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SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 5:38PM

Remembering George Romney

Rate: 26 Flag

 

Sometimes, the best way to understand the son is to study the father.

During the past few days, we have all had ringside seats at the very public self-destruction of Republican presidential candidate Mutt Romney.

Everyone knows what he did, because we saw it, and how he did it,  because we heard it,  but there has been very little public discussion about why Mitt Romney behaves the way he does.

Romney's life can be summarized in just a few word:  Mormon Missionary, Harvard Law,  Harvard Business School, Bain, Bain Capital,  2002 Olympics,  Governor of Massachusetts....but, once he left that office in 2007, Romney's sole occupation has been running for president.

Why?

Why does a man who is sitting on a huge fortune want to be president of the United States?  What force drives someone in late middle age to want the burdens of that office?  (Have you noticed how the really, really rich don't want to run for office; they want to own the office-holders.)

Well, Romney doesn't want to be president of the United States;  he simply wants to become president of the United States.  He wants the office.  He doesn't want the job.

Evidence of this can be found throughout the organization of his campaign.  Everything he says and does is aimed at winning the office, but he never says anything concrete about how he would accomplish his objectives once in office.  

Candidates like to talk about what they want to do.  They don't like to talk about how they propose to accomplish those objectives....but that's what leaders do.  And, in this case, there's not much to talk about because there aren't any palatable solutions, and no one is going to vote for someone who promises to raise taxes AND cut spending, which is  the only way we are going to get out of this mess.

No one with Romney's business background can be as stupid as he pretends to be. When he espouses the Republican Party line about how cutting taxes will revive the economy, he knows that he lying because he knows that the trickle-down theory is a fraud.  Since he obviously knows that the  Republican economic policy is doomed to fail, the fact that he is willing to campaign on that platform anyway indicates that he's more interested in winning than he is in ruling.

But that still doesn't answer the question of why Romney  wants the job. 

So we are left with this conclusion:  he wants the role, not the responsibility.  That's why Paul Ryan is on the ticket, to take over when Romney bails out, as he will.

The reason why is simple enough:  He wants to be president because he was emotionally devastated when the father he apparently worshipped failed to win the Republican Nomination for President in 1968, losing the nomination to Richard Nixon.

Unlike Mitt, George Romney was the real thing, a genuinely modest self-made man who grew up in the rough, pulling himself up from his family's genteel poverty to become a successful businessman, only to give up his highly lucrative position as Chairman of American Motors, a company that he had helped build from the ground up, to become the very successful and very popular Governor of Michigan.

In business, Romney was an atypical CEO, an earlier version of Lee Iacocco, without the ego.  He built American Motors around a philosophy of making economical, ecological cars long before either product had become a public "want."  He opposed the growth of Big Business and Big Labor, and spoke frequently before Congress about the necessity for breaking up the Big Three to open up the automobile industry to more aggressive competition.  Long before the Japanese invasion, Romney foresaw the intrusion of European and Japanese car makers into the American market and designed smaller, more affordable cars as a pre-emptive defense against them.  He invented the phrase, "gas-guzzling dinosaurs."

He also cut executive salaries by 35% , fended off corporate raider Louis Wolfson's attempts to take over American Motors, implemented one of the nation's earliest employee profit-sharing plans, and developed a close working relationship with the legendary United Auto Workers president, Walter Reuther

As if that was not enough, he championed civil rights, decried housing discrimination, organized Citizens for Michigan, a community organization effort, and was instrumental in the upset victory of 1959 statewide  education reform referendum authorizing a $90 million bond issue and concomitant tax increase.

With all that on his resume, he was considered a shoe-in for the Republican nomination for senator in 1960, but he elected to serve as vice president of Michigan Constitutional Convention that was called in response to a petition drive he spearheaded to liberalize the state's outdated constitution.

In other words, he put community service above personal ambition.

As Governor of Michigan from 1962-1968,  he overhauled the state's economy, greatly expanded the size of state government, from $550 million in 1963 to $1.3 billion in 1968, and instituted the state's first income tax.  Romney used bipartisan coalitions to create a comprehensive system of higher education, significantly increase state support for local government, as well as increasing state-funded benefits for the poor and unemployed while using his bipartisan consensus to maintain the level of state government services.

The similarities between these two men are as obvious, and so are their differences.

Both men served as missionaries.  Both men built successful businesses from scratch.  Both men left the business world at the height of their success to become involved in public service.  Both men took un thankless public service roles. Both men served as governors.  Both men were able to achieve a high degree of bipartisan cooperation to accomplish some remarkable achievements during their terms of office.

So, in these respects, his father's life has been a template for the son's life.

The differences between them are just as telling:

George Romney walked away FROM a fortune in order to devote his life to public service. Mitt Romney walked away from Bain Capital WITH a fortune in order to devote his life to public service.

In his business career, George Romney built up a major American manufacturing company from scratch, providing thousands of high paying union jobs, and defended that company against all comers with such success that he is still regarded as a hero among auto workers.

Mitt Romney built a business that invests in companies, builds them up, loads them with debt, and then breaks them up again, selling off the profitable units and closing down the losers and walking away from the accumulated debt.

George Romney championed civil rights, fair housing practices,  worker's rights, profit sharing plans, low cost public higher education, and used the power of the state government to bolster the economy by updating the infrastructure and maintaining  the number of public sector jobs in Michigan.

On the other hand, we don't exactly know what Mitt Romney stands for, except for his steadfast support for tax cuts for the rich and tax increases for the poor.

The crucial difference between the father and the son is that, in business and in public service, George Romney championed civil rights, worker's rights, implemented profit-sharing plans, reflecting his working class origins, while Mitt Romney champions the rights of the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

The odd thing about this comparison is that it become increasingly obvious that Mitt Romney is pursuing the exactly opposite agenda from the one his father followed throughout his life.

