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August 1, 2012

Romney: A Picture of Contradictions

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Piers Morgan’s interview with Mitt Romney was broadcast here via cable on CNN London. It was the first in depth dialog I have watched with the Republican contender.


Before I wrote this column, I watched it twice on the Internet. I have omitted any discussion about his wife and children that were a large portion of the program. Neither you nor I are voting for them.


I thought he looked like Ward Cleaver in the 1950’s “Leave it to Beaver” TV series. His hair was coiffed; the suit fit perfectly, the white shirt properly starched. He seemed very relaxed; and he thought about the questions very carefully before he spoke. I was wondering where the martini was, but I then remembered his religion forbade drinking alcohol.


The interview began with Mr. Morgan informing us that the reason the show was being broadcast from the equestrian section of the Olympics’ was because Mrs. Romney’s horse would compete in events. This set the stage that the couple was very wealthy, was part of the horse set and led a life very few of us could achieve.


In the beginning there was patter over the Olympic Games and talk about genealogy. Mr. Romney’s gaff about England’s handling of the games was breezed over. I assumed that Mr. Morgan would toss softball type questions.


They chatted about his experience with the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics and how the games became successful. Mr. Romney said he could take the skill set he learned and then apply them to the governing of the nation.


The nation is not composed of fellow Republican Utahans (I guess that’s what they call themselves) and well connected wealthy people. Our country is a very beautiful, diverse and cosmopolitan, with many different viewpoints working together to forge our wondrous democracy.


His Salt Lake experience shows he can work and manage one small section of the American populace. It does not mean he can work and manage the rest of us.


Mr. Morgan then questioned Mr. Romney about additional laws on guns. Mr. Romney replied that he does not support any new laws because they will not stop anyone from violence. His answer to prevent further violence was to “find people who are distressed, deranged and evil and do our very best to find them, to cure them, to help them, to keep them from doing harm to one another.” The contradiction here is the Republicans are cutting those programs that would achieve Romney’s goals of “cure and