None of Your Beeswax
Earth to Mitt Romney: When you’ve lost Bill Kristol, George Will, and Haley Barbour, you’ve lost America. Admittedly, these aren’t admirable men, quite the opposite, but that’s precisely the point. Each one would run over their grandmothers, ala Chuck Colson, to see that Socialist darky run out of office and a proper Republican installed in his place, as God intended. Yet all three are quite understandably gobsmacked at Romney’s flat refusal to release any more of his foot-tall tax returns. Kristol even called it “crazy,” and he knows a thing or two about teh crazy.
But it isn’t crazy; it’s worse. As Charlie Pierce put it:
This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for The Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.
That’s it in a nutshell; Romney’s gilded life has been an unending pageant of accolades, honors, and sweetheart deals, populated by legions of fawning sycophants, so he naturally assumes running for President should be no different. This character defect, which would be annoying enough in happier times, is downright revolting in a grinding recession, from a guy who thinks the only thing currently wrong with America is that the rich aren’t rich enough, and the poor, poor enough. That, and we aren’t in enough wars.
While such peculiar notions are all but universal among today’s Republican Party, Romney doesn’t even respect the process enough to come out and say so. Even his policy proposals are simply nobody’s business but his own. Don’t like it? He’s got a car (or eight) to strap you to the top of. I never thought I’d say this, but Romney’s candidacy makes me almost nostalgic for George W. Bush. Bush clearly shared Romney’s contempt for the lower orders, but he was careful not to reveal this during the 2000 campaign. At least he had the decency to lie about who, exactly, would benefit from his tax cuts. Romney, who lies every time he opens his mouth, for once is startlingly honest on that score: no more “free stuff” for you peasants; henceforth government largesse will be strictly reserved for corporations and the wealthiest.
Bush also saw the political liability of being a privileged dauphin infamous for upward failure; you may have been no more convinced than I was by his fake-folksy demeanor and mangled syntax, but both did effectively paper over his Yale/Harvard/Kennebunkport pedigree for the trailer park set. In short, he may not have had ordinary Americans’ best interests at heart, but he labored mightily not to come off as Little Lord Fauntleroy’s evil twin, which would have kind of given away the game. Romney shows no such reticence.
Both candidates made their fortunes through a combination of being born rich and taking full advantage of the crony capitalism such high birth affords, but Bush, bless his heart, still wasn’t very good at it, and at least baseball was involved. Romney, on the other hand, was a little too good at it: he didn’t just fleece a few Texas taxpayers and some indulgent investors, he turned Bain Capital into a Ronco Fleece-a-Matic that picked innocent pockets on a global scale, and continues to do so with ruthless efficiency.
Bush famously played up his many imperfections, from poor grades and excessive drinking to simplemindedness and lack of impulse control, and to that sort of American inclined to vote Republican, it humanized him. Romney not only plays up, but revels in, his lack of imperfections; to his mind his perfect family, obscene wealth, Ken doll looks, La Jolla mansion, multiple Cadillacs, dressage horses, and on and on are prima facie evidence of his innate superiority and entitlement to lead. He still seems mystified that so many Americans are too danged dimwitted to get on board, and his strategy reflects that arrogant delusion.
I guess if you believe in Magic Underwear, you’ll believe just about anything.