In attempting to revenge his father's rejection by the Republican Party in 1968, Mitt Romney may be following the law of opposites which dictate that, if you don't win with good policies, maybe you can win with bad ones.

Having seen the Republican Party reject  his "too liberal for us" father, perhaps Mitt Romney was trying to be as Republican as possible without taking into account the monstrosity that the Republican Party has become.

In today's political atmosphere, George Romney wouldn't be welcome in the Republican Party.   As a matter of fact, he might be too liberal for today's Democratic Party.

It's a mystery how such a father raises such a son but there's no question that most of us would prefer the father to the son.  As a matter of fact,  when you get right down to it, some of us would prefer George Romney to Barack Obama. 

 

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This part one of a two part article. Part two will be a psychological portrait of of Mitt Romney
This part one of a two part article. Part two will be a psychological portrait of of Mitt Romney
Romney senior was a visionary and a fine Michigan governor. It's too bad a) he didn't get the nomination, paving the way for the odious Nixon and b) that American Motors later went defunct and Michigan itself is in dire straits.

We need (on both sides of the border) people like him, the Brothers Reuther, Tommy Douglas, Bob White and a handful of others who actually improved the lives of us ordinary folk.
I lived in Michigan in those Romney years and remember zero controversy. He was an excellent governor. The son is just looking for something he feels he is owed, like a ribbon at the count fair.
"Well, Romney doesn't want to be president of the United States; he simply wants to become president of the United States. He wants the office. He doesn't want the job."

Exchange the word Romney with Bush (the Lesser), and this paragraph stands. Bush even admitted as much recently -- that is, he liked having the prestige that went with the position, but hated the work, worry and demands on his leisure time associated with being President.

Both men were/are inarticulate, both are bullies, both had serious "daddy" problems, and both were desperate to prove themselves better than their daddies. Unfortunately for them, neither of them was.

I'm no fan of Bush the Least, but Romney strikes me as even worse. I'm certainly not qualified to diagnose, but Romney shows every indication of having a sociopathic personality. They only think he seems to lack is the charismatic aspect found in so many sociopaths. Mitt is about as appealing as month-old bread.
If George Romney were in the race? He'd be my guy. You bring to life a really important part of the story here.
Thank you for all this information. I liked hearing Biden talk about growing up around the Romneys. It is an epic story. Epic. Racing to the end.
My problem is I just never like rich kids. There was a funny conversation between Chris Rock and John Daily. They both agreed that their kids were obnoxious rich kids. I think Romney the dad would be embarrassed by Mitt. I am.
Mitt Romney is heavily influenced by his religion. There is a widely known "prophecy" in the Mormon church referred to as The White Horse Prophecy. It is not part of official church doctrine, which is not unusual, but is widely known and taught. The gist is that the constitution will be hanging by a thread (Glenn Beck, the psycho, uses that line often, as has Orrin Hatch) and the country will be saved by good Mormon priesthood holder(s). I really believe that Mitt Romney sees himself as being able to fulfill that unofficial widely taught prophecy.
As crazy as it all is, and unlike Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney really is defined by his religion. Huntsman is Mormon, but it is not a driver; not so with Mitt. It's somehow not PC to acknowledge that, but it is what it is, and it does have bearing on Romney's ambition. I am not Mormon, but just living in Utah for many years I am familiar with those teachings, so they are not obscure.
You portray George Romney very much the way people I know from Michigan talk about him. He was well loved.
r./
Interesting analysis. I didn't know much about George Romney, but he sounds like a good guy. Probably shouldn't have set up that trust for his son though.
My grandfather knew him, but from the perspective of being a labor leader. He didn't think of him as much more than a "bean counter," but they were distinctly different times for lots of reasons.

The old man's greatest failure was watching the city of Detroit burn
from a distance. While other, true leaders, went into the streets of their cities, such as John Lindsay in NYC, Romney was content with calling in the National Guard and letting it be thought that was all he could do. I think of him as a coward.

Mitt is the son who followed his father into the spotlight at all costs. His way of surpassing him, or killing him, depending on your perspective is to go one step higher and complete the family destiny by becoming the Republican nominee for president.

Let's hope it stops at that.
Excellent commentary. Thank you.
Very interesting! rated.
Romney Sr also spoke publicly against the Vetnam War, which he recognized as evil, and he also visited the Middle East "with an open mind." Can we expect the same clarity of vision from his son? I think not.

Rated.
"there's no question that most of us would prefer the father to the son."
I'd say the same regarding Obama's dad, if we could find the rock he's under.
So that's it? The beef against Mitt Romney is that he isn't just like his father?

My beef against Obama is that he is too much like his father, not to mention such father figures as Marshall and Wright.

By the way, would you have supported George Romney if he had been nominated, or would you have compared him unfavorably to his own father because he was a Republican?
Arthur, this kind of snarky comment makes me think that you are in cahoots with Gordon, and the only reason I leave your comments up is that they are so damned funny. The relationships between fathers and sons is a valid topic for political discussion because of the imprinting concept. Sons have no choice but to reflect the personalities of their fathers....but only when the fathers have a significant role in the upbringing of the sons. Barack Obama spent only one month in the company of his father, and that was at the age of 10. This doesn't allow a significant amount of imprinting to take place. And, as a matter of fact, I did vote for George Romney in the New York State primary in 1968. I changed my party affiliation to vote against Nixon in the first presidential election in which I was able to vote. Of course, I voted against him in the general election. The unfavorable comparison between George and Mitt is entirely due to the fact that George was a mensch and Mitt's not. I am more and more convinced that the Republican hysteria over Barack Obama doesn't have anything to do with his politics but merely results from the crime of being president of the United States while Black.
Well, Sage, I have to comment one more time because you seem to be calling me a racist. In fact I voted for Obama, and was delighted that a black man had finally made it to this eminence. But I have been badly disappointed by him. He is a mean-spirited, divisive, untruthful and incompetent man, with what seem to be scary plans for the country I love. If Romney were black and Obama white, I would gladly vote for Romney.

