Romney’s Cultural Manifesto – The Real Mitt Emerges?

Have we just been given a rare glimpse of the real Mitt Romney? A man free of handlers, advisors and speech writers? A man who says what he really thinks?

I’m not even going to venture into the racial implications unleashed in his speech to Israeli supporters, leaving this to others to articulate.  The whole topic is a minefield in which no lemming need tread.

I will only say this: Mitt Romney has unveiled a whole new manifesto of belief with regard to the importance of money to cultural success. A whole new theory of cultural financial superiority. A manifesto that would be part of his thinking as President.

And, it appears to me that his remarks were rather rushed and very poorly vetted.

So many questions.

Did he really wish to infer that those of the Jewish culture were more inclined to be monetarily successful than others? Could you imagine the reaction to this statement in reverse? Could you imagine why any of his advisors would ever allow this to be put out there? Does he not know of the old, silly and insulting Jewish stereotypes regarding money? One would think he must.

Other important questions include how a President Romney could ever be a credible broker in the Middle East after this, how a President Romney could ever be trusted by the Arab world.  And believe me, this is no small matter.

Yes, they would have to deal with him and would certainly do so to further the peace process, but they would never trust him. And trust is exactly what is be needed to solve these complex issues, otherwise the process is doomed.

With so many important ramifications, it’s a good thing the US has a free press so we can sort it all out, right?

Remember, we know that a great number of people only read news from sources that align with their political views.  This has been studied and proven. So, what did GOP supporters see on their two main online news sites the day this broke? How did the US conservative media respond?

Nothing about the “racist” comments at all.

That’s right. On the day candidate Romney espoused a superior Israeli culture (and an inferior Palestinian one), Fox News had lead stories about:

  • “House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers tells Fox News that leaks out of the Obama administration haven’t stopped despite controversy”
  • “Following Obama’s support of same-sex unions, sources tell Fox News the issue is set to be on Dem platform”
  • “McCain defends picking Palin as 2008 running mate  - CNN apologizes for ‘Stupid Girls’ song ahead of Palin”

Two shots at Obama, one shot at CNN (to marginalize the credibility of a competitor for vital information and propaganda) and a rather oddly timed story about the last VP pick – who happens to be a woman.  Hmmm… Are they getting this old story “resolved” so supporters won’t have any worries about Romney’s VP nominee?  Very interesting.

Oh, and on Romney in Israel, Fox News had:

NOTHING

That’s right, the GOP top guy is in the UK, Israel and Poland to bolster his foreign policy credibility, and the main source of conservative news in the US doesn’t even have his name on the front page of their website. Thank goodness they are fair and balanced or one might be worried…

And over on Drudge the big splash headline is:

“Wall ST Bets On Romney Win”

That’s it.  Well, except for the lovely picture of the candidate and his wife walking on a path holding hands. Sure Matt, that sums up his day. All is well in Fantasyland.

And boy, do I find that headline ironic.

On a day when Mitt Romey tells us what is really important in a culture, in a society, Matt Drudge offers us “Wall ST Bets On Romney Win”.  Perfect irony.

Yes, those fine folks on Wall Street who brought you the global economic meltdown really think Mitt is their guy!  When he gets elected, maybe they can get back to the good old days where, if you could sign your name correctly, you too could buy a $600,000.00 home! Or, if you made a spelling mistake when signing, you’d have to forego the $10,000.00 cash back at closing – but you still get the house!

Because Wall Street and Republicans really have our interests in mind, don’t they?

In Israel, Mitt Romney pretty much stated that per capita GDP is the real measure of a culture’s success. Sorry to all of you at The Metropilitan Opera or in Hollywood, but wealth accumulation is really is the measure of cultural and societal success. Mitt knows this because he has experience!

So while the US media either ignores Mitt altogether, or focuses on the racial undercurrent of his remarks, I want you to remember the real story here.

The presumptive Republican nominee for President in 2012 has stated, unequivocally, that the accumulation of wealth, by the state and by the individual, is the only important measure of success of a culture, the only important measure of success of a society. Be sure to tell your kids that as you tuck them in tonight.

Now you can envision four years with Romney at the wheel.

Despite complaints of changing beliefs and fair-weather ideology, I think we just saw the real Mitt Romney.

Feeling a bit beat up after London, he ignored his advisors and said exactly what he believes. I even think these were his own words.  That’s why his remarks seemed rushed and unprepared. Heck, he even got the per-capita GDP numbers of Israel and Palestine horribly wrong – more proof it was rushed.

A smart move? No. Very poor judgment on his part while on the international stage. Said at home, the world press would have ignored it. Said abroad, he has drawn their ire, and that of political leaders with whom a President has to cooperate.

For all the GOP worry about Obama learning on the job, it is pretty clear that their guy is in far worse shape.

But at least his media outlets have him covered while he’s away.

