Allan Goldstein

Allan Goldstein
San Francisco, California, USA
July 20
Allan Goldstein is a San Francisco-based writer, newspaper columnist, blogger, and author of the novel your cat would write if your cat could write a book: The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie. Available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions. He lives in the city with his amazingly tolerant wife, zero kids, and at least one cat. You can find his archived writings and links to his book on his website,


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JANUARY 11, 2012 4:34AM

Welcome to the big leagues, Mitt

Rate: 1 Flag

            They’ve barely begun counting the votes and it already looks inevitable.  Mitt Romney, the Republican Republicans love to hate, is going to be the Republican nominee for President.

            How did it come to this?  Mitt Romney generates less excitement in the GOP base than charity.  He’s as authentic as John Boehner’s tan, and about as sexy.  Bob Dole could give this guy charisma lessons.

            Romney’s big pitch is that he’s the most electable Republican in the race.  This says a couple of things about him, neither flattering.

            The Presidency is supposed to be a means.  A means to make changes in the way the nation works and what it stands for.  A place where one can turn one’s core beliefs into history.

            But Mitt Romney has no core beliefs.  He says wherever sounds best on television; he parrots the complaints of his audience; he plays for applause in the form of votes.  Mitt doesn’t want the office, he wants the trophy.  He wants to win for the sake of winning.

            Which is where his second problem comes in.  Mitt got here by beating a team of midgets.  This roster of stiffs included:

            A pizza guy and serial philanderer who was in it to promote his book.

            A thrice-married man who wears like Wal-Mart underwear, can’t stand success and is in love with the sound of his own voice.

            A Texas governor who makes Bush sound like Jack Kennedy.

            A homophobic, voted-out Pennsylvania Senator who thinks that life begins at first kiss.

            A wack-job libertarian who’s convinced the problem with Iran is us and wants to shut the federal reserve and go back to the pewter standard.

            A fellow Mormon who is moderate, thoughtful, and loathed for those character flaws.

            And a wild-eyed woman who had no idea where she was and why she went nowhere.

            So far, Romney has faced the bum of the month, and he’s not exactly setting the world on fire.  He’ll probably get the nod, more by default than virtue.  But once Romney wins the nomination, he’ll be in the big leagues. He’ll going up against the guy who beat Hillary Clinton so bad she wound up working for him.  He’ll be facing Barack Obama.

            That’s supposed to make it easy for Romney.  Think again.  It’s true that the country is in a bad mood, but ask yourself the big question.  Are you better off than you were four years ago?

            Well, sure you are.  Four years ago the world was coming to an end.  The markets were in freefall, the American auto industry was bankrupt, we had 150,000 troops in Iraq, Bin Laden was watching porn from his comfortable retirement villa in Pakistan, and we were heading face first into a bottomless economic pit.

            Now, things are crummy but stable.  The patient is out of intensive care.  The rehab has been long and difficult, but Obama’s managed it about as well as it could be managed.

            Obama stopped a depression.  He has the economy growing again—weakly, insufficiently, but growing—and unemployment is inching down.  He has ended more wars than he has started.  He passed a health care reform law that, weak as it is, still covers more people than ever.  He talks less about the war on terrorism and kills more terrorists than the guy before him.  He doesn’t make you cringe in embarrassment when he speaks the English language.

            In politics anything is possible.  It is possible Romney won’t get the nomination.  It is even possible that if he does, he’ll win.  But in a way, it doesn’t matter.

            No matter who comes out on top this November, we’re facing gridlock 2.0.

            The pent-up resentment over what the Republicans have done to Obama is so strong that the Democrats won’t give Romney an inch if he wins.  And we already know what the Republicans will do to Obama if he’s reelected.

            So the choice boils down to this:  Who do you want doing nothing in the oval office for the next four years?  A reasonable, intelligent, articulate representative for America?  Or a guy who will say anything to win, without a principal he hasn’t sold out, a guy who looks like an insurance salesman, talks like a used car salesman, and isn’t even trusted by his own party?

            If I was a conservative, I’d be royally hacked off about now.  Thankfully, I’m not.  I’m a liberal who is mildly disappointed.  I’ll take it, considering the alternative.


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Allan...this post is a beauty. You captured so much of how I feel, it almost amazes me. Thank you.

I will vote for Obama in November...and it will not be a "lesser of two evils" thing with me.

I still have strong reservations about the results...the liberal base is in tatters. But I guess there is still hope.
Thanks for your generous comments, Frank. It is so easy for a post to get lost in the tsunami of content on Open Salon, that it's nice to know someone has read the work.

I agree with your ending sentences, as well. And my hope is, now that his dreams of "One America" bipartisanship are shattered, that Obama will channel his inner liberal, Chicago community organizer, tough-guy, political street fighter and come out swinging against Romney, the Tea Party, the Fatwa wing of the GOP, and fake capitalism in general.

I know, that's a tough fight. But no tougher than trying to get Joan Walsh and staff to take a look at my work and maybe give it a headline once in a century.

I don't want t0 whine, though, Frank. This piece was in 6 blogs and one San Francisco Newspaper. And it's thoughtful, kind comments like yours that make all that work worth it!
A brilliant commentary.

Exactly the way I feel about the entire Republican field. I sincerely doubt that Mittens is the social conservative he torturously contorts himself into...but that he would sell himself out to such an extent is reason enough to dismiss him.

That said, I think it is almost certain that he will be the candidate. Regardless, like Frank, I will gladly vote for Obama over any one of them...or over any possible late draft choice.

Unfortunately, I think Obama will lose.

That the country voted twice (sort of) to make GW Bush president proved the populous to be stupid. The rabid hatred of and failure to give Obama credit for any good work (as you so carefully enumerate) proves the populous to be bigoted. Stupid and bigoted begets a Republican...and I hope they are right about that God thing, because they are going to need his help.