I would like you to withdraw your slur, but I shall not hold my breath.
Him meaning Nixon, of course.
Tom is 100% correct. I will go one step further. Not only was Bush II unhappy in the presidency, but his father, Bush I, actively sabotaged his own re-election campaign because he wanted out of the Oval Office but felt obligated to run for the second term. Republicans, it seems, want to run, want to win, but don't really want to rule once they win. Their whole party infrastructure is designed to win not to rule. Tom is also right about Mitt Romney's sociopathic tendencies. I am about to post an item on that observation as well.
I'm curious about what Arthur knows of Obama's father. I'm betting it's nothing, or wrong.
Hi, Paul,

Assuming that Barack Obama Sr. was in fact the President's birth daddy: Polygamist, wife-beater, child abuser, family deserter, alcoholic.

He may also have been a Communist, but that would be OK.
I apologize Arthur but I have run into quite a few people, Republicans, who claim that Obama is bad for the country and, when shown that Obama's policies are really indistinguishable from the Republican Party's historical opinions, they become, well, unhinged, which is when I know that I am dealing with a racial issue. In your case, I seem to have erred.

I am also nonplussed by Obama voters who are so incensed about his performance in office. He's a disappointment? Really? Obama started running for office under one set of circumstances and, by the time we reached the general campaign, he was facing a very different set of circumstances, to the extent where the promises he made during the earlier part of his campaign had to be set aside to deal with a financial crisis not of his making.

Obama's goal in running for the presidency was very specific: overhauling the health care system. That's what drove him into politics in the first place, because of what happened to his mother when the system failed her.

Once in office, it became clear that he couldn't do all of the things he had promised because conditions had changed. He had no idea of the extent to which the Republicans were willing to throw the whole nation under the bus to make sure that Obama was a one-term president. Once he realized this, he made a decision to forge ahead on his number one issue, health care, leaving other issues on the back burners.

The other main issue, immigration reform, was an even bigger powder keg than health care was, and Obama was forced to choose between issues because he was very worried that he WOULD be a one term president and he wanted to get health care done.

Did we get the health care plan we hoped for? Absolutely not, what we got was a significant improvement over what we had. Did he close Gitmo? No, and no one ever will. Gitmo is sovereign territory of the United States WITHIN a communist nation, which makes it absolutely unique. Why not close the incarceration area? Well, there are really very few facilities in the United States capable of providing the kind of security that Gitmo has, but Obama didn't know that until after he was elected.

I could go on and on. There are rebuttals to every accusation about how Obama has disappointed us....except in one area: at least we are not looking at world in which Sarah Palin is one heartbeat away from the presidency.

John McCain would probably have done most of the same things that Obama has done. He might have moved on immigration instead of health care.....and that's the point. Any president could address health care. It took a very special person with a very specific motivation to get health care done.

On the whole, I am less than satisfied with Obama's first term, and more hopeful that the second term - with a new congress - will be a significant improvement.
Sage,

You probably have already heard this pointed out, but the Republicans in Congress were powerless during Obama's first two years as President. I don't buy his claim that he was stymied at every turn.

In the next two years, yes, he has been unable to get over the hurdle of GOP control of the House. But the reason the House is in the hands of the GOP is because the people, in the 2010 midterm elections, wanted to stop Obama in his tracks. The people spoke.
Let's not forget that George Romney received welfare benefits after he came back from Mexico. Jon Stewart unearthed a video clip a few days ago in which George's wife (I don't recall her name right now) was praising the welfare benefits her husband received that allowed them to get back onto their feet.

In short, Mitt put his own father into the group of victims and people who do not work hard enough. In the end, it shows that a person who receives government benefits can become very successful.
Good background and analysis. Useful comment thread, even with the nuisance chatter of the two monkeys in the back row tossing peanut shells at the people. Those two remind me to enjoy my weekend break from the classrooms where I substitute teach. Every class has at least two morons who sit in back and think their every snarky remark will take the house down. Honesty is foreign to them, of course. If the one who said here he voted for Obama in '08 was telling the truth about that I'll eat my shorts.
Chicken, it is true, but I think we owe Sage the courtesy of not shitting any further on his blog. I have responded to you with a PM.
Arthur,
As empty as I expected. Also, the idea the Republicans were stymied for 2 years is typical of the inattentive and unstudied. It's simply untrue, in a big and obvious way.

That aside, Mitt is a malleable candidate, and beat himself into the Rwing mold to placate the base. His only beliefs are he wants to one-up daddy and glorify Mitt. He has no ideas worth having, which is why he's beating himself yet again.

I don't get why the wingers thought he had a chance, because if the Reps thought they could win this time, Mitt wouldn't be the candidate. So, he's a leftover candidate with leftover "ideas" who will be left over his inadequacies. It ain't rocket science.
Paul,

Mitt was a plurality choice. The majority sentiment was diluted because there were too many candidates. However, anything is preferable to O.