 

UPDATE:

Just found this quote from Ayn Rand:

“Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.”

Wow.  Now we see why Mitt picked Paul for VP.

Condoleezza Rice Pens Her VP Application Cover Letter Time Machine

The Financial Times  offers up an Op-Ed piece from Condoleezza Rice titled “US must recall it is not just any country“. (Warning: paywall at FT)

Oh boy, with a headline like that, where to start…

Let me be blunt.  This is nothing but a fluff piece full of regurgitated Republican rhetoric. The kind of hollow platitude that the GOP offers up to make it seem like they have some meaningful, positive ideas.

Do Republicans really think so little of their fellow citizens that they feel this sort of trite, cheerleader nonsense passes for honest thought and discourse?

As I said recently, this old Republican election playbook is getting pretty tired. Instead of real ideas and honest leadership, we get more platitudes and mythic ideas of a glorious city on the hill, that mean absolutely nothing.

America leading the world? Has the world even asked to be led? Can America afford to do so if asked?  Is this a serious VP candidate talking?

I for one, think the world took a big sigh of relief when the current president actually acknowledged that America has made a few mistakes over the years. Do you remember the Republican caterwauling after a few of those acknowledgements?

If the world is to respect a US Administration, that Administration has to be credible. It has to be respectful. It has to show humility.

And lecturing long-established free market democracies about how to be democratic and um, free, is ridiculous. Arrogant even. Acting as if America is the only country in the world that is a successful democracy and therefore the envy of all, is simply pandering to the un-thinking, while alienating everyone else. It is entirely counter-productive.

And yes, only Republicans consistently show such overt arrogance. (see: Mitt Romney’s European Vacation 2012 Edition)

Rice’s arrogance includes “managing China” (good luck), and convention-speech-ready nonsense like “the US must lead”, and “spread free markets and freedom throughout the world”. Really? (again, good luck)

If she could deliver this with a Texas drawl, we could go back in time, which would allow us to remember that while a candidate, her former boss did not want be “policeman of the world”.

Worse, once he was elected, she was part of an administration that:

  • cut taxes to the wealthiest. (or, as “W” put it, “his base”)
  • suggested the dismantling of Social Security “to allow folks to invest their money in the markets”.
  • ignored CIA intelligence suggesting that bin Laden operatives planned to fly planes into buildings.
  • told Americans to “Go to Disney World” and “enjoy life” after 9/11.
  • fought two wars, one of which was sold to Americans as necessary because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. (they, um, did not)
  • while selling that war, made a fool of Colin Powell, who is an honorable man.
  • while selling that war sent the then VP out to suggest Iraq was involved in 9/11, an outright fabrication.
  • the return to deficits. Giant deficits.
  • the muddled economic bailout programs. (yes, these began way back then)
  • the “managing” of Hurricane Katrina.
  • and many, many more fine examples of leadership.

Moreover, everything she says America should set out to accomplish sounds like it needs a strong Federal Government in order to be realized. And, it sounds expensive.

If, as she suggests, America is the leader of free markets and freedom, then it follows to recognize that America’s current decline rests solely on George W. Bush and his entire administration for abdicating that responsibility. Until Ms. Rice acknowledges that this failure led to the recent American economic spiral, the recent American morale malaise, the recent American drift to the extreme right, and the entire global economic meltdown, she should simply not be taken seriously.

Adding her to a ticket with a man who is obviously willing to change his position “easily” might put us in a position to witness a Rice VP activating a “political time machine”, thus taking us back to those “glorious” days mentioned above.

The world has moved on from the simplistic Bush era doctrine, Dr. Rice. Perhaps it is time you move on as well.

After all, the lemmings have become more wary…

Did Beth Myers Leak Romney VP Shortlist on Twitter?

Buried among the rubble of Mitt Romney’s visit to the UK is a small discovery courtesy of CNN.

Apparently, Beth Myers, the only other person to know who may be on the list as Romney’s VP pick other than Mitt himself, has been tweeting. As CNN reports, she tweeted the twitter usernames of each and every Republican alive person speculated to be under consideration for the nod.

Why?

Well, the first possibility is that perhaps she is not very tweet-saavy. After all, this is only the second and third tweet of her life.

But then again, she used the #FF command, meant to have her followers follow these other users. Even I didn’t know of that one. And again, these were only her second and third tweet ever.

Was her account was hijacked? Nope. The campaign has confirmed these were official.

It was obviously deliberate. And I don’t even think she did it herself.

So again, why?

Simple.

The campaign is currently in disarray.

Mitt was on the rails in the UK, fueled in large part by Twitter, and this was meant to deflect some of the twitter cycle in another direction – if it gets noticed.

An added bonus is that if the mainstream media picks up on it, making it news, then the campaign could guage reaction to the more serious names on the list.

If it gets missed in the barrage of tweets for the day, no big deal. No harm done.

