The baptistry in the new Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, Ill., features 12 oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to contemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it? His friends can only hope he is too morally obtuse to realize that crushing truth. Losing elections is one thing. But the greater loss, the real loss, is the loss of honor. What Romney Lost – Garry Wills – NYRB – 11/9:2012
For the archetypal moment, Willard was the perfect candidate, fit to the cultural contradictions stretched between “government hands off my Medicare,” and the opacity of out-of-sight riches, and, of course, the etch-a-sketch scrim for the shape-shifty fulfillment of Romney’s feudal ambitions intermixed with the White Horsey Prophecy.
The latter I offer with a wink, while pointing in the direction of that most scientology-like of the post-modern Christian Heresies.
But then came Colorado for the president and Florida also was looking tougher than anyone had imagined.
“We just felt, ‘where’s our path?'” said a senior adviser. “There wasn’t one.”
Romney then said what they knew: it was over.
His personal assistant, Garrett Jackson, called his counterpart on Mr. Obama’s staff, Marvin Nicholson. “Is your boss available?” Jackson asked.
Romney was stoic as he talked to the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.
“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”
Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.
Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.
“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.
Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.
They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats – and that would translate into votes for Romney. Romney Shellshocked By Loss
And to think: Romney prides himself on being data-driven, and Ryan is a self-described ‘numbers guy.’
Going into election day my hunch was that Romney would get plastered by votes from: minorities, women, under-30s, and, that the GOP war-on-women may incur blowback among GOP women too. Maybe GOP women would stay home at historic levels of refusal! Against this I figured on strong turn out of old white guys where it didn’t really matter. The tracking polls in Ohio suggested a small turnout bump would make all the difference, and, this is what happened.
I also felt that in Ohio, where I live, Romney’s outrageous TV ad about Obama and Jeep, once thoroughly debunked, started to serve a new purpose, reminding viewers that Romney didn’t care about the facts. And, much worse, by not pulling the ad, it sent the message Romney believed voters in Ohio to be fools and suckers. It seems that Romney didn’t have any social psychologists on his team!
In the end which Romney lost, the arch right winger of the primaries or the pseudo-Reaganesque moderate of the general election? We will likely never know. Say what you will about the ongoing ideological battle in America, this election demonstrated what I call the problem of the GOP empty suit.
It is becoming increasingly apparent Ann Romney has lived as sheltered a life as has her husband.
Romney’s remarks, then, are of a piece with a narrative – poverty as character defect – favored by many who know exactly jack about the reality of poverty, but who have discovered that demonizing the faceless poor, giving us someone new to resent and blame, is good politics. They wrap their attacks in rags of righteousness and pretensions of pragmatism, but there is something viscerally wrong, morally shrunken, in a nation where the most fortunate are encouraged to treat the least fortunate as some enemy race.
So the big story here is not about what damage Romney did to his campaign. Yes, the fact that he used condemnation of the poor as a lever of political advantage shames him.
But the very fact that the lever exists shames us all.
Josh Green, quoting Romney’s Twitter nemesis, comedian Rob Delaney, “Romney fascinates me endlessly,” Delaney said before his show at a Montreal comedy festival last week. “He’s such an attractive target comedically because more than any other candidate in my lifetime, he just wants to be president. That’s it! He longs for it. Feels it’s his birthright. I can imagine him getting elected and just saying, ‘Well, that’s that then!’ and staring out a window.”
He just needs to be President. It would, complete him.
I wonder about Willard’s Mormonism. Does Romney justify his mendacity for theological reasons? Does Romney understand Jesus did come to America, (or appeared so-to-speak. as reported in the Mormon holy epic?) Against these several things I’m curious about, the probable toxic contents of his unrevealed tax returns are, to me, boring. Oh, he won’t destroy his campaign by releasing any more returns.
Today, I am amazed Romney and his courtmen figured out a way to lie, and, piss off military men and women in a single swoop. How could Mittens be so stupid to let this happen?
