Mitt Romney comes off as fake. He seems like a man running from himself. When he speaks, he speaks in word strings designed to sound like something, while meaning nothing. He is running for President (for Pete’s sake) and embracing whatever he thinks Republican primary voters want to hear at any given moment. It rings hollow and inauthentic.
To win the Republican nomination a candidate must win the Republican base–and the base is batshit crazy. They embrace a world view that began to take over the Republican Party with the campaign of Barry Goldwater and his merging of the extreme paranoid right wing fringe of Conservative politics with the neo-Confederate racism of the Dixiecrats. This is the foundation of the modern Republican Party and the so-called conservative movement.
Mitt Romney has been embracing this twisted political vision of America and that is why he seems fake, hollow and inauthentic. The modren Republican Party and conservative movement represent the kind of politics that Mitt’s father, George Romney, spent his life fighting. To embrace this modern Republican Party, Mitt Romney must distance himself from–and completely disrespect–his father. This must create a bit of moral difficulty –even for Mitt. Trying to avoid that difficulty strikes me as the root to his hollowness. And yet, he seems to be quite ready to repudiate everything his father ever stood for–if that is what it takes to be President.
The editorial above is from The Day of Connecticut back in November of 1966. News had just broken about an exchange of letters between Barry Goldwater and George Romney in the weeks following the epic FAIL of the 1964 Goldwater campaign. In his 12 paged letter (which was published in the New York Times) George Romney took issue with the way Barry Goldwater ran his campaign, the platform he allowed others to create, the people Goldwater embraced and the tactics he used to embrace them. Chief among Romney’s critique was Goldwater’s opposition to Civil Rights, but he also took issue with the idea that the extreme polarization of America politics and parties was a good idea. George Romney’s 1964 critique of wingnutopia is as true today as it was almost 50 years ago.
Here is a sample:
You were just about to take a position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act contrary to that of most elected Republicans in and out of Congress, and there were disturbing indications that your strategists proposed to make an all-out push for the Southern white segregationist vote and to attempt to exploit the so-called “white-backlash” in the North.
The [GOP convention] delegate’s mail was beginning to contain much of what I’m sure you would regard as “extremist,” “hate” literature backing you. A clear understanding of your position was needed, and I persisted. [snip]
In my personal view some of your comments in response to delegates’ inquires, particularly on civil rights and extremists, raised more questions than they resolved. [snip]
I presented this memorandum [Romney’s proposal on Civil Rights for the 1964 GOP campaign platform] in person and in writing to the entire platform committee … that the platform pledge Federal, state, local and individual action to promote civil rights of all Americans. I also urged the repudiation of extremists who might attach themselves to the party or its candidates. My proposals were subsequently presented in written form to the Platform Committee in debate and were rejected. [snip]
With respect to the extremist amendment, as I said at the time:
“With extremists of the right and left preaching and practicing hate and bearing false witness on the basis of guilt by association and circumstantial rationalization and with such extremists rising to positions of leadership in the Republican Party, we cannot recapture the respect of the nation and lead it to its necessary spiritual, moral, and political rebirth if we hide our heads in the sand and decline to even recognize in our platform that the nation is again beset by modern ‘know nothings’.” [snip]
A leading Southern delegate in a private discussion with me, opposing my civil rights amendment after it was introduced but before it was offered, made it clear that there had been a platform deal that was a surrender to the Southern segregationists, contrary to the traditions of the party. And it appeared that there was a willingness to accept, perhaps even welcome, the support of irresponsible extremists [snip]
Serious as this weakness was, you could still have corrected it by speaking out clearly and unequivocally. Unfortunately, your acceptance speech moved in precisely the opposite direction, seeming to approve the platform as adopted and to throw down the gauntlet to those who dared suggest it could be improved. [snip]
Despite these developments, I still kept the door open for an endorsement of you. [snip]
I told you of a Southern delegate’s revelation that a deal had been made on the platform’s civil rights language which our Michigan amendments violated. I also urged you to recognize the need to overcome the effect of Governor Wallace’s withdrawal and some Ku Klux Klan endorsements. [snip]
I did my best to point out the inconsistency between your personal record and public record, including the arbitrary rejection of my San Francisco amendment. [snip]
You asked me to let you have any suggestions… This I did in writing, urging a public statement by you … that would include this key language:
“The enduring solution must be a personal solution in the hearts and minds of individuals. That is why we must encourage civil rights actions by individuals, in families, in neighborhoods, and at the community and state levels of government.”
