Sunday, September 9, 2012

What is Important to Mitt Romney, and What is Not (Subtitle: Brass)

by Blueberry T

Quite a few fact checkers have written about the many dubious claims in Mitt Romney’s RNC speech.   Suffice it to say that there were a fair number of whoppers, and even more misleading statements that misrepresent his own role and position, and that of the GOP, in creating the economic crisis in America and toward women, workers and immigrants.  Here are some of the fact-checks from the MSM: Washington Post,  ABC News, MSNBC; then there was Bill Clinton's virtuoso performance at the DNC, debunking the GOP mythology, point by point.  
h/t to NJfan 

What I want to focus on is Mitt Romney’s remarkable statement, in an interview with Fox News, that he didn’t mention or thank the troops in his acceptance speech because the speech was not “a laundry list” and he only mentioned what is “important.”  Well, that statement speaks for itself; it is always good to know what a candidate for President thinks is really important, and Romney is rarely so forthcoming about what he really thinks.  Given Romney’s own personal history of supporting the draft during Vietnam,  but then serving his church in France rather than serving his country, I think it is fair to look at what Romney considers more important than thanking U.S. troops who are in harms way as they try to finish two wars that George W. Bush (and the neo-cons that are now Romney’s advisors) started.  After all, he is running for Commander-in-Chief, for Pete’s sake!

What I want to look at is what he considered important enough to include in the speech, so much so that he could not fit in a mention of the troops serving in harm’s way.  (I assume it’s obvious that he could have made the speech a few seconds longer to add a small personal tribute, if he had actually considered this “important.”  His excuse doesn’t pass the straight face test, except on Fox News.) 

I went through Romney’s speech to see what he did take the time to mention.  Here are some of the things that Mitt Romney considered more important, by including them in his speech, than acknowledging U.S. troops and their families and thanking them for their service:

  • Romney likes the way Paul Ryan “lights up around his kids. And how he's not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.”
  • Romney: “I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours” (meaning Ryan’s). 
  • He said: “My dad had been born in Mexico [but omits reason why].  And his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution.  I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the U.S. government as war refugees.”  Okay, he is giving his bio, which is fair enough; but why is this not anathema to the Republican anti-government, “we made it on our own” message?  He also mentions that his dad never finished college and apprenticed as a carpenter.  What he omits about his father is the fact that George Romney ran for President despite being born outside the U.S. but Romney recently went “birther”; his dad also released 12 years of tax returns because one might be “a fluke, perhaps done for show” and was a moderate, proponent of civil rights and a man of considerably more integrity than Mitt could ever hope to have. 
  • “My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed that what church went to.”
  • “All the laws and legislation is in the world will never heal the world like the loving hearts and arms of loving mothers and fathers.”
  • “…every day, dad gave mom a Rose, which he put on the bedside table.”  
  • “I grew up in Detroit, in love with cars.”  
  • “Those weren't the easiest of days.  Many long hours, and weekends working.  Five young sons who seemed to have a need to reenact a different world war every night ... these were tough days on Ann, particularly.  She was heroic through it all…  I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine.  I knew without question that her job as a mom was a lot more
    important than mine.”  [Note he has now made this same point at least 3 times; obviously he feels that Ann’s “heroism” is far more important than that of the troops.]

  • “We had remarkably vibrant endeavors congregations from all walks of life, and many who were new to America.  We prayed together, our kids played together, and we always stood ready to
    help each other out in different ways.”  
  • “When our son or daughter calls from college to talk about which job offer they should take, and you try not to choke up when you hear that the one they like best is not too far from home.” [Note to Mitt: many college graduates would be thrilled to have job offers anywhere…]
  • “It's that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach for you kids soccer team or help out on school trips.”
  • “When I was 37, I helped to start a small company.  My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.  So some of us have the
    idea that, if we really believe our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies.  We should bet on ourselves and our advice.  So we started a new business called Bain Capital.” 
  • “By the way, I thought about asking my church's pension fund to invest, but I didn't. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors' money, but I did not want to go to hell, too.”
  • Romney mentioned Staples, the Sports Authority, Bright Horizons and Steel Dynamics; these were apparently “important.”  However, he did not mention Ampad, KB Toys, GS Industries, Dade International or others, nor the fact that Bain got bailouts from the FDIC; these were apparently “unimportant.”   Matt Taibbi has written brilliantly about Bain’s load-up-the-debt-and-suck-out-the-cash business model and the NYTimes wrote about how Bain profited even when the companies it took over did not.  Apparently these parts of the story would have tarnished the "turnaround specialist" image that Romney was trying to project.  
  • And, as a laugh line:  “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans.  And to heal the planet.”  That is really funny, in a Mitt-Romney’s-sick-humor kind of way, especially when delivered on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, while New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were getting hit again by a hurricane. 

