Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mitt Romney, the Mystery Candidate

Most of us look around the world and we wonder how a society could become flawed to such an extreme that it accepts, even fosters, policies that lead to destruction.  We wonder how the people of Germany could have allowed Hitler’s National Socialist Party to have total power within the country and lead the country into a devastating war.  We wonder how so many Hutus of Rwanda could have been persuaded that they should take up machetes against their Tutsi neighbors.  How could the Serbs of Bosnia become convinced that they should “cleanse” their society of Muslims, not only to kill members of their own communities but also to destroy buildings, museums, every notable structure built by their Muslim neighbors?  We wonder:  How did these societies seem to have lose all reason.

Is not this country about to do something comparably irrational?

There is a chance that we will elect as our president someone about whom we scarcely know anything, a person who steadfastly refuses to tell us much about himself or even of his future program.  He has, as Professor Garry Wills puts it, a “mystery box” of solutions to our country’s problems [NYRB 11/8/12], along with a body of opinions that we know he has changed over time and even now he carefully veils.    

  • On abortion, his wife Ann Romney refused to reveal his opinion [she said it was merely a distraction.   
  • On the loopholes he will plug in order to get to a balanced budget even though he plans to reduce taxes even further [they are already close to an all-time low]:  he says that that matter will be the surprise he will give Congress once he is in office.
  • On voter-ID drives that would reduce the electorate [those most likely not to vote for him], he said the issue was a distraction.
  • On requiring ultrasound exams for pregnant women seeking abortions as many of his party support, he said the question was a distraction.
  • Most surprisingly, on his actual record he carefully provides few details: 
    • On what he did at Bain capital he reveals little;
    • On his major accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts, the health-care law, he carefully evades mention of it since it was the model for the “Obamacare” law that he now denounces.
  • He reveals to the public only the last two years of his tax returns.  This is most curious because his father published his tax returns for the previous ten years when he ran for President.  Does Mitt Romney think that more than the last two years of tax returns should be revealed?  Decide for yourself:  He demanded to see the tax returns of the last ten years of those individuals he was  considering for his running mate.  Romney has seen the tax returns of Paul Ryan for the past ten years [NYRB 11/8/12] but he steadfastly refuses to reveal more than two years of his own tax returns. 
The American public knows almost nothing substantial about Mitt Romney, and he could be our next President.  What would he really do for our economy?  We don’t know.  What plans does he have to fix the deficit?  We don’t know.  How will he deal with the incessant conflict in the Middle East? We don’t know.  What is his policy toward minorities?  Well, this we can guess and he knows better than to put that into words.

Romney was scarcely liked or supported by his own Republican Party – he just turned out to be the last one standing.  So why is he a viable candidate for President of the Unites States of America, the most powerful leader in the world?  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do we really know about Obama himself? His agenda? What has he done these last four years to help America and the people? Is it perhaps better to take a risk and vote for this "mystery candidate" who turned around the economy in his state instead of four more years of piling on the deficit and high unemployment?