I don't agree that my cameo profile of O. the elder is empty. He passed along a snaky character and a disregard for truth. That month they spent together must have been quality time.
@Arthur, are you telling us you knowingly voted for a candidate of "snaky character and disregard for truth" in '08? If you say you didn't know he was so loathsome at the time, then you voted blind, because all of the allegations you so cheerfully cite now were bandied about in '08 and were old news by election time. Either way, you've painted yourself into a corner here. You're a liar or an ignorant ass. My guess? Probly both.
Look who is calling me a liar -- the same Matt Paust who was practically tarred and feathered on Open Salon not long ago for using his multiple avatars to deceive and abuse unwitting women contributors. Shall we open that up again?

The thing I am most proud of is my honesty. Poor Matt has none.

I voted for O. with good intentions. I didn't know it at the time, but I was bamboozled. So were many others. It is bad enough having to live with this mistake without being taunted by a demented phony.
Arthur,
If you knew something about politics you might be interesting. The GOP A list candidates stayed away. That gaggle of goobers Mitt had to defeat were the bottom of a barrel that's almost all bottom. Mitt couldn't beat McCain, and if Christie or Jebbie Bush or a few others had thought the race could be won, Mitt would be a footnote. As it was, each truly whacked-out candidate had their moment of not-Mitt momentum.

Your story about voting for Obama is transparent, and if it were true, would be testimony to your shallowness and flighty beliefs. Given that it's tempting to believe it, but it's obvious you're trying to use it as some sort of edge and it ain't gonna play in Peoria.

Actually, the false claim to have voted for Obama is a fairly established Rwing lie. It neither enhances your credibility nor convinces anyone of your "considered moderation" or "disappointment."

It's pretty much a rookie ruse, and you're obviously a rookie.
Paul, I did vote for O., so call me flighty. I won't deny it. I can't prove it, because there was no witness to my secret ballot. However, I also contributed money to his campaign, and that might be checkable, although I wasn't up there with Soros. So look farther down the list.

You may be right that no Republican could have won this thing, but it's too early, and the polls are too close, to say that conclusively. Christie, for one, might very well have won.

If the polls are any guide, Obama will not do as well, at least in the popular vote, as he did last time. So there must be others like myself who gave him a try, based on his phony promises of healing, and also because they remembered the Civil Rights struggles and wanted the country to make final amends, but who have since become disillusioned with him.

As for your usual barrage of insults, I forgive you. You can't help yourself.
Quite a discussion. I too remember Romney and liked him loads more than his son. He seemed an honest, optimistic man.
"I am more and more convinced that the Republican hysteria over Barack Obama doesn't have anything to do with his politics but merely results from the crime of being president of the United States while Black."

With the galactically stupid remark, you should hook up with Chauncey de Vega, Bill Beck, and the other one-issue racists populating this place.

It seems that your references to "imprinting" puts you in the 100% environmental, 0% hereditary nursery school. I expect that your phychological qualifications and your academic ones are roughly equivalent.

The notion that rich people never seek public office for legitimate reasons is equally foolish. Ever heard of George Washington, FDR, JFK? Guess not.

Almost every argument you make for the proposition that Romney should not be president apply to the power squared to Obama.
The tunnel vision is just astounding.
Nice piece - I remember George Romney another way. In 1967 I was sitting in my 3rd grade class room and a distinguished looking gentlemen strode into class and hugged my teacher Dorothy "Hagwire" Dwyer. Ms. Dwyer rarely showed any emotion but she did when he came in the room. I had no idea who he was, or what he represented, but went home and told my mother and she said - he may be the next President. After reading Theodore White's Making of the President 1968 i learned more about George Romney. All I can say is that the GOP of 2012 would be one he would not recognize.
Thanks for illuminating the history of this family. Well done!
Hey, Osmond, blow it out your ass. Oh, wait, you just did!
A seriously good post and a deserved EP.

The comment which you start by apologizing to Arthur is the core of its own post.

What people who say that Obama could have accomplished anything he wanted in the first two years of his term ignore is that the nature of the Republican opposition had changed and they now chose to use the filibuster to an extent that is basically unprecedented. With normal opposition as opposed to opposition who would cheerfully derail their country rather than allow him to accomplish anything, he would have been able to accomplish a lot with normal majorities instead of needing a supermajority.

Gordon's assessment of Bill Beck as a "one-issue racist" shows nothing more than that he apparently doesn't read Bill Beck. Bill's economic assessments are some of the best I've read on OS. Maybe Gordon should spend more time reading his work and less time looking at his avatar.

Back to the post:

The difference is that the father wanted the Presidency because of what he wanted to Do while the son wants it because of what he wants to Be. Huge difference. I don't know if the same difference would apply to the Bush's, but the father was a Hell of a lot more conscientious than the son.

Regarding Romney vs. Nixon: Yes, we'd have been better off with Romney but, from a strictly policy standpoint, even Nixon was liberal by current standards. Try to imagine a current Republican founding the Environmental Protection Agency like Nixon did. Or refusing do demonize China and establish diplomatic and trade relations, in spite of having made his reputation as a Red-baiter. Or negotiating arms reductions with the Soviets. And that's just a little of Nixon's record. At the time, we thought he was really Right-Wing. We didn't understand what Right Wing could look like.
Congrats on the EP, Sgaemerlin. I suspect MItt Romney the man will be an interesting subject for decades to come. We are all actually quite fortunate to be alive and paying attention to this point in American history because it contains many aspects about people will ask, "what was it like when...?" Your comparison of the two Romneys is such a fantastic prism through we can gleen information about how America changed form the years of the elder Romney's main accomplishments to this one which contain Mitt Romney's.

Often we hear that the GOP has lurched far to the right, and cite examples of candidates like George Romney, Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, to Bush 43, and this year's collection of extremely bizare primary candidates, and the conversation settles there. Historians will unearth much more than just an ideological shift. There mere fact that we discuss the GOP in terms of conservative exclusivity, and the DEM as "the left" represents a crumbling of a political culture which once had diversity of perspective in both parties.