“The rights of some must not be enjoyed by denying the rights of others. Neither can we permit states’ rights at the expense of human rights. The basic principles of individual rights and states’ rights are indivisible from individual responsibilities and states’ responsibilities.”
My extremism suggestion recommended this statement on your part:
“Extremism in defense of liberty is not a vice but I denounce political extremism, of the left or the right, based on duplicity, falsehood, fear, violence, and threats when they endanger liberty.”
“A political extremist in my view is one who advocates overthrow or our Government through either peaceful or violent means; one who uses threats or violence or unlawful or immoral means to achieve political ends; or one who believes that the political end justifies the use any means, regardless of the effect on others.”
The problem for Mitt Romney is that he has become the exact type of politician his father fought against, condemned and–i think it’s fair to say–despised. Trying to pretend otherwise is why Mitt seems so fake all the time. He had a choice between the integrity of his father or the cowardliness of Goldwater and the modern conservative movement.
George Romney deserved a better son.
George Romney deserved a better son.
The same could be said for Birch Bayh.
@Phil Perspective: word
Another Republican with daddy issues?
DO NOT WANT
I want Santorum to win the GOP nom for so many reasons. Watching Romney become such a lying POS (I mean, even more than he was in 2008) makes me want Santorum to win JUST TO SEE THE LOOK ON ROMNEY’S FACE WHEN HE HAS TO END HIS CAMPAIGN.
Sure, it’s petty and mean, but I don’t care. I don’t just want Romney to lose to Obama, and I want him to lose to another loser. I swear there’d be a 50/50 Willard would break down and just yell out “HOW DARE YOU NOT GIVE ME THE PRESIDENCY, YOU FUCKING POOR-ASS PLEBES!”
Dennis G. @ Top:
Not always. I think Mitt sounds very sincere when he defends corporations from anti-business bigots and tells them, “Corporations are people too, my friend!” Mitt’s been a real friend to the downtrodden corporations and their oppressed wealthy shareholders.
When, I ask you, did it become a crime to be rich in America?
It would be an absolute tragedy if those with the highest half percent of personal incomes had their tax rates of earned wages over a million dollars per year raised from 35% to 39.6%. Before you know it, we’ll all be wearing berets, smoking Gitanes, waving red flags, singing The Internationale, in Chinese, and kissing Lenin’s dessicated toes in Moscow while the Russkies party in the White House on Vodka and Caviar.
Mitt knows that we have to protect our corporations and rich people from such degradations, and there is nothing fake about his concerns for that small, deprived, minority of people who own everything.
And Abraham Lincoln deserved better heirs.
Ah well, so it goes.
If your dad is an ethical politician, how do you then become Mitt Romney
I mean how do you get through the day without going into dissociative fugue
What makes you Mitt does get through the day without going into a dissociative fugue?
Seriously. Have you seen Mitt campaign? DF would explain a lot.
Actually it would make a lot of sense if like the primary purpose of Mitt’s campaign staff was to prevent him from popping up naked in grocery stores.
Evolving Deep Southerner (tense changed for accuracy)
Hell, George H.W. Bush deserved a better son. Not saying much, I know, but …
To paraphrase Alicublog commenter Chuckling with my favorite phrase of the campaign season thus far, I don’t think Mitt’s insincere at all. I think he’s genuinely vapid and quite sincerely shallow.
Actually, my sense is that Mitt is most comfortable when he’s reading the script and most uncomfortable when he’s telling the honest truth. Maybe it’s having to mask his Mormonism 24/7. Maybe he’s just gotten too good at it.