Meanwhile, and speaking of someone “substantial and important,” who is by reputation Mitt’s intellectual superior, Paul Ryan, some ripe and embarrassing footage:
How can Ryan be considered intelligent and also spout anti-intellectual clap trap such as that on display from the beginning to the end of this clip? It showcases his puerile Randian fantasizing and his sober allegiance to the thorough-going banalities of his ideological fixations.
Curious about Ryan, I now know way too much about how his youthful enthusiasms got the best of his raw intellectual potential. I’m fairly certain Ryan will never tutor himself on the principle ways purist political ideologies–as a genre–are in all cases found to be disreputable and incredible.
The moral of the story is to beware of politicians pumped up on ideological visions stoked by novelists and fairy tales about how slashing taxes and spending sets us free. The world is more complicated than that. Our economic challenges will never be resolved by those who pledge never to raise taxes or spending any more than it would by those who pledge never to cut them.
And especially don’t be fooled if they happen to possess the numeracy to write their ideas down in budgets. Their numbers just don’t add up.
Reminding me of Reagan, the iconic Republican who figured out the political advantages of matching the ‘supply-side’ with white resentment. Romney, as I sense his motivations, wants to usher in a sea change as Reagan did in his time. It seems to the point that Reagan, now a template, wanted to get his foot in the door as a matter of his having successfully retailed a fresh ideology, and then, once elected, Reagan just did what he wanted to do. So, he was a Keynesian; a proxy cold killer of hundreds of thousands of innocent Hispanic peasants; a radical anti-Constitutionalist; a taxer, borrower, profligate spender; a negotiator with terrorists; a benefactor of jihadis; and, incidentally, the headman for a famously corrupt administration; and one that served as a finishing school for future war criminals Rumsfeld and Cheney and many others.
Soon enough, during the eighties, in effect, the contras came to feast on the Laffer Curve.
Already, the fever dream of leading American military might into a desert world war in Iran has struck chicken hawk/draft dodger Romney’s fancy–with all his talk about stopping Iran’s capability. If Romney is elected, my guess is that Ryan’s fantastic plan to rapidly race to the bottom in the name of Ayn Rand will end up being subsumed by a counter-productive conflagration in Iran.
It is helpful always to remind yourself that, in the mind of Willard Romney, there are only two kinds of people — himself and his family, and The Help. Throughout his career, and especially throughout his brief political career, Romney has treated The Help with a kind of lordly disdain. It was there when he swooped down from snowy Olympus and shoved an incumbent Republican governor named Jane Swift under a train. It was there in the general election in 2002, when he glibly pushed aside the Democratic candidate, state treasurer Shannon O’Brien, who raised almost all the same issues against Romney that the president and his people are belaboring him with today. The only time it didn’t work was in his race against Senator Edward Kennedy, when Romney found himself up against a candidate with so much money that he couldn’t outspend him, and so much historical gravitas that he couldn’t ignore him.
The Help has no right to go pawing through the family books, giggling at the obvious loopholes and tax dodges, running amok through all the tax shelters, and probably getting their chocolate-y fingerprints all over the pages of the Romney family ledger. And, certainly, those members of The Help in the employ of the president of the United States, who is also part of The Help, have no right to use the nearly comically ostentatious wealth of the Romney as some sort of scrimey political weapon. He does not have to answer to The Help. I mean, jeepers, he’s running for office.
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. (Charles S. Pierce, Esquire, July 16)
Willard ‘mittens’ Romney really really really really wants to be the next President. As his wife said, “It’s Mitt’s turn.”
It may seem to some that the existence of an uber-stiff character such as Willard Romney is more the stuff of literature rather than real life. It seems to be likewise the case with the entirety of Romney’s moment; his having arrived at this juncture to represent, literally the 1%. There are a bunch of heightened contradictions in the collision of Randian one-percenters, Tea Party patriots, and, the audible gasping of the legions of rural and evangelical middle-aged male white tribesmen. Yet, Romney seems to me to be an implausible unitary figure, except here he is mantle-in-hand, and, what do I know?
As I’ve mentioned before, for me and my vote, I will likely always pull the lever on a plutocrat from the left side.
