As Middle Age Cranky wraps up its weekly format over the next few weeks, I will be reprinting my favorite posts from over the last five years. This one about my distaste for the most recent Republican ticket ran on September 3, 2012. One of my readers thought it should have gone viral, and naturally, I agreed.
I was going to wait until closer to the election to savage the Republican presidential ticket, but it seemed more appropriate to do so in the middle of their post-convention “bounce.” These guys are making me really cranky, and I just can’t keep quiet any longer. I am going to try not to harp on these guys too often, but they really frost me.
The other reason for discussing this sooner rather than later is that I’ve been seeing a lot of other writers tackling the same issues as they relate to the ticket. I don’t want to be seen as parroting a lot of other people. I want to be a leader in digging my beak into these bozos, whom I call Mitt the ‘Crite and Lyin’ Ryan.
And I say this having once been the kind of Republican who would have fawned over Mitt Romney. He’s changed. I’ve changed.
I registered Republican the day I turned 18 (breaking the heart of my mother, who’d grown up in Albany, New York, when Franklin Roosevelt was governor). I worked on campaigns for liberal Republicans like Mitt Romney. I voted for conservative Republicans like Mitt Romney. I can’t tell which one he is today, since expedience in getting elected, rather than principles, seem to be his guiding light. I once believed in the concept that if you put your mind to it and worked hard enough, you could get an education and a job and stay off the government dole. I still believe that, but I’ve come to realize that, as Nick Carraway’s father said in The Great Gatsby, “All the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” I left the party in Bush’s second term.
Mitt the ‘Crite is a reference to the recent headlines in England that described “Mitt The Twit.” He may have been a twit in London, but to me, he’s a rank hypocrite. He won’t release his tax returns, but he’s said that he’s paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes. 13 percent? And he wants people as rich as him to pay less, because then they’ll invest it and put people to work (I believe this is the crux of supply-side economics). If so, I’d like to know what employment-driving businesses Romney has invested in with his hundreds of millions of dollars. Oh, wait – he didn’t. He’s sheltering his money in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. That’s hypocrisy.
And he wants to decrease corporate tax rates as well, even though companies are sitting on billions in cash … instead of hiring more people. And he blames Obama for high unemployment. That’s hypocrisy too.
And it’s endemic throughout the Republican party. Take this whole “we built it” mantra at the Republican National Convention, where the Republicans congratulate themselves for building their own businesses without help from the government. How do these people think their goods got shipped to market from where they built them? How do their employees get to work? I’m almost positive that was on roads and bridges and waterways built and maintained by the government. That’s what Obama meant when he said, “You didn’t build that.”
I loved how Chris Christie talked about how his dad put himself through college “on the GI Bill.” Who does he think funded the GI Bill? That’s as hilarious as the guy with the sign saying “Keep government hands off my Medicare.”
Then there’s lyin’ Ryan, Romney’s vice-presidential candidate, who apparently fired all of his fact-checkers before his acceptance speech. Paul Ryan seems to adhere to Mark Twain’s dictum that a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has its shoes on. Even Fox News, the darling of the right wing, called his speech “deceiving” and “distracting.” (Note: this flagrant disregard of the truth also applies to the Obama campaign’s commercial claiming that Bain Capital caused some guy’s wife to die of cancer; come on, Mr. President, take the high road.)
Frankly, I do not understand this “I’ve got mine, screw you if you can’t get yours” philosophy of government the Republicans are espousing. Why do we give pedestrians the right of way in crosswalks? Why do we have 25 mile-per-hour limits near schools? Why do we set aside parking spaces for the handicapped? Why did we enact programs such as Social Security and Medicare? Because, Americans as a society, as a culture, have made a solemn commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us. Thus, this attitude of “every man for himself” is as anti-American a sentiment as I’ve heard in my lifetime.
And now a word about Obama. Yes, he’s disappointed me. If he were half as good a president as he was a campaigner, I would be happier. However, while he hasn’t waved his magic presidential wand and solved our oil dependency issues, or global warming, or infrastructure issues, and no one from Wall Street has been indicted lately, there are a few other changes in the world that can be traced to him, including:
● Osama bin Laden is still dead.
● U.S. troops are no longer in Iraq.
● Detroit is no longer on life support.
● No wackos have been appointed to the Supreme Court.
● We’re no longer enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act.
That’s good enough for me. And I trust that Barack Obama has the best interests of all Americans at heart, not just those who were lucky enough to have rich parents, or were born to people with good parenting skills. Inherent in the concept of a commonwealth is the idea that we make certain sacrifices in order to help others.
Sure, I’d love to have lower taxes, and I’d love it if government was even marginally more efficient than it is. But I also like having parks and police and public transportation, because not everyone lives like I do – or Mitt Romney does – in a safe neighborhood with a big yard and more cars than he knows what to do with.
America became strong not by making it harder for people to succeed, but by making it easier. It became strong because it accepts new people and new ideas and new cultures. This strength manifests itself in accomplishments as personal as my Hispanic nephew-in-law making killer sushi, to accomplishments as grand as Bobby Jindal governing the same Deep South state that Huey Long once did.
Whatever happened to honoring the melting pot? Since when are intolerance and insularity the tools for building a great country? They’re not, but that’s what the Republicans have come to believe. And if that’s the kind of country you want to live in, then please do vote for Romney. But do it not because you think it’s time for a change for change’s sake, but because you believe in Mitt Romney and what he stands for. And if you figure out what that is, besides himself and his rich friends, please let me know.