That doesn’t mean that Mitt comes off as genuine when he’s reading the script, just more comfortable.
Rick Perlstein already gave a well-thought out explanation for that. As always, we can thank the kneepad media whores for the mess we find ourselves in today.
“HOW DARE YOU NOT GIVE ME THE PRESIDENCY, YOU FUCKING POOR-ASS PLEBES!”
In private, at the ceiling, every night. Like Chex Mix would say, you can take that to the bank.
So did Rex Lee. You could even say the same for GHWB.
This answer is simple: Goldwater. Willard will say or do anything he needs to up to and including leaving the Mormon faith in a highly publicized blaze of glory if it means he will become President.
Yeah, I love how Mike Lee presents himself as Mr. Super-Outsider when he’s from the biggest political family that side of the Mississippi.
@ItAintEazy: You know, if I were Obama and Romney were the nominee, the entire first debate I would do nothing but praise George Romney and quote him extensively in my contrast to Mitt’s positions. Every point, I’d go back to George. I’d memorize every notable thing he said and rattle if off like a Republican quitting Reagan. I’d jump so far inside Mitt’s head, he’d never shake me out.
And we can each name at least three major liberal sites that would shit themselves because OMG HE’S PRAISING A REPUBLICAN UNDER THE BUS IN A VEAL PEN!
Which is all the more reason to do it.
I disagree that Romney is running from his core. I think his core really is hollow and there is nothing for him to run from. What we’re seeing up there is the real Mitt Romney and it ain’t pretty.
@MikeJ: I’d do it for two reasons:
1) Just to get in Mitts head and make him run against his dad. That would just be fucking win.
2) It would serve as a good reminder that there used to be noble Republicans with noble ideas, ideas that Obama and Dems have been speaking to for years, but are now called soçialism:
“Help us to help those who need help.”
“It’s nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.”
Obama can spend all the rest of the time quoting Democrats and avoiding George, but the damage would be done. Mitt would be running against the man he was trying to avenge (and losing to him). It’d straight up be twisting the knife on national TV and looking him in the eye while doing it.
Frankly, as fucked as Goldwater was, Mitt’s a midget compared even to him…
Mitt is a classic corporate whore — a man of middling talent and intelligence and shrunken soul whose only unique talents are the extreme suppression of his sense of ethics and hypocrisy, and lack of the gag reflex that restrains ordinary mortals from repulsive speech and acts.
Man, I’d pay good money for the chance to ask Mitt Romney, with the cameras rolling, whether he thinks his father was an America-hating socialist driven by class envy.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Has Rick Santorum released his college transcripts? Anyone know?
pseudonymous in nc
As I said in another thread: management consultancy. Bain made Mitt, Bain Capital even more so.
pseudonymous in nc
I sure that’s already been noted for future reference after the tax return stuff in the debates, and given the number of potted psychobiographical pieces (Perlstein’s in particular) about the impact of having one’s father, the moderate Republican who challenged his church for its racism, and spoke out against Vietnam when it was political anathema, end up steamrollered by the moral paragon that was Richard Nixon in the 1968 primary.
It’s dangerous territory, though, because it sets up a how-dare-you-be-nice-about-my-daddy response (via the Bentsen-Quayle precedent) that would get the pundits going.
Romney is like the worst combination of George W. Bush and Al Gore. A rich, soft, sheltered kid growing up in the shadow of his influential father, not quite comfortable in or well-suited for the family business, but unable to really escape its pull, and trying with great futility to prove himself worthy, and coming up short.
The kind of misfit first-son that in Old Europe would have been sent off by tradition to the priesthood or monestary, where he could do the least damage.
Bush should have been baseball commissioner. Gore should have been a teacher (and is doing a great job as one now, teaching environmental science).
I dunno what Romney should have been, but it ain’t preznit, that’s for sure.
Pat In Massachusetts
Mitt is just a shell of man compared to his father. I don’t think Mitt has the capacity to write 500 words describing his political platform, never mind a 12 page expose.