I also want to highlight a few of the points he included to intentionally mislead and deceive the audience on issues that are certainly “important” by any reasonable measure. 
  • Immigrants (he suggests they, along with the rest of the country, were duped by believing in Obama’s message of hope and change):  “… none doubted that here in America they could build a better life.  That in America, their children would be blessed more than they.”  I will simply note how deceptive and hypocritical this is, in light of the GOP’s and Romney’s own opposition to the DREAM Act and because the GOP is not at all welcoming to immigrants.  I wonder if Sherriff Arpaio, who was invited to speak at the RNC, was paying attention. 
  • He implies empathy for workers who “lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour, benefits, you took two jobs at $9 an hour.”  Picking up Bill Clinton’s vernacular, I gotta say it takes brass for Romney to say this, after he made his fortune putting thousands of people out of good paying jobs and forcing some of them to re-apply for the same job at lower wages with no benefits.  Real brass. 
  • And while I’m on n the subject of real brass, here is a paragraph where Romney pretends to care about American workers, while the truth is that he was an outsourcing pioneer and a willing destroyer of these very same American jobs:  “You did it because your family depended on you.  And you did it because you are an American, and you don't quit.  You did it because that was because it was because you had to do...In those moments, you knew that this just was not right.  But what could you do except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic, hug your kids a little longer, maybe spend more time praying tomorrow would be a better day.”  Fake sympathy. Real brass.  
  • He says that “…this president cannot tell us that you're better off today than when he took office.”  Wow, that’s a pretty broad “you” there in that sentence.  Certainly many people are not doing better, most especially the long-term unemployed and those who lost their homes, due largely to the GOP-driven deregulation of the financial sector and malfeasance by lenders and investment businesses.  But as a whole, it is undeniable except to the certifiably insane that the country is doing much better, economically and in many other ways.  Here were the headlines of four years ago.  As just one set of indicators, here’s the stock market change since President Obama took office: 

Value at Close on:
% change

S&P 500

The very poor (about whom Romney is not concerned anyway) and many in the middle class are still struggling, largely because of the GOP’s obstruction of the President’s job-creation proposals.  Even so, and despite the GOP’s treasonous attempts to sabotage President Obama’s efforts,  jobs are rebounding after huge losses in the latter part of the Bush presidency, carrying over into the early part of Obama’s before his efforts could take effect. 
  • His claim is all the more disingenuous, in light of this interview.  
  • Romney pledges to create 12 million jobs, which not coincidentally is exactly what Moody Analytics projects under current policies.  
  • And what about himself and Ann – are they doing better than four years ago?  Given that their income is primarily from investments, and that he carried over capital losses from 2009 (and very likely 2008), it is highly likely that he is doing WAY better than he was four years ago.  If he would #releasethereturns, we could say for sure – which is probably one of the reasons he hasn’t done so.
  • Romney claimed that President Obama “…took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have, and one that was essential to the task at hand.  He had almost no experience working in a business.  Jobs to him are about government.”  Leaving aside for the moment the fact that this is a lie in the first place, the record of several presidents who were businessmen is not all too impressive; see, Hoover, Herbert C. and Bush, George W., for example. 
  • “And yet the centerpiece of the president's entire reelection campaign is attacking success.  Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?”  I have to just simply state what utter BS this is, and leave it at that, before my blood pressure gets out of control.  
  • That's why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction, ‘You're better off than you were four years ago.  Except Jimmy Carter.  And except this president.’”  Oops, it seems he forgot George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, aside from lying about “this President.”
  • “I will begin my presidency with the jobs tour.  President Obama began his with an apology tour.”  This lie has been debunked repeatedly, but Romney doesn’t let that get in the way of an inflammatory claim, because otherwise the title of his book might seem like a cheap shot, right?  
Those are the things (some real and some fictional) that Mitt Romney considers important.  The people who served and still serve our country in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and their families, did not make the cut.   

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