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Romney & His Homies - All-Out for Capital

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The part I liked most about Romney’s Florida address to campaign donors, where he wrote off nearly half the country’s population as lazy ingrates, was the part about the house. It came right after he declared that the “biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats,” when he suddenly segued in with a stern warning for those gathered there, “It’s like, I mean, there won’t be any houses like this if we stay on the road we’re on.”

Not all Republicans are comfortable with Romney’s sermon at the mansion


I guess he was impressed by the house, which is saying something for someone who has eight of his own. But this one is 15,000 square feet and reports are that the “Spanish style oceanfront villa” the Romneys are redoing in Southern California will have only 11,000. The mansion where the Presidential candidate was speaking belongs to fellow capitalist, Marc Leder, who also owns multiple dwellings, one of which has reportedly been the scene of some wild U.S.-style bunga bunga parties.


It seems it was Romney who turned Leder on to the promise of private equity dealing and Leder has donated over $200,000 to his mentor’s campaign.


“From his perch high atop the class structure, Romney offered an analysis of political motivations that even Marxists would regard as excessively materialistic,” wrote Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. the other day. That’s actually a bit of a slur on Marxists who don’t reduce everything to personal acquisition and spend a lot of time promoting social justice and a sense of collectivity. But Dionne was right about one thing. The words Romney spoke that day in Boca Raton “reinforce a narrative that he is an out-of-touch elitist who doesn’t care about the plight of the average American, and that his allegiance is primarily to his class rather than to his country.”


Romney is actually a bit of a Marxist. He understands the relationship between capital and labor and the tension between the two and he is resolute in standing up for the interest of the former. As the servants passed the canapés, he was actually engaging a frank discussion with fellow members of the capitalist vanguard alliance about the time of day and the way forward. “If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy,” he said. “If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see - without actually doing anything - we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”

He feared for the nation’s future if Latinos continued a tendency to push the same ballot levers black people do.


Some people have had fun with the “without actually doing anything,” part, which is a kind of astonishing thing to say. But I find more intriguing and revealing the assertion that “We’ll see capital come back.” Back from where? Certainly he doesn’t mean capital as in money. The stock market is up and the people he was addressing are lining their pockets quite well - and building big houses. No, he means capital as in the two categories “capital” and “labor.” In that sense, his other remarks and policies being put forward by his campaign and his party are aimed at ensuring capital’s “advance.”


The man from Bain, who took in $13.7 million last year, was actually having a frank discussion with his fellow capitalist vanguardists at the a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser, especially those from the system’s financial sector, about the time of day and the road ahead.


And there was audience participation. At one point a diner rose to say, ‘For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.’ How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?”


None of this should be too surprising. As the cocky conservative David Brooks in his New York Times column the other day reminded us, “capitalism is an inherently elitist enterprise.”


Certainly, the representatives of finance capital are not solely in the Republican Party. What we are witnessing today is both major parties vying for the attention and largesse of the titans of Wall Street, Montgomery Street. What Romney was saying to the gathered Republican moneybags was: this is how we will prevail. We have nothing to offer those who are not doing well amid the current crisis prone economy so why pretend? If we are to rule we have to divide.


As John Hayward, wrote September 19 in the far right wing journal Human Events, Romney’s nostrums were “perfectly in keeping with the strategy behind the Republican National Convention this year.”


That discussion was supposed to remain in the mansion, among the faithful. Now it’s out in the open. Al praise be to Mother Jones and Carter’s grandson.


“I can summarize what Romney said to a bunch of wealthy donors at a May fundraiser: America is divided between the deserving rich and bums who want a handout. Vote for me, and I’ll keep you rich. Thank you very much. Enjoy the chicken,” Roger Simon wrote in Politico last week.


“It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way,” Romney said later. “I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and I’m sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that and so I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on. It’s a message which I am going to carry and continue to carry.”


“Still, Romney ignored a question about whether he really believes what he was saying,” wrote Holly Bailey at The Ticket. “Asked if his words were reflective of his ‘core convictions,’ Romney simply walked away.”


I’ve seen no indication whether there were any Mexican Americans or African Americans in Romney’s Florida audience. If there were he managed to insult both of them, declaring that he feared for the nation’s future if Latinos continued a tendency to push the same ballot levers black people do.

The stock market is up and the people Romney was addressing are lining their pockets quite well.


“Up until this point, as I chronicled the race-baiting and bigotry of the Romney campaign, I had seen it all as a cynical strategy deployed simply to appeal to the basest instincts of the Republican base - and not necessarily reflective of Mitt’s own biases,” Adele M. Stan wrote at AlterNet last week. “But the video tells a different tale. There, in the well-appointed home of leveraged buyout mogul Marc Leder, Romney seems to be, at last, his authentic self, speaking in a relaxed manner before people of his own social class, giving the subtext of Romney’s wish-I-was-a-Mexican remark the feel of a more authentic racial resentment.”


Reactionary Patrick Buchanan couldn’t wait to get into the act. “Romney indicated that folks deeply dependent on government are almost impossible for an advocate of smaller government to win over,” he wrote last week. “Is he entirely off base when Washington, D.C., the most government-dependent city in America, went 93-7 for Obama in 2008?”


Talk about dog whistles.


Not all Republicans are comfortable with Romney’s sermon at the mansion, as indicated by the number trying to jump ship or move as far away from the captain as possible. Some have sense and just don’t agree. Others are merely embarrassed. “Some conservatives are backing away slowly, sensing smartly perhaps that there’s something deeply cynical, cruel, hostile and unpatriotic about the things Romney said when he thought the rest of America wasn’t listening - just rich ex-frat boys like himself,” wrote Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill Politics September 21.


“When I was a lad, conservatives were supposed to see the good in the existing order and work to keep things from falling apart,” wrote Gary Silverman, Financial Times US news editor, last Friday. “Mr. Romney, by contrast, appears to be preparing for a confrontation of some kind. During his appearance in Florida, he looked like he was steeling himself for the day when he was going to take on all these irresponsible people and teach them the right way to live their lives.


“As I watched those video clips posted online, I grew thankful that someone had left that little gizmo there in Florida so we could see the real Mr. Romney. It makes up for all those months watching that sunny guy with the easy smile on the campaign trail. This week, we looked into Mr. Romney’s soul - and boy, it’s dark in there.” Editorial Board member and Columnist, Carl Bloice, is a writer in San Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and formerly worked for a healthcare union. Click here to contact Mr. Bloice.

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Sept 27, 2012 - Issue 487
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Executive Editor:
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