But anyway, today is another day. I will, like every other day, look forward to see how Mitt manages to remove his Silver Spoon from his mouth and insert his pedicured foot.
Maybe today he will be a son of Dearborn, or Lansing, or….
Like George Costanza says, if you believe it, it isn’t a lie.
On some level, Newt believes what he says. On most levels, Santorum really does believe what he says. But Mitt Romney is only passionate about making money and telling others what to do. Anything else, bupkes. He’s just not a True Believer, and the Batshit know it.
I object to your putting Gore in a class with those two losers. Sure he had a leg up but he really did plow the farm with a mule, and he really did join the real Army & go to the real Viet Nam – he never claimed to be in combat or in danger but he went when those other two hid – he developed his own ideas and they benefited a great number of the 99%. He was not a dilettante or a phoney. The big knock against him in progressive circles, that he was not as liberal as we would like, is probably true. But the truth is he is more progressive than either Clinton or Obama.
@Schlemizel: Agreed. Gore would have been a fine president. He may not have gone down in history as one of our best, but he certainly wouldn’t run the risk of going down in history as one of our worst, like the guy who took office instead of him. We’d all have been much better off if Gore had become President in 2001.
GET OUT OF OUR PARTY YOU AMERO-TAKIN’ ACORN FEDERALIST THUG!
Let’s face it, the Republican party is identical to the American Independent Party, which is the party of George Wallace. The politics of the Republican Party sounds identical to 1971 when Wallace was running for President. This is why I no longer vote Republican. (I’m still registered as a Republican but changing would require a visit to the Motor vehicle Dept or Voter Registrar and I’m too lazy.)
who would you rather:
a genuine crazy person…
or, someone with no soul who would say anything?
Little Ricky disgusts me, but Romney scares me, because he’d sell his mama for a block of votes. Someone with absolutely nothing but soulless ambition is far too dangerous to become President of the United States.
epic win, Martin. brilliant.
Paul in KY
I’m hoping an intrepid reporter or two will ask him how he felt about Sen. Goldwater & his conflicts with his father.
I would also think a campaign commercial or two could make good use of this.
Paul in KY
@Chris: He & the missus tried. Seems the best ones died in childhood.
Paul in KY
@Martin: Damned good idea. Skewer him with his father’s quotes. All those that sound ‘democratic’. He’ll have to disavow his father in public or disavow modern Republicanism!
Paul in KY
@Schlemizel: I agree. VP Gore went to Vietnam as an enlisted man. He certainly could have gone as an officer.
Paul in KY
@Scott: I wish you would change your registration. Be proud to be a Democrat!
I have seen no evidence to support the theory that Gore is any more “progressive” than Clinton or Obama.
That said, he would have made a fine President.
Kathy in St. Louis
Compared to Goldwater, I like Romney the first. When he ran, his slogan was, “In your heart, you know he’s right”. Many of us on the other side converted it to, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts”. Still think so, but compared to the menagerie this time,he looks like the voice of reason.
I agree with Evolving Deep Southerner, cmt 10 above. Bush Sr. deserved better than Bush Jr. It seems to me that Bush Jr. thought of his father as a loser and a wimp. Say what you will about the old man, but he was a war hero and a head of the CIA. He had some sangfroid in him. But he cared about the deficit, and presided over a recession, so he only won one term. So: loser, in Bush Jr.’s addled mind. “If you ain’t first, you’re last” is about the only morality observable in the careers of Mitt & Bush.
Nothing speaks to the death of conservatism in this country like the decline in the family values of those who lead the conservative party. I’d have thought that conservatism involved some measure of filial piety. I see none of it in Bush Jr. or Mitt.
Darnell From LA
Willard has no soul. He may very well be a sociopath. Seriously.
Regarding the primary, if Willard loses Michigan to Santorum in spite of his massive spending advantage there, it is all over. Santorum will be the GOP Presidential nominee for 2012.
Just let that sink in for a moment.