Willard Mitt Romney is a fascinating historical figure. He is both victim and cause of his circumstances. Like Odysseus the King, and Telemachus the Son, and the different challenges they faced, Romney is captive to a party which requires that he establish a far right bonafides, which has caused him to make certain gaffes which will brand him for history. The son of privilege is captive to the opportunity to grasp for the brass ring rather than be a more decent man in a world and a party that has changed dramatically, and make a stand on principles that his father and he himself once espoused. The risk of maintaining those principles would likely require that he change party. That would cause some to say that he is repudiating his own father, while others would argue that he was holding more srtrictly to his principles. He would likely have to abandon some of his support, rather than create new in fresh authenticty. He has gathered our attention by seemingly making a series of very bad choices, like Odysseus's son Telemachus. Being the son of privilege has its downside. Power and privilege are so close in your own name, but are they worth destroying that name to acquire?

American style dramas tend not to be very instructive because the public demands rewards and happy endings. Classic tragedies and epics last for eons because they represent real human experience with risks, and hubris, and tragedy. The Romney story will be around for a very long time because it contains so much the the real stuff that transcends our shallow pop culture habit. Kudos to you for examining a fascinating, and what I suspect will be an enduring subject.

Oh, and as Gordon Osmond reminds me, kill whitey! (Just kidding. Luv ya Gordo)
Excellent assessment. I'm looking forward to part two. I admire George Romney. I feel his son Mitt is a man who never developed his own purpose in life, other than making money, and acquiring the fame and property that goes with it. That's all he actually knows of want. He has always had security, wealth, church and society, but nothing builds a purpose like experiencing real want, and challenge. The experience of debating a man who really knows what it's like to face huge challenges is going to be daunting. I expect the debates with President Obama will be Romney's end - not only to his campaign, but to his professional life. He will begin to speak of the old times, and face no future at all.
Romney had to debate a lot of opponents a lot of times. He'll probably be pretty good at staying out of trouble. His opponents were all pretty oddball but they weren't all stupid. Whatever else you want to say about Gingrich, for example, he's no idiot. And in Ron Paul he had to face someone who wasn't afraid to be consistent.
Arthur, at the risk if re-igniting a ridiculous argument, I just have to ask if you really believe that Obama - having spent just one month in his father's company after reaching the age or reason, at age 10, was in a position to be influenced by his father's negative traits? Are you seriously arguing that being a communist is a hereditary trait, not to mention polygamist, wife-beater, child abuser and family deserter. (Alcoholismn is hereditable. I will give you that one, but Obama doesn't have a drinking probelm we know about.)

My point is that all this information about Obama's father was available before the O8 election but you are now bringing it up as evidence against the man for shortcomings that don't exist.

The nature-nurture argument will never be won by either side, because it and not either or neither. Nature and nuture both affect the child and the man the child becomes.

The Republicans didn't hold a majority in the 09-10 congress unless count the DINOs who voted with them.

Obams could read the way the wind was blowing. He knew that he would have a Republican House after the by-election and he opted to force his Health Care program through before he lost his edge in the House.

Anyone who doesn't think that Obama is an adept politican please re-read the previous paragraph.

Not only did he play his cards right, he played to to the advantage of his agenda and to the deteriment of his presidency. That's my definition of greatness.

Gordon:

1. There is no definitive answer to the nature-nurture question, and never will be because both contribution to the formation of the personality. Anyone who doesn't think that it's 50/50 is an idiot.

Nature forms the boundaries of a person's abilities. Nurture controls the contents of a person's character. Genes=nature; environment = personality.

As far as wealth in politics was concerned: Washington was the wealthiest man (except for this one Jew in New York that no one ever talks about) in the colonies before the revolution. After th revolution, his fortunes never quite recovered, although he wasn't as impoverished as Jefferson ended up. FDR came from a patrician family, but his personal wealth was minimal. JFK was a trust fund baby. He made money off his books, but he was supported by the family forture, which was modest by modern measurements.

On the other hand, the Bushes came from real money.

But I wan't talking about these small millionaires. I was talking about super millionaires.
This is part one of a two part comment. Part two will be an actual comment.
This is part one of a two part comment. Part who will be an actual comment?
Sage, you are twisting my words a bit. I introduced the subject of Obama's father by saying that he is too much like his father. I didn't say it was cause and effect. I don't think, for example, that he would raise his hand against his wife, if only because she would knock him through the wall.

He does seem to share certain traits with his father, such as shameless dishonesty, but I am willing to believe that he learned this without needing his father as an instructor. Many politicians learn the same thing
You lost me in paragraph two. If you can't spell the subjects name correctly, or feel the need to turn it into an insult to entertain yourself, I'm out.

Best of luck to you.
I know how to spell Mitt, buddy. When I said Mutt, I meant Mutt, because that's what he is, a mixed breed, neither a true conservative nor a true moderate, a man who muddles through his campaign. In other words, a Mutt. But, I am quite content for you walk away in the same condition in which you arrive. Best of luck. Don't let your closed mind hit you on the ass as you wander out.
Arthur Louis,

To have such a strong criticism of the President like calling him "shamelessly dishonet", doesn't it seem fair or decent to provide at least one example? Making such a strong claim with no examples bears the mark of gossip or a smear rather than a substantive criticism.

