Sunday, January 15, 2012
A high water mark in last week's GOP caucus in New Hampshire had to be when anybody who was actually watching got to see the pot call the kettle black. Newt Gingrich, the pot-bellied, chunky accuser, nailed Mitt Romney as being a dark corporate raider, someone who handed out pink slips and laid off workers by the thousands at the private equity firm Bain Capital during the 1980s, but dares now to pose as the penultimate populist business man (as opposed to a "career-politician" like Newt) in possession of the sublime secret of jobs-creation. All this is happening, of course, "in the free and prosperous land of opportunity," a time before the pitiful performances of Barack Obama alledgedly spoiled everything and single-handedly took away our prosperity.
"That's just pious baloney," Newt shouted vigorously in Mitt's direction during the recent New Hampshire Republican debate, making me wish I had turned the phrase myself. It was a rare, cut-the-crap moment (coming from a Republican, no less) that has yet to stop reverberating in our pathetic political arena. And it won't. In hindsight, Newt (along with the vicious Gingrich 40-minute PAC film/ad that appeared on TV a day or two later exposing Romney's real role at Bain--who knew?) has done permanent damage to the Mitt balloon, making it possible that Romney will never get elected in today's OWS climate.
These days the public, would you believe, has finally wised up to corporate greed. And Mitt IS the oligarchy, the quintessential corporatist one percenter, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a shining example of the pure profit motive devoid of any concern for the consequences of his actions on ordinary workers. Personally, I am eternally grateful to Newt and his hideous PAC for breaking the story about Bain. Of course, Newt is a dead man walking in the GOP at this point, given their speak-no-evil (against a fellow Republican) rule. You can't destroy a fellow Republican that way and not pay for it with your career. Nobody said it better than Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times: "If Obama failed to rein in Wall Street vultures, Romney reigned among Wall Street vultures." Another reader, whose comment I saw on line, compares Obama and Romney this way: "Obama is the intelligent, enigmatic dolphin, known to rescue people in danger of drowning, while Romney is the cold-blooded shark who would opportunistically eat them." Egad!
And so it was that this week, Mitt Romney got offically Swift-Boated by the Republicans' own Swift-Boating machine. It isn't meant to happen that way, but the phrase "pious baloney" turns out not only to have legs, but also to have stuffed olives for eyes. (Check it out in the baloney sandwich above.) But dubious days at Bain may be the least of Romney's tsouris. That's Yiddish for misery.) There's the whole Mormonism thing, which is another huge slippery slope. Michael Kranish and Scott Helman recount in their newly published book, “The Real Romney,” that Mitt got a deferment to go to Paris as a Mormon missionary. Instead of fighting for his country, he went to FRANCE to proselytize for Mormonism. France! In her article, Maureen Dowd reports that some of Romney's former advisers say that bringing Mormonism into the mainstream of America is (secretly) part of why he wants to be president. But Romney tries to soothe skittish evangelicals, she says, by promising not to be “pastor-in-chief.”
Well, as it turns out, he hasn't soothed them, not at all. In a last-ditch attempt to get rid of candidate Romney, evangelicals announced yesterday that they will back Rick Santorum for next president of the United States. Make no mistake: among Republicans, this is an undeclared war. And you can thank Newt for that. The butterfly effect of his little phrase could just make its way through frozen fingertips and into the political bloodstream--in a way that proves lethal for the GOP.