With regard to that list, all it was missing was Santa Claus and Ron Paul.

Santorum? Gingrich? No chance. Rice? Rubio? You betcha.

In my next post, I will tell you why one of them should not be considered at all, meaning they are probably at the very, very top of the list.

;

UPDATE: It also occurs to me that this is a list of high profile Republicans who have endorsed Romney. Nice way to remind the twitter-verse of this “solidarity” on a day when news outlets around the world were quoting other high profile Republicans who were calling his trip a mess. (Still explains why Santa and Ron were left off the list…)

Wait! Maybe It Is Mitt Romney Who is Reading The Wary Lemming…

RCP notes that Mitt Romney has taken time from his Olympic photo op  UK blunder tour to espouse his thoughts on leadership.

How timely given my recent thoughts on that exact topic…

Mitt mentions how he needed to work with Massachusetts Democrats during his time as Governor and laments the current lack of cooperation in Washington.

How long before we hear “I’m a uniter, not a divider” with a Texas drawl for good measure?

The playbook needs some updatin’ boys.

“It’s time to have leadership that will put aside Republican and par– and– and Democrat, and instead focus on what’s necessary for the nation.”

My inner Kreskin is thinking that he was about to say “Republican and partisanship”, which would be quite fitting.

Apparently however, Mitt will need to arrive in Washington first, before he can display his bi-partisan, “leadership-y” side.  He certainly showed in his UK visit that he’s not quite ready to show it off just yet…

Perhaps he should send this new doctrine out as a memo to those fine Republicans in Congress, who almost ran the country out of money last summer for purely partisan reasons. Those fine Republicans in Congress who have blocked Democrats (read: Obama) from passing almost any meaningful legislation whatsoever for purely partisan reasons. Those fine Republicans in Congress who put partisanship, politics and hard-line ideology ahead of country, ahead of progress, ahead of prudence.

Now THAT would be an exhibit of leadership.

Is President Obama Reading The Wary Lemming?

Well, it almost seems that President Obama read my recent comments on leadership.

CNN is headlining that the President has “taken on gun violence” in a speech in New Orleans.

Nice try with the rather misleading headline CNN, but kudos the White House.

The whole speech is a very careful parsing of words that focuses on the end result of having these things readily available. That is, gun violence.

But The Way Lemming notices that he does actually dip his toe:

“I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” Obama said. “That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

(I’m not sure a lot of gun owners would agree, but I’m sure the NRA will tell us what they all think soon enough. Drudge has already used this content as a headline.)

When I first read his comments, I wondered why he let the assault weapons ban expire without renewal in the first place?  Perhaps an opportunity will arise to explain this soon.

I suspect two factors are at play here.

The first is that some internal polling indicated he had better say something, after days of hand wringing in the press about how he and Mitt Romney have been rather silent on the whole issue. This will play well in his core states and it might have hurt him if he seemed to be pandering to the NRA crowd by being too silent.

The second factor, and the one I think is rather smart, is that this entire segment of his speech was a giant trial balloon, put out there so some polling could be done to see if this might have legs as an election issue. Especially in swing states.

Think of it this way:  you add a rogue paragraph to an otherwise tepid speech and then sit back and see how the press tells everyone to interpret it. You see how your opponents react (or hopefully overreact) and then you can frame the debate yourself. You can be seen as the one leading the conversation. This approach offers very little risk with a huge potential upside.

Let me be clear.  Big idea, true-to-your-convictions leadership does not require polls or trial balloons, so this is what I like to call calculated leadership.

And while people are drawn far more strongly to the former, politics has devolved to the point where this is what we are left with in its place.

The problem for President Obama is that 4 years ago, voters thought they were getting option A.  Republicans knew this and did everything they could to make his initiatives fail and his tenure seem ineffective. A parade of people came out and expressed “disappointment”. The hope of something different had been lost. Voters then become disillusioned. Then they stay home. Then Republicans win.

See how it works?

Big idea, true-to-your-convictions leadership always wins.  This is one area where Republicans are weakest, and they know it. The question is, will Democrats figure it out before November?

As I said, it almost seems that The President read my recent comments.

Almost.

Buyers flock to gun stores in Colorado after rampage

The Denver Post reports:

“Background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado jumped more than 41 percent after Friday morning’s shooting at an Aurora movie theater, and firearms instructors say they’re also seeing increased interest in the training required for a concealed-carry permit.”

This makes little sense, so The Wary Lemming asks: “Why?”

- The accused was alone and obviously mentally impaired.  Such occurrences are, thankfully, rare.

- The accused was wearing more body armor than the average soldier in most of the world’s armed forces.  Shooting back at him with your newly obtained Colt would not only have been pointless, but likely would have increased the number of injuries.

- Theaters are “no-weapons zones” **  and so having a defensive firearm would have been impossible.