If I were to say to you that MItt Romney is shamelessly dishonest I would provide examples to allow the listener to determine the level of bias in my statement. One example might be when Mitt Romney said, "Mitt is my first name" in one of the primary debates. This is obviously false, but rather trivial. One might, and I would argue should, give him a pass on such a minor departure from fact. It has very little meaning for a voter. On the other hand, if Romney said, that he opposed ACA passed by the Obama administration, knowing full well that it fits the model of the plan he passed in Mass., then that has a bit more significance as a lie. At one time he explicitly stated that he would hope that it would be used as a model for the federal government. Once it was, he executed one of his many policy flips and claimed that he never intended for that to be so. Based upon his own statements this is clearly a lie. This also has significant implications for the voting public. There are numerous other examples of this sort of thing from Romney. Romney is clearly a shameless liar, as the example demonstrates. Now, what sort of person avoids that to say that about his opponent with no evidence? Bias? Yes. And maybe a bit more.
I had written earlier of the strange diversion of the apple from the tree and enjoyed your thoughts on it. The comment string was a mixed bag but I am learning whom to skip over to read the rest. the oedipal complex is always fascinating, in our life as well.
Arthur, I'm retracting my apology. When I re-read this column I realized that I never did any such thing as calling you a racist.

I did accuse Republicans of being hysterical over Barack Obama's presidency because he has committed the crime of being president while black.

Since you are not a Republican, according to your own testimony, then I could not possibly be accused of calling you a racist.

However, there's a syllogistic violation in your assertion that you didn't say that there was a cause and effect relationship between Barack Obama Senior's personality and his son's personality.

The syllogistic violation that, when using Aristotlean syllogisims in which two or more conditions are cited as the probable causes of a third conditon, the conditions cited must be referential to the condition being described.

Therefore, when you make a statement in which you list the supposed negative characteristics of the father as being influences upon the son, the conditions cited for the father must also be attributable to the son. In this case, Obama Jr has not demonstrated these conditions according to any objective observation.
Bill Beck: I have sometimes found myself in deep disagreement with you, so it was a pleasure to receive this affirmation from you.
I enjoyed this piece very much. I think I would have liked George Romney. I am struck in this campaign with the huge difference between those who have struggled in life and pulled ahead and those who have never had to. I believe the strugglers, like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Romney understood this very basic way of life in America. Mitt Romney is lacking this dimension and therefore cannot possibly understand how so many in this country live and aspire. Looking forward to part two.
Bill Beck,

So nice to see you again. And nice to see that you haven't changed. (E.g., the hooded, tentative accusation of racism at the end.)

I would find it more difficult to present evidence that Obama ever spoke the truth. The examples of his dishonesty are abundant, and it is difficult to choose from them.

Here is one that has come up (again) recently: That the "Fast and Furious" gun program began in the Bush administration, and that Eric Holder was shocked -- shocked -- to learn about it, and put a stop to it. The fact is that the Bush administration had a similar but more sensible program, called Wide Receiver, but decided that it wasn't working, and terminated it themselves in 2007.

Fast and Furious started in 2009, under Obama.
Sage,

I think you should reinstate your apology, because I am going to vote Republican this time.

As for your comments at the end, the ancient Greeks used to force people to drink hemlock for reasoning like that.
Does anyone out there have any idea what Arthur's last comment meant? I am genuinely clue about his intent on this specific subject. I am of course crystal clear about anything else.
Arthur says things.
Arthur says he voted Obama.
Arthur then had an epiphany,
Arthur suddenly became a spewing font of trite right-wing swill.
Anybody who thinks Arthur voted for Obama might also send away a few grand for a time share condo in Nigeria after reading an e-mail pitch.

There are several cheesy claims one might make in an effort to bolster a really pathetic series of claims and arguments borne of ignorance, but none is more cheesificated or patheticized than claiming to be a convert.

...I once thought Obama was inspiring, but now he's a lying Kenyan socialist, heavily influenced by Rev Wright and his father, a wife-beating deserter and maybe communist, as well as Ayers!...

All of that pizzle (here and other comments) is pure 2008 Rwing talking points, Arthur. Your lie is weak and obvious. Like a poorly made old west movie, there's cell towers, power lines and airliner contrails in your shot. Your cowboy is riding a Segway.
Yours is simply a poorly thought lie, as it's cap T Transparent.

Tell us of your disgust for liars, Arthur. Nobody here has your level of credibility on the degree of disgust you feel. A smarter person would have known how bad the lie. You shouldn't depend on others gullibility matching yours. You play this game on pretty much the lowest level, and manage to take it even lower.

Don't get me wrong, Art, I enjoy watching somebody who doesn't know everyone can see the booger hanging from his nose. In fact, I consider it an act of kindness to inform you.
Sage,
Didn't you say that you will entertain comments if they are civil? Where does PJOR's comment stand on the civility scale?
Considering a pointed out the booger, Art, I'd say pretty high up there.

If you had an opinion of your own, could occasionally be objective, and didn't have to retreat from your errors as a matter of course, then you'd get more respect. Also, you wouldn't be reduced to arguing how 'ims has been soooo mistreated. Anyway, I didn't see your picture on the "Civility Award" bulletin board.

By the way, I'm voting for Romney. I wanted Michelle Bachmann, but after the establishment and liberal media took her, Cain and Newt out, I found Romney to offer the kind of leadership I want.
This means I can argue politics with people who know way more than I do and be on equal ground. I wish I had discovered this before I spent years following the game. I could have spared myself the time it takes to be informed and would have never needed any mental skills.

