(NOTE: I had a bout with bronchial pneumonia last week and wrote about it on my blog but didn't post it here. That's what I'm referencing.)
Okay, I'm breathing again--raggedly, to be honest, but I'm seeing clearly and whatever fun writing I was so longing for last week will just have to wait. Mitt Romney is closing in on the home stretch and I can't stand it. What can I say that will change that? We all know there is nothing I can say that will change anything this monumental and incomprehensible. But I repeat: I can't stand it.
In any other true-life scenario, a man like Mitt Romney -- a confirmed liar, a clueless anti-populist, a shameless waffler -- would be laughed out of the political arena, never to be taken seriously again. Considering the climate we live in, dire and dangerous to all but a few lucky souls, there shouldn't have been a moment when a man like Mitt Romney (or his running mate, the even more egregious Paul Ryan) would have been seen as anybody's choice to lead us out of this mess.
But a map of red states vs. blue states tells the tale: The campaign against Obama and the Democrats has been hugely successful; the obfuscation and near-obliteration of the Romney/Ryan misdeeds equally so.
It's a billionaires' election to win or lose, and Romney is their puppet. It clearly doesn't matter what he says or does. They run the show, and they've managed the impossible -- they've convinced enough voters that Barack Obama is their enemy; someone to fear, a man who only pretends to be a True American while attempting to hide his nefarious dark side.
It's the New Century--maybe the strangest we've ever seen--and we live with the voters we have. They call themselves "the values voters", without ever fully understanding that "values" means much more than anti-abortion or religious freedom or balanced budgets or the color of our president's skin. It means a clear-eyed look at which servants of the people can best move us away from vulture capitalism and back into whatever concept of democratic freedoms and obligations work best for our society.
As of a few days ago, more voters believed Romney can do more for the economy than Obama has or will. Why? Because Romney was a businessman and apparently knows more about how business runs.
This is the same Romney who bought and sold companies, making millions off of the acquisitions with no thought to what it did to the communities that were disrupted by the actions of his group.
This is the same Romney who fought to keep his tax returns from going public, who hides his money in numerous off-shore accounts, who thrives because "ruthless" is legal and the name of the game.
This is the same Romney who saw FEMA as one of those Fed entities best relegated to the states or better yet, private enterprise, using the word "immoral" to effectively brand it obsolete. Astonishing. (Now his handlers say he didn't mean it that way. Apparently that's good enough for even those Romney voters who live in areas battered by Hurricane Sandy. He's still running neck and neck with President Obama. Really.)
This is what the potential future president had to say:
"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney said at a debate last June. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."So, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, because they finally realized that sounded really, really awful, his handlers had Romney issuing what looks like a reversal but is actually code for, "Okay, we'll keep the idea of FEMA because you people just don't get it, but the bulk of the money is still going to go to state and local governments, because even though I want to be the biggie in Big Government, Big Government is a bad, bad thing."
Asked by moderator John King of CNN whether that would include disaster relief, Romney said: "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids."
Here's Romney's written statement from Wednesday, when the storm was still stormin':
"I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters."
No mention of what FEMA's mission will be under FEMA-haters Romney and Ryan, but it's not hard to imagine. Centralized emergency relief apparently goes against every fiber of their beings, and no thing and no body is going to change that.
Well, okay, all that, but what drives me to this today is what has been keeping me awake, fuming.
In the immediate aftermath of a raging, deadly storm, the presidential wannabee participated in a crass, phony, political opportunity dressed as "disaster relief", designed for no other reason than to make him look good in certain swing states. (The Red Cross, downers that they are, said early on, "Don't send supplies, send money." Spoilsports.)
So, heedless of real needs, Romney's pack set up a hasty relief station and then went to WalMart to buy the appropriate props to make it look like they were actually concerned with the citizens of the storm. They spent $5,000 on emergency supplies like diapers, toilet paper and canned goods to hand out to long lines of Romney voters who could then hand them back to Romney in front of the cameras. (Stunning, isn't it, that those Romney voters didn't think to donate their own emergency supplies? But then, in order to be a Romney voter, one would have to be as clueless as he is.)
In the meantime, President Obama is all over the place taking care of business, surveying the damage, assuring everybody that our government will do what it's supposed to do. It will take care of what needs taking care of. FEMA is working at its efficient best. Mayors and governors in the affected states are effusive in their praise of FEMA and the actions of the president. (Note to Chris Christie: Ever thought of joining the Democrats? The Republicans won't even speak your name anymore. And they have long memories.)
This is what true leadership looks like. This is what big government does best. This is who we're supposed to be. This is what we need to fight to keep. And yet as I write this, Mitt Romney--undeserving to the nth degree and then some--has a real chance at winning the presidency.
So that's it. I can barely breathe, not because of the pneumonia, but because of what I just wrote. The very thought of my country going the way of Romney/Ryan after all they've done to try and hurt us makes me crazy.
All I can do is yell.
I can't stand it.
(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)