church members whom he greets with his "Mormon Mask." That may explain the cavalier air of superiority he and his wife exhibit publicly.

Combine that divine secrecy with Mitt Romney's wooden personality and try to picture him and his feisty elitist wife in the White House facing international press scrutiny. This would not be a brief titular undertaking like  his work "saving" the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. 

And today he is frantically distancing himself from his signature achievement as a State Governor in Massachusetts: the implementing his his universal health care reform plan. He is shamefully attempting to escape the "Romneycare" tag. 

Perhaps more appropriately, "political prostitute" as a tag from his long history of flip-flopping on earlier support for major issues like abortion rights might stick. Consider his quote from his 1994 campaigning against Ted Kennedy regarding the Kennedy fortune:  "The blind trust is an age-old ruse."

Recent reports of Romney's money sheltered in the Cayman Islands, his Swiss bank account, and who knows what else, makes many wonder if Romney's supposed blind trust is, indeed, the age-old ruse he seems to know so much about.

Folks must realize Romney would be the new face of America in these globally uncertain times. Last time the GOP won they put a genial dolt at the helm of our ship of state for eight long years, and he ran America up on the rocks with his two unfunded wars, and his embarrassingly profound lack of leadership ability.

With a clearer picture of the "Real Romney" emerging every day, we can only hope that America sees through his thick fog of untruth and misrepresentation when they vote in November. Mark Twain is credited with the quote "It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

In that regard, Mitt Romney becomes more convincing every day.

Graphic by Larry Ray with apologies to Quentin Matsys

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Conservative Ideology and those emails ...

Graphic by Larry Ray

If you occasionally or even regularly receive odious forwarded emails from right wing Conservatives, Tea Party types (and that could include some of our own relatives) you might fire off a reply email debunking the bilge in these emails. But after reviewing the concise overview of conservative ideology, below, it may be easier for you to just hit the delete button for these emails instead of trying to reply with logic and reason.

I have a close friend who has worked hard and who has done extremely well for himself and his family. His deep seated genuine sense of charity and fair play for his fellow man causes him to continue to react and reply to the hateful, selfish and certainly racist emails forwarded to him by his early classmates who are now also very well off old friends.

The emails come largely from white men who are now independently wealthy. Most are now retired physicians, bankers, attorneys and such. My friend tries to reply to them with documented facts that refute, point-by-point, the foul, dubious and appalling warnings and claims in the forwarded emails he receives.

His earnest efforts to change their minds seems only to increase the volume of right-wing conservative emails he receives. 

My many entreaties for him to just stop acknowledging their selfish and loathsome emails were reinforced a few days ago by another of his friends, a down to earth man who is a moderate liberal, rancher, philanthropist and early Silicon Valley entrepreneur. 

He told my friend the same thing I have been telling him, but much more forcefully, by penning the brief outline below of the bare ugly truth about ingrained Conservative zealotry:
The ideology and logic that Conservatives cannot get past . . . 
There will always be poor people. So, there is really nothing you can do about that. So, just let people make their stupid decisions, and even die as a result. They deserve it. You can't do anything about it, anyway. So, just relay tasteless jokes over the Internet instead. I mean, why worry? People are inherently sinners, it's human nature, and therefore individuals are untrustworthy, lazy and gaming any system you throw at them. So, one should put trust into corporations, which are superior to individuals because they have boards that balance out the evil individuals - even if that corporation produces drugs that kill teenagers, spills oil into our environment, kills miners, steals money from Main Street, etc. Why? Because in the end, corporations are more trustworthy than individuals, who in the end are our elected individuals in a democracy, and who, by conservative definition, are individuals who are sinners all and simply can't be trusted. In fact, they need a Judeo-Christian ethic to overcome their unstable human nature. Ergo, you can't trust government, which is made up of individuals who all game the system. So, it' a better bet to have our children and environment in the palm of the profit machines than in the hands of elected officials, who might try to regulate the dangers of those corporations... 
This bare-bones description, certainly a bit of hyperbole and grim humor, nonetheless pretty well nails the historic greed and arrogant assumptions of the Conservative core of the GOP. That Americans are being asked to vote for this bunch of robber barons once again so soon after the eight disastrous years of GOP control in the White House from which we are still trying to recover is truly amazing. 

Also amazing is that so many angry and fearful Americans are just plain dumb as chickens. They feel that voting for Mitt Romney will make things better for them. And, indeed, Romney's hollow and ever changing positions and promises are just so much cracked corn chicken feed. 

Better to just hit the delete button on those far right emails. Remember, "If you are in an argument with a fool, make sure he is not similarly occupied." 

It's also a good idea to hit the delete button for Republican candidates on your ballot as we vote this November. President Obama has a lot more of the GOP's greedy, tangled mess left by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney to clean up.