Thanks for showing me the way, Arthur.
Arthur Louis,

If I thought you were a racist, I would just say so. I believe I have defended you on that count previously. I dont know you well enough to know. The end of the comment was left vague for a variety of reasons. First, I find it fascinating that you reacted to a vague comment. The comment mentioned evidence and bias. Racism, if that were so, would be covered under bias. I dont know what your specific bias is, but the comment seems biased. The "bit more" referred to stupidity. I would rather not call you stupid, but the point is that it apears that you cannot discern the difference between substantive and just slinging a smear. That would be the act of a stupid person, not necesarily a racist. It is reasonable to expect details when you make a serious allegation. That much was demonstrated. You can't get sympathy points by screaming, "he's calling me racist." I was holding back from calling you stupid. You charged forward to claim that mantle anyway. Congratulations.
Arthur Louis,

PJOR's comment, in fact most of them, are works of art. They should be appreciated for their style. But this one in particular has much that you could learn from. He made an excellent point that should not be missed. The one that he aptly included "epiphany." You expect your listener to believe that you had a sudden change to being influenced about President Obama with stories that were told about candidate Obama before he was elected. You voted for someone about whom others called "communist", son of a woman beater...etc. That did not influence you, but you had to be aware fo them. You voted for him, presumably because you had some "Hope and Change" generosity of spirit. Not sure what you were hoping to say there, but whatever it was, it allowed you to overlook this horrible person. Then after a first term of unquestionable accomplishments like killing bin Laden, stabilizing the financial crisis, preventing two auto manufacturers from going bankrupt and returning to profitability, the doubling of the DJI, after all of those things, a person who had previously supported the man has turned against him because of specious statements made during a campaign that are at least 3 years old?

PJOR's comment is a perfect example of excellent reasoning, supported by specific bits of evidence. His comment demonstrates in detail the point of supporting a theory with facts. As evidence goes it is still circumstancial, but it is clear to all that it is 100% accurate. There are no set of circumstances that could explain that his theory is not accurate. That is how you do it, Arthur.
Bill Beck,

Here is what you just said to me, in a comment above:

"If I thought you were a racist, I would just say so. I believe I have defended you on that count previously."

Here is what you said to me June 6, after I commented on one of your blogs:

"We all have faults. Amy as well. But Amy doesn't say weak, inconsistent bullshit like that. All things considered, I would rather have her temper than your racism, obsequiousness, and lies."

I am sure I don't need to further identify Amy. She attacks anyone who disagrees with her by calling them homophobes. You attack anyone who disagrees with you by calling them racists. You make a fine pair, although I have to give her some credit. She is not a pompous, pretentious windbag.

There is an old saying, possibly attributable to Socrates (Sage, take note): He who plays the race card is a racist.
Socrates? Really? Seriously. Aristotle is one thing, but Socrates. Come on, now. I remember a meeting way back in the late seventies, at organizing meeting for statewide demonstrations against impending state budget cuts when I used the word, "Blackmail." My good friend Don Halfkenny, who was as black as the proverbial ace of spades, looked at me and said, "Extortion."

I said, "What's the difference?"

He said, "Extortion is when you threaten to do X unless the other person does Y."

I said, "What's the difference between extortion and blackmail."

He said, "Extortion is a behavior. I'm a black mail."

I smiled back and said, "Well, that sure as hell is calling a spade a spade."

The point of this story is simple. Racism is much more complicated than you think it is. Until you have lived and worked in the Black community long enough for them to call you, as white man, a nigger, affectionately, then you haven't crossed that racial divide and you should tread lightly when you raise the ugly head of racist accusations.

I rather think that in their actual behavior the contestants in this debate would not treat one another poorly on the basis of their racial backgrounds, but they might treat unknown parties on that basis.

Racism is to some extent about what you say; but it is very much about what you do as a person in your life.

I would like to call a halt to this discussion because it has pulled us far afield from the original point of the article. I don't want to delete any of these comments because they have brought us to the point where we might have a reasonable discussion about the role of race in this campaign...and I don't want to close comments either, but I think this has gone a bit too far.

Can't we all just get along?
Arthur Louis,

I grant you that I may very well have said that in the thread you mentioned. I dont recall it. I suspect if I were to find it, I would know exactly why. As a matter of fact, I think that thread started with Amy or someone else calling you a "racist." I knew nothing of you and went entirely by what had been stated to that point. You probably went on to sound like a racist, just like in this thread you sound like a liar, which is the point. As I recall, she was calling you "Artie", and I found that a bit disrespectful and, to this day, call you Arthur, or Arthur Louis.

Now, I dont really care if you or anyone else is a racist. Racism does not exist appreciably any more if it is found in you. It came before you and it will be here long after you. I care more about honesty. I dont care if Mitt Romney is a racist. I do care if he is a liar. I would not care if Obama were a racist. I would care, and did pay attention to your charge that he is a lair. (Hopefully this gets back to the point and not your alleged racism.)

As you noted, Fast and Furious started in 2009. It was a gun walking program. The Bush amdinistration had a gun walking program which started and operated out of the same office starting in 2006. I believe you gave the name. Now, the program started at the field level in both cases. Your accusation hinges on the notion that the President knew about this and lied because he called the previous program "Fast and Furious" (which was incorrect), and that it started under the previous administration. The actual fact was that a gin walkming program had started under Bush, but it had a different name. Would it be plausible that Obama knew this, used the wrong name purposely calling attention to the fact that he did not know something, when he could much more easily have said, it was a field operation and I did not know about it? It makes no sense. Furthermore, the report on the event says that neither the President nor Holder knew of the program, and explained exactly how. You expect to persuade that the President is lying, a liar, and that the investigation and 450 page report which was to be used to impeach Holder, is actually colluding with their lies? To believe that, Arthur, requires a collossal amount of paranoia. It would be silly to know that a President and a Dept Secy knows about all programs which start at field offices. To call him a liar on that, and that alone, does not match his record, but it matches your of making specious claims. I assur you I am not interested in your racism. I am interested in your honesty. PJOR made a very good point. The racism crap is just a diversion.
Chicago Guy made an important observation about Romney's comment about liking to fire people.

