Thanks to Michael Tomasky, I think I understand now just why Mitt Romney can’t answer these questions: Mitt thinks we can’t handle the truth.
It’s the only explanation I can think of. It explains why Romney’s associates say he stayed on at Bain for three years after 1999.” It explains why fellow “private equiteers” who have looked at his record and determined that Romney “privatized the gains and socialized the losses” when he ran Bain Capital.
Remember Col. Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men? Back in 1992 – not quite a year after the end of “active hostilities” in the first Gulf war, and just a month or so after Bill Clinton won the presidential election – Jessup, backed in to an corner under cross-examination, blasted us with a “truth” he thought we couldn’t handle.
Tomasky daydreamed that Mitt Romney might sound something like Nathan Jessup, if he had enough of a spine to tell us what he really thinks.
It made me daydream about a Mitt Romney who had a spine and what he’d say. Someone who makes parody videos might make one of Romney as Col. Jessup of “A Few Good Men,: staring down his pesky interrogator. This is a Romney one could almost respect:
Son, we live in a world that has wages, and those wages have to be lowered by men with cunning. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Mr. Axelrod? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Ampad, and you curse Bain. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Ampad’s demise, while tragic, probably saved capitalism. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves America.
You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me at that desk, you need me at that desk. We use words like bootstrapping, call price, and carried interest. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very consumer freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a business degree and create some destruction. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
As long as we’re considering movie parodies for Mitt Romney, here’s one I suggested during the primaries.
It’s such a perfect fit that Romney wouldn’t even need to change his policies. (Or even his suit for that matter.)
It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, given what we already know about Mitt Romney.
Of course, there are the gaffes. So many, in fact, that they’re hard to keep up with.
- We know that Mitt Romney thinks corporations are people.
- We know Mitt Romney can make a $10,000 bet as easily as most of us make a $10 bet.
- We know Mitt Romney likes being able to fire people.
- We know that even when Mitt Romney was unemployed he earned $374,000 in speaker’s fees, and that it was “not very much.”
- We know that Mitt Romney’s wife drives two Cadillac, and doesn’t think of herself as rich.
- We know that, while he doesn’t follow NASCAR, Mitt Romney has some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.
- We know Mitt Romney has a really funny story about the time his father closed a Michigan-based factory and move operations to Wisconsin.
- We know Mitt Romney is not concerned about the very poor.
There are more gaffes, and there will be even more between now and November. And they are telling. But when it comes to the real Mitt Romney, the wealth-related gaffes are really a kind of shorthand
It may be the truth, but it’s unlikely to help Romney with the waiters and waitresses at his country club fundraisers, or the middle class he barely even mentions, considering any more than his policies would help the non-country-club set.
Though he may embrace the middle class rhetorically, his actual policy tells a different story. Romney plans to increase the taxes for half of middle class families with children, while his wealthy fundraiser attendees who make $1 million or more would get an annual tax cut of nearly $150,000. He also wants to make it easier for companies to outsource jobs; by exempting companies from taxes on foreign profits, Romney could send as many as 800,000 jobs overseas.
He also recently flipped his position on raising the minimum wage, saying, “There’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.” In Mississippi, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the minimum wage for tipped employees is an even lower $2.13. The minimum wage would need be be near $10 today to have the purchasing power that it had in the 1960s.
Just a few months ago, Romney dismissed concern for the struggling middle class as “envy” and “class warfare.” Now he’s trying to change his tune a bit, while still embracing policies that would do no favors for American workers.
Still, I agree with Tomasky: That would be a Mitt Romney I could almost respect. Almost.