I must say that watching Mitt Romney during this election campaign and in the three debates was both fascinating and repulsive, very similar to the reaction I had to Gordon Gekko, the oleaginous hedge fund manager impeccably invoked by Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone’s blockbuster “Wall Street.”
Gekko was one of serial rapist and schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo’s heroes. He had a number of Gekko’s aphoristic declarations such as “Greed is Good” pasted on his bedroom wall.
I point this out in passing only because most people who are following or come to this blog only know me as the author of Invsible Darkness: The Strange Case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka and Karla: A Pact with the Devil.
Set in present day Wall Street in 1987 Gordon Gekko was a harbinger. He said “The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars.” (Ah, those were the good old days when the numbers were almost fathomable.)
Gekko continued in his inimitable vein: “One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy? It’s the free market.”
Mitt Romney channels Gordon Gekko. In 1987 he was doing in real life what Gekko was doing on the big screen – hedge fund managing.
Twenty-five years later at a private $50,000 per person private fundraiser in Boca Raton on May 17, 2012, Romney/ Gekko said “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. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives
Doesn’t anyone know a Gekko when they see one?
Does anyone other than other One Precent-ers and 1%-er wannabes want to see a man like Mitt in the Oval Office?
I can understand that the Captains of Industry would vote for a Gekko because he is one of their own and it would be amusing to have unfettered access to a cronie’s corridor of power but I have no idea what appeals to the other 46% that Romney believes will vote for him.
Presumably, there are the 47% who are, according to Romney, going to vote for the President “no matter what.” These are, in Romney’s estimation, freeloaders. According to Romney and his camp, 47% of all Americans who vote “are dependent upon government,” “believe that they are victims,” “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it” In the Republican parlance these and other staples of life are derisively referred to as “entitlements”
What I don’t get is who are the 46% of American voters who apparently think like Romney and his cohorts that he can take their votes for granted. Never mind that the majority of these Romney supporters are well-to-do, God-fearing, bigoted white males. What else is new? I don’t get the attraction but it is a fact.
What both sides acknowledge is what the pollsters tell them – about 6-9% of the remaining voters remain undecided.
Since 1996 we have transitioned from the “soccer mom,” to the “security mom”post-9/11 to the present day “waitress mom” and they are the ones that are going to tip the scales and decide the election.
According to the pollsters and their researchers these are blue-collar white women who did not go to college and live on less than $50,000 per annum. They are not necessarily loyal to either party but right now, according to media reports, they favor a candidate who leads a party that believes all forms of social security and “entitlements” must be slashed, that only one God is great and that abortion should not be legal no matter what the circumstances.
As the Republican candidate from Indiana Richard Mourdock recently said, “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.” There are ads currently running in Indiana that clearly show Mourdock has Romney’s full endorsement. Romney hasn’t asked for an apology or censured Mourdock or rescinded his support. So while Romney may say many things behind closed doors and occasionally even in front of them, the real Mitt Romney peeks out. Read for yourselves: “Crucial Subset: Female Voters Still Deciding“- and “Mourdock’s Comments Pose Dilemma for Romney“.
Just because a person is white, female, uneducated and makes less money than $50,000 does not mean they are stupid does it? Surely they would not vote for men and a political party that maintains the kinds of attitude and holds the beliefs that Romney and Mourdock do? If they did it would be for me another one of those “abiding mysteries.” A very wise and rich friend of mine once told me that if I could not understand another person’s behavior it was simply because they, and their behavior are stupid.
This subset of “waitress moms” represented 9 percent of all voters in 2008 and voted for Obama. If they were there in 2008, in the same position they are now, how can Obama be held responsible for the fact they are still uneducated and make less than $50,000 a year? He inherited the Titanic of all economies – one that had hit the iceberg and was headed to the ocean floor – fast – an economy as bad as The Great Depression’s, which, as every sentient being on the planet knows was the result of the Bush/Cheney Administration’s war mongering and profligate unbridled spending preceded by Reagan’s sweeping changes to regulatory policies that affected how banks and investment firms could do business.
The American economy is starting to turn around, jobs are coming back and Obama’s policies and actions are the only reason this is happening because it ain’t happening in Europe where such austere economic tactics as those Romney espouses are in full force.
As Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times recently “If you want to see how Romney’s economic policies would work out, take a look at Europe. And weep.” “Romney’s Economic Model”
Unlike Mr. Romney, President Obama actually has a plan for moving onward and upward. Like I said, educated or not, a certain percentage of Americans appear to be stubbornly entrenched (i.e. stupid) in certain political doctrines and religious beliefs that are bigoted and exclusionary. How else to explain that almost half of the decided voters really want a Gekko like Romney in the White House, a man not nearly as principled or as enlightened in certain crucial areas as was George W. Bush and look at what he wrought.
It is frightening to think that the fate of this once great nation is in the hands of a subset called “waitress moms” who, by the way, are not necessarily either waitresses or mothers but rather an educational, gender and income classification of professional pollsters.
One would really think that these women would fear Romney the way women in the Niagara Peninsula once feared Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Not so. As the Times’ article reports a women named Ashley Delpidio is going to vote Romney. She is 26, works in customer service for a health insurance company and says “‘I’m a woman so obviously I believe in women’s rights’ but for her the economy is the overriding concern and she believes that Romney would do better at creating jobs.”
Not an opinion shared by Nobel-Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who wrote in a recent column “Snow Job on Jobs” Mr. Romney “doesn’t have a plan; he’s just faking it. In saying that, I don’t mean I disagree with his economic philosophy; I do, but that’s a separate point. I mean instead, that Mr. Romney’s campaign is telling lies:” This isn’t partisanism, it’s called fact checking.
If Romney is elected he will immediately tear down whatever support “waitress moms” now have. They can kiss Planned Parenthood, Big Bird and most importantly Medicaid goodbye. Again, read Krugman on Medicare and what Romney so derisively calls Obamacare: “Death by Ideology.”
Not to mention two of the most important and success initiatives the Obama Administration has put in place: the “Race to the Top” programs in education and transportation. See Tom Friedman’s recent column “Obama’s Best Kept Secrets.”
You would only not know that a Romney lead Republican government would immediately kill all these and other many important and effective programs that the Obama administration has initiated during it’s first four years if you were blind, deaf and dumb.
If I can see all this clearly from here, how is it that this subset of 9 percent of voters in America cannot? Is it a trees for the forest phenomenon? Social amnesia? Stupidity? A recent Romney TV ad featured a young woman telling her newborn: “Dear Daughter. Welcome to America. Your share of Obama’s debit is over $50,000.”
Are Americans so gullible that they do not see right through this glib stuff? Firstly, it’s not Obama’s debt, it’s America’s. Secondly, the Obama administration did not create it, Gekkos named Bush and Cheney did. Can it really be that uneducated white women who earn less than $50,000 a year have the fate of America in their hands? I guess we’ll find out on Election Day.