Sitting here, listening to Martin Bashir bashing Romney, he made the statement that Romney seems unhinged.

I agree.

Anyone who says that he likes to fire people is clearly demonstrating a sociopathic tendency, lack of empathy.

Firing people is a necessary evil in the business world.

People who have had to fire others frequently become somewhat inured to the emotional effects of firing another person.

No sane person likes firing anyone.

Normally, you fire someone because their performance is less than satisfactory, or because your revenues can't support the number of people you have on the payroll.

In both cases, a firing indicates that the company is in trouble. If the firing was for cause, you have to replace the removed worker. If the firing was due to revenue issues, the firing reflects the concerns of a failing business.

In Mitt's case, however, unlike most employers, he actually MADE MONEY when he fired people...and THAT's why he likes it, because, for him, firing has gratifying ramifications of increased income for him resulting from policies that cost many other people their jobs.

Now, in retirement, Romney doesn't have opportunities to experience that vicarious gratification he got from firing people.

The experience of exercising this power is obviously something that Romney wants in his life, something that's missing from his life as a retired person, and probably something he is seeking with the presidency.
To your point, Sagemerlin, Romney actually told the story of traveling to China to buy a company. He lamented the bad conditions that the workers lived in. Women were in a dormitory where the beds were stacked 3 high. He noted that there was a fence, and guard towers. The people traveling with him were shocked by what they saw and asked about the fence. Their hosts explained to the party that the fence and the towers were there to keep people out. Romney went on to explain that ironically they had misunderstood that these people were actually happy to have a job, and others would mob the place in order to have them. He went on to suggest that making people "glad to have a job" was the model for the U.S. This account is in the recently published tape by Mother Jones.

Romney is damned by at least one of two of these points. First, he believed the absurd story that these workers are "glad" to be there. Or, Romney does not believe that, but wants to replicate that model in America. This alone would disqualify him for any office here. There are so many cases where Romney's own statements make him appear to be unbalanced. This one was a doozie.
Bill Beck,

As is typical, you used a lot of words to say nothing.

Whatever Obama knew about Fast and Furious originally, and about its distinctness from the Bush program, Wide Receiver, there can be no question that he was brought up to full speed some time ago.

And yet, in his Univision interview just last week, he used the old alibi about F&F being started by Bush and terminated by Holder. A lie.

He will say anything, distort the facts any way he has to, to get re-elected. He has calculated that the people who hear him are stupid enough to believe all his lies (people like you). He is no better than any other politician.

As for who called me a racist first, it wasn't Amy. That is not her shtick, it is yours. You own it.
In the news today, there were reports of a riot at a Chinese factory that manufactures the I Phone in which more than 1,000 workers were involved.

According to broadcast reports, more than 6,000 riot police were dispatched to quell the disturbance, which took place in a dormitory not in a factory area.

The factory in question employs 79,000 workers. There's no factory anywhere in the United States that employs that many workers.

Factories in the United States are always surrounded by fences, just like the factories in China. There's a big difference however. In the United States, those fences are designed to keep intruders out. In China, according to published reports, they are designed to keep the workers in.

We haven't had workers dormitoried on factory sites in this country for almost 100 years, except for some few coal and iron mine towns.

The idea that an American president would speak in admiration about this kind of manufacturing complex leads me to ask this question:

How is this factory different from a slave labor camp?
Arthur, give it a rest. You've made your point. Bill Beck has made his. Neither of you will gain anything from further repetitions of the same allegations. Please comment on the thread or don't comment at all.
"Well, Sage, I have to comment one more time because you seem to be calling me a racist."
--Arthur Louis

In your above comment, Arthur, you accuse Sage of calling you a racist. Now, if I own this, someone owes me a royalty. Or, maybe you are saying things which seem to others to be racist. As Sagemerlin stated, we dont always agree. And while racism is not my point of disagreement with you, you raised it. It ain't just me, Arthur.

I looked back over a number of your posts looking for the racism comment that you claim. I saw one where you claimed that Obama will likely lose Wisconsin. That was from June. (May have spoken too soon there.) I saw one where you claim that abortion is gemocide against blacks. (Or as you call them "the blacks.") I took you to task on the genocide comment and never once mentioned the "the blacks" reference. Now, try to be reasonable here. If I were concerned about a question of your racism, would I ignore that one? You even have a post where you call Obama a "woman" because he(she) nags. Your posts and comments are so full of slurs, smears, and gutter cultural references, and you have the nerve to complain that someone (several someones) accuse you of being a racist? Like I said earlier, racism would not be the first thing that comes to mind about you. It is something else entirely. I believe we have covered that ground however.
5:06 pm Hardball on MSNBC. Chris Matthews is asking, "why is Romney running?" Everyone is beginning to contemplate this question. For the first time that I can recall, the answer to this is not completely clear. I have discussed this with Kent Pittman. Mitt Romney's statements and answers fall far afield of any nominee I have ever heard. He's different, and not in a good, or acceptable way. The 47% comment was absurd and inaccurate. Comparisons are made to Obama's comment about right wingers clinging to their guns and religion, but it was in the context of reaching out to them anyway. Romney's comment was about cutting the 47% off. That is oddly different. Both were ill-advised statements. Only one approaches sinister. Just as I was discussing this with Sagemerlin, Chris Matthews was asking the same question. This Romney is one very odd duck.
I didn't know that much about George Romney. Now I understand why my Republican father liked him. Dad died just before the last election, and shocked me by saying he was okay with whichever way it went. I don't think he would like the direction the GOP has headed. My father was the definition of a compassionate conservative.