- There are no roving, lawless armed gangs in the Denver area that I am aware of. Even if there were, it might be advisable to leave the job of cleaning them up to trained professionals.

So why in the world are otherwise thoughtful people rushing out to begin step one of the concealed weapon approval process?

Fear.

Fear borne out of the absence of leadership.

It is obvious that neither President Obama nor his challenger Mitt Romney have stepped up here to tell folks it will all be ok; that they have a solution to the ever present problem of automatic-weapon enabled mass shootings; that they can find a way to make it harder for this to happen again; that they have their backs.

Because they can’t won’t.

Because in the America of today it is virtually impossible to stop an event like this from happening.  Because it requires a total re-assessment of guns, gun laws, societal priorities, and the role of ever present lobbyists and lobbying groups like the NRA. Because it requires a political will. Because it requires a sober assessment of the Second Amendment.  Because it requires leadership.

Both of these men could do it.  Both of these men could lead.

The President could vow to do something, NRA be damned. He could make it an election year rallying cry.  Romney could talk of his own gun control laws in Massachusetts, instead of running away from them like he does with his health care history, pollsters be damned.

Both of these men could summon up the courage it takes to lead. And, in doing so, by simply showing leadership, we would all feel a bit safer. Because that’s what good leaders give a country.  The comfort of knowing that the boss has your back.

I really hope that a follow up story emerges in several months showing that the majority of those who initiated this process took a deep breath and did not then purchase the actual pistol.

If not, this is one herd a Wary Lemming ought not to follow.

 

** Do we REALLY have places designated as “no-weapons zones”? Wow.

The Pundit(s) Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Well, I have to say I feel a bit sorry for poor Jonathan Kay over at Canada’s National Post newspaper.

Ever since his opinion piece on the death of Canadian conservatism was published on July 17th, the knives have been out in full force over there. Everyone from Terence Corcoran to Andrew Coyne have rushed to print rather ham-fisted rebuttals for fear that the notion might actually stick.

Corcoran, showing his true colors, proclaimed that Canadians were “not wealthy enough to gloat”.  Wow. What an absolutely amazing statement. Should they gloat if the opposite were the case?  I assume, knowing his opinions over the years, that the answer would be “yes”.  And how much is “wealthy enough”?  Not very neighborly Terence. And so much for shedding the “conservatives are greedy” stereotype.

Coyne, for his part, displays perhaps the most confusing piece of writing of his that I have ever read. Perhaps he should have emailed Terence, because he has a whole different set of explanations for this economic blip, not realizing that most of the ones he cites (that were under Canadian control), actually bolster Kay’s argument.

Pretty weak fellas, but hey, who can blame them?

Not only did one of their own “out them” all for abdicating their core responsibility as journalists throughout the years, but the process of even considering his opinion has hit a little too close to home.  And we all know that a cornered cat puts on a good show of force. (Tea Party anyone?)

Not one word of either rebuttal even acknowledges how their paper made a conscious choice to editorialize the news to promote their own preferred political agenda.  I suspect this indicates that they feel this is acceptable.

No, they were reacting to something else much more threatening.

The part of this that caught my eye was how Coyne needed to take the time to deny that the real engine behind modern day Canadian conservatism is wealth envy of the United States.

Kay was absolutely correct when he said that “the real dynamo behind right-wing ideology in this country (Canada) was always, at heart, wealth-envy of the United States…”

And the truth hurts.

Sure, there are people who vote conservative in Canada for social reasons, habitual reasons and a smattering of other reasons.  But the movers, the shakers and the wanna-be’s who run the show all envy the greener grass down south.  And if that lawn is dry right now from a drought, the movement has no oracle.  And THAT must be quite worrisome for such a minority.

The truth is, conservatives in Canada are lucky to number 40% of the electorate.  Sometimes they’ll do a little better than that in an election when moderates join them strategically , but the rule of thumb in Canada aid that about two-thirds of the country votes for a left of center option.  Put another way, only about one-third of the country identify themselves as conservative.

Worse, in the last federal election, it took only 22% of eligible voters to elect a conservative majority government. Would that sort of minority rule ever fly in the US?

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while knows that I have little interest in the sort of schoolyard “we’re better than you are” sort of silliness that is at the crux of the story.

What I do take an interest in, is how a conservative media outlet deals with a teardown of their own myth-building machine. How conservatives in general react when challenged with fact.

It provides us with an opportunity to observe how hard it is for them to explain why they think the way they do. And then we are led to the rather disappointing conclusion:

Conservatives don’t have a plan that works for the majority; they are not interested in building anything; and they are rarely, if ever, interested in a positive discussion. Yet, they want us to follow them over the edge…

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out at the NP and in Canada with regard to future economic indicators vis a vis the US and its impact on the survival of their minority conservative movement.

To be or not to be, that is the question…