Friends have recoiled when I suggest that our next President, unfortunately, will be named Willard. (My own guess is that Eric Cantor will be the veep.) The reason for this estimate is not the mood of the country, the high unemployment rate, or, exhaustion with gridlock. It’s simply that the PAC’s aligned with Romney will spend and do whatever it takes to support the message that Barack Obama will completely destroy the country in a second term. The daffy Bro Koch plutocrats and their ilk will spend Obama’s forces into the ground.
Romeny’s campaign will pivot. This fear-oriented campaign will cost right wing donors upward of $2 billion dollars. In light of this sense of mine, that Romney will also say almost anything to win, that his mendacity is epic, and that the consequence of his election is surely to be a regional war in the mid-east, my interest in his complicated personality, fifties-style technocratic outlook, and, his ripe messianic Mormonism, wanes quite a bit. Yup, he strikes me as a very fascinating character when seen through the psychological lens–so what?
Bonus, enough Mormon doctrine to allow anybody with an interest in comparative religion to be able to recognize connective threads between statements of doctrine here with other mass varieties of traditionalist fundamentalism. Oh, you didn’t already know prayer cures sexual deviancy?
Of course, on the Mormon account, we’re all Mormons–whether or not we recognize the revealed wisdom of Smith and Angel Moroni.
The following address was given by Bishop Keith B. McMullin at the 20th annual Evergreen International Conference held in Salt Lake City, Saturday, September 18, 2010
Bishop Keith B. McMullin
Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric
There is no more highly charged topic on the public stage today than the one dealing with same-gender attraction. Advocacy groups, politicians, and voices from the fields of law, science and religion trumpet their respective views with great fervor. The media fans each spark of controversy into hotly contested debate. Amid this contest of opinions, several things become apparent.
First, far less is known about the causes of same-gender attraction than is claimed to be known. Preliminary findings are touted as proven facts while retractions or contradicting evidence about the same issue receive little, if any, attention. The result is an abundance of untruth and distortions worthy of Isaiah’s warning:
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! . . . [Who] justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! . . . They have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel”(Isaiah 5:20–21, 23, 24; see also 2 Nephi 15:18–24).
Second, the personal well-being of those struggling with same-gender attraction often declines with each so-called public victory for same-sex attraction. Increased public acceptance of same-sex behavior inevitably leads to a diminution of personal, righteous behavior. When sophistry prevails, the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life is obscured. Hence the Savior’s warning: “Enter ye in at the strait gate; . . .Beware of false prophets, [who] come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:13, 15; see also 3 Nephi 14:13, 15).
Third, in the chasm between man’s ways and God’s laws regarding same-gender issues, there stand earnest souls yearning for understanding and solutions to what for them is a moral conundrum. Initiatives to legitimize same-sex attraction deepen their moral conundrum. For example, the cultural adaptations to same-gender marriage will, in time, make the prospect of eternal marriage and family more difficult to attain. Wide acceptance of same-sex attraction will inevitably foster greater deviance from God’s laws. These moral disparities remind us again of the Lord’s words:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9; see also verses 10–11). Continue reading →
There’s so much I could blather on about the delicious presidential battle shaping up between old school neo-liberal plutocrats of the centerist left vs “personal responsibility” Ayn Randian tea party plutocrats. Once again, as I mostly rediscover every four years, I find myself leaning on Melanie Klein, and so I very much prefer the mature depressive as against the volatile dynamics of the paranoid schizoid.
Which is to say: Obama’s Quixotic aspiration to realize a bi-partisan governing muddle is far superior than Mitt’s hope to galvanize the hating shards of resentful anti-cosmopolitan aging boys, and, crony ‘paper economy’ capitalists.
I do grant that Mitt Romney is a fascinating political figure as a matter of his elevated, nubby peculiarities. He is the oddest major party nominee in my adult political experience of forty years. But, I’ll save arm chair amateur psychoanalysis for a later presentation. Nevertheless, that Republican have nominated an actual plutocrat four years after the speculators, rent seekers and Randian nihilistas brought down the economy is both impressive and precious–all at once.