Willard Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a testament to his monumental tone deafness to how the average American (read the 99%) feel about corporate raiders wrecking the American economy and throwing 15 million out of work and tens of millions out of their homes in order to enrich themselves.
There’s a now-famous picture of Romney with his Bain Capital partners with cash in their hands, clothing, and mouths. It was apparently a staged shot for an HBO series that didn’t happen but the imagery of the picture—staged or otherwise—has come back to haunt Romney big time. Perhaps at that moment in history he had no political aspirations, or maybe they were kept hidden while churning deep inside. Like George W. Bush, who carried the burden of a father of a father disgraced by Iraq in Desert Storm, Romney carried the burden of his presidential candidate father George disgraced by the press for claiming he had been brainwashed by the military over the Vietnam War. Bush Sr. was defeated by Bill Clinton in the next election and George Romney had to drop out of the presidential race. So, like Bush Jr., Romney’s presidential bid is just a loyal son’s attempt to re-capture his father’s lost honor. That’s my analysis and I’m sticking to it.
But if the past is prologue, Romney’s Bain past may be his campaign’s epilogue. Staged as that HBO picture may have been, the image resonates with American voters of both political party affiliations as one of a man who put (Bain) capital before people. Romney’s way to sidestep that negative image was to claim “Corporations are people too, my friend” as a way to show us that his heart was in the right place when it came to people—super rich, very powerful multinational people.
But when it comes to caring about middle class working people—well, not so much. That’s why he refuses to accept credit for the Massachusetts healthcare plan he signed which helped the poor and middle class and which Obama used as a model for his healthcare plan. With Republicans, Willard had to make a choice between being a champion for the average Joe and the super rich Joseph if big money SuperPacs were going to line up behind him.
So, it’s his Bain Capital background that his given him the largest campaign treasure chest around but has prevented him from netting more than 27% or so of Republican support since last year. The only reason his presidential bid still exists is because all of his Republican opponents—perhaps with the exception of Jon Huntsman—are people who wouldn’t trust with the key to your front door, let alone the economy and the military might of the United States.
Willard Mitt’s past is the Bain of his existence, which means he still acts like he’s making the big money deals. But instead of gauging at what price he can sell a corporate component on the open market and adjusting as needed, he’s gauging what policy statements will match the “strike price” of the American voter for his presidential bid. His early pro-abortion stand was too high a price for the evangelical voter to pay so he instituted an anti-abortion price reduction in the hope that will hit the purchasing sweet spot for that sect. Same thing with him turning against Romneycare.
As this post goes to price, President Obama held a press conference today and in effect stated he plans to out-Romney Willard Mitt Romney. But that’s another blog post.