Don’t Bain on Me

romney sharkSo the Republican nutcases have finally chosen their Presidential nominee, and it is Muffy…I mean Mitt. Romney exudes all the qualities of an upper-class American: wealthy, powerful father, expensive prep school, top college and business school, a successful sports executive, a multi-millionaire, and a former governor, all just like his predecessor, George W. Bush. We all know how that turned out.

On a recent trip to Europe, I learned that many Europeans do not trust Romney, characterizing him as someone who “has a fluid relationship with the truth”. Mitt has lied and changed his positions so many times, without apparent embarrassment, that his supporters expect it and are not bothered by it.

But I am. Why on earth would the American voter elect someone as its next President who is the poster child for the Wall Street excesses that almost drove the country into another Depression just four years ago? Are memories that short? Or is it that unmitigated greed has taken over, with almost half of the voting population not caring what happens to the country as long as their taxes don’t increase?

Many Republicans also deny the serious changes to our climate that have made the past year the warmest on record. After all, they will all be dead when the serious adverse climate effects are visited upon the human population, so who cares?

It is difficult to assess the consequences of current economic and political policies until a generation or more has passed. So we will not know if the current policies regarding “Obamneycare”, dealing with climate change, Wall Street regulation (or the lack thereof), the use of drones as a surrogate for warfare, current education policies (“starve the beast”), etc. are the right approaches.

But the alternatives are healthcare for the few, the ultimate death of the human race (and other living beings), a major global financial meltdown, another world war, and the elimination of public education. All this looks like a return to the Nineteenth Century, presided over by the Grand Old Party.

And Mitt is a Mormon. Does that mean anything, insofar as governing this country is concerned? Probably not, as Romney has not said a word about his religious beliefs. He did go on a Mormon mission to France in his youth (and speaks fluent French as a result), and was an elder of his church in Boston, which for Mormons means that he presided over the local branch.

Will he import his religious beliefs into his role as President if he is elected? Apparently a non-drinker of alcohol and coffee, and a non-smoker (of cigarettes and stronger stuff), will he and Ann serve wine at state functions in the White House, or will soft drinks be the drink of choice? (Coca-Cola, however, has caffein in it, and may be banned.) Will young Americans be urged to go on missions abroad, in an expanded Peace Corps, the military, or as Mormon missionaries?

The effect of the Citizens United decision has yet to be determined, but if Romney is elected President due to a huge, crushing media barrage of ads in his favor by his campaign and the Republican “super-PACs”, our democracy will really be in danger. As a one- or two-term President, Romney could transform the Supreme Court into a court dominated by extreme conservatives, who could do away with abortion rights, kill “Obamneycare”, eliminate all regulation of Wall Street, dump Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, abolish all gun control laws, and entirely eliminate the social safety net. In other word, turn the country into an oligarchy, run by plutocrats like Romney.

ted vaillAbout the only good thing I can say about Romney is that he is better than the other seven Republican crazies who ran for President this cycle (except perhaps Huntsman, who got no traction with the voters). We have no idea where Romney really stands on any of the important issues which the next President will face, as he lies or changes his position so often that he truly has no “inner core’ that is evident to me. And he is largely unknown abroad, as he has no foreign policy experience (he may support invading Iran, but who really knows?).

Later this month, I will travel to Paris and London for several weeks. I intend to survey Europeans as to their feelings about Romney, and I will report.

Ted Vaill

Ted Vaill is in his second term as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party Convention, and is a recovering lawyer and a filmmaker.

Posted: Tuesday, 10 July 2012

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