Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney Revealed ~ And He's Not Pretty

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In Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, the main character keeps up appearances to the outside world and retains his youthful beauty even while doing vile things in private. His horrifying secret lies in a painting behind locked doors, a portrait of himself that shows the depths to which he has fallen. The shocking truth is that the portrait is the real soul of Dorian Gray, while his outward demanor is used to fool people. He is living a lie.

Yesterday we got a glimpse at the real Mitt Romney behind closed doors, and the portrait it paints is not pretty. In fact, in a campaign year when we thought we couldn't be shocked anymore after the gaffes of the summer, we find ourselves suddenly transported into a weird Night Gallery that the great Rod Serling would completely understand. Mitt Romney has been revealed.

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People are waking up in the U.S. to a much different Presidential race, and even the Republican candidate seems like a different man. Literally.

Background: Secret Videos Mother on Jones

After hearing a relaxed Romney talking to his wealthy peers behind closed doors in the videos on Mother Jones, it's not such a stretch to see him more clearly as a parody of a rich man, a clueless wonder prattling on about himself and us-versus-them in a Louis IV way. But even that would be too kind. It's more like the scene in Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Grey when the evil portrait is revealed.

It's as if the scales have fallen from our eyes, as the Bible says. We used to see Romney as through a glass darkly, but now face to face. He is what he is, and it's not the nicely bumbling well-meaning candidate who walks like a robot or a conehead, or the "wild and crazy" husband and father who seems almost forgiveable.

Instead, we see and hear the privileged frat boy bully from Cranbrook, the one who attacked another student with scissors and slammed a door on a blind teacher. He's hideous Greg Marmalard from Animal House, all-grown-up and smoothly glib, schmoozing with his well-appointed frat brothers while dissing half the country as unworthy of his time because they refuse to vote for him. Yet he still expects loads of money from the donors because . . . well, just because he is who is he is - the fortunate son who always had everything, but has convinced himself and others that he is a self-made man. When he wins, the markets will magically go up and morning bells will chime, just because he's there in the White House, making the rest of the landed gentry and moneyed elite feel good about their taxes.

It's a nice fantasy, Mitt, but we ain't buyin it. Americans can spot a phony a mile away, and now that we see the real you, we know what always made us uneasy and distrustful of you in the first place, the reason for your low likeability ratings. This is a gut-check moment for the people, and there's more of us than 47%. Our votes do matter, Mr. Romney, even if our lives do not matter to you. We see you now.


David Corn of Mother Jones on MSNBC's Hardball
What he's really saying is that there are two Americas. There are strivers in the room, people of success, who take personal responsibility. Then 47% of the country won't take responsibility for themselves and they want a handout from government. So it was beyond dog whistles. It was beyond using welfare. And it seemed to me he was talking to people privately, a couple dozen people in the room, he was saying what he believed about half of America. He showed a lot of disdain and contempt for his fellow citizens.

Joan Walsh of Salon.com on MSNBC's Hardball
It sounds to me as if very much he believes it. I don't think he is playing a role at all . . . But the really astonishing thing . . . He is writing off, he is talking about one-half of our country with utter contempt. He's writing them off, he's talking about them as parasites and moochers. And the rare opportunity for the Democrats here is that he is talking about a large segment of the Republican base. Like it or not, there are a lot of white people, older white people in that category as well. So he's gone from stigmatizing, calling him (Obama) the Food Stamp President and doing this dog whistle stuff, to now it's just crystal clear. The country is 12% black, so if you're talking about 47%, you're talking about a lot of white people. So it's contempt for everybody. Equal Opportunity contempt. Hugely damaging.
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Josh Barro on Bloomberg
You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president.
. . . Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are. This video provides an answer: He feels that you're a loser. It's not an answer that wins elections.

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Jonathan Chait on New York Magazine
. . . the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”)
. . . The revelations in this video come to me as a genuine shock. I have never hated Romney. I presumed his ideological makeover since he set out to run for president was largely phony, even if he was now committed to carry through with it, and to whatever extent he’d come to believe his own lines, he was oblivious or na├»ve about the damage he would inflict upon the poor, sick, and vulnerable. It seems unavoidable now to conclude that Romney’s embrace of Paul Ryanism is born of actual contempt for the looters and moochers, a class war on behalf of his own class.

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