The GOP Declares Bankruptcy
With Mitt Romney’s recent primary victories in Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin, the inevitability factor has begun to set in and Romney is now the presumptive nominee having prevailed over an embarrassingly weak GOP field of candidates. The good news for Republicans is that by embracing Romney the brutal primary fight soon will come to a merciful end. The bad news, however, is that selecting an out of touch Richey Rich who stands for absolutely nothing as their nominee is tantamount to a declaration of bankruptcy.
The Romney platform is against some of the defining achievements of the Obama administration such as the stimulus, the auto bailout and “Obamacare”, while also claiming to be a classic Ronald Reagan conservative who is pro-life, a global-warming skeptic and a life-long hunter who is against banning assault weapons. Who better to carry the GOP flag on these issues than someone who at one point was for the stimulus, the auto bailout, Obamacare, reproductive freedom and addressing global warming; and who in reality had hunted only a couple of times and favored banning assault weapons?
Who better to lead the party of Reagan than a candidate who was an independent during the Reagan-Bush era whose policies he did not embrace?
Who better to lead the anti-government handout charge, than the man whose signature achievement – heading the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics- depended on $1.5 billion from the federal government through mostly earmarked funds?
Romney is the ultimate CGI candidate, who like his movie star equivalents, stands in front of a blank green screen that his handlers fill in later. This was evident from the campaign’s beginning when his first ad was called “ridiculously misleading” by PolitiFact after he made a 2008 statement of Obama paraphrasing Senator McCain appear as if it were Obama’s own words. The ad prompted a friend of mine, who has no love for Obama, to call me and tell me he is supporting Obama based on that ad alone.
The only thing Mitt Romney is genuine about is that he is Richie Rich, the Grey Poupon candidate and proud of it as he has famously demonstrated in his $10,000 bet offer, bragging about firing people and his multi-million dollar home with an elevator for his cars. He is completely tone deaf when it comes to understanding the other 99 percent as he revealed in Wisconsin by telling the “humorous” story about how his father closed an auto plant in Michigan.
Romney has shown from the start, however, that his objective is not to have a battle over ideas (because that would require that he have or at least hold onto some) but to distort and smear his opponents’ record. For example, this means claiming that Obama made the recession worse, when it actually improved or making other false statements about the President.
The 2012 election offered an opportunity for the Republican Party to rebrand itself after the epic failure of the Bush administration and in light of the fact that it has been a quarter century since the Republicans have won a decisive victory in a President campaign. While it is a least somewhat positive that the Republicans appear not to have embraced Rick Santorum’s push for Christian Sharia or Newt Gingrich’s or Ron Paul’s racial politics, the problem is that they have instead selected a Thurston Howell III Ken doll that simply repeats Republican dogma.
Wind him up and Mitt Romney will tell you that the solution to the near economic catastrophe that the Bush administration led us into, is to do the exact same thing as Bush. That may make sense to a crash test dummy, but it will not go over well with those who have endured the worst downturn since the Great Depression and are now saddled with the bill for Bush’s lost decade.
It is fitting that Romney’s emergence comes as Newt Gingrich’s think tank files for bankruptcy. For Republicans, whose party is led by a robot and the strongest argument to be made in favor of their policies is that “at least we didn’t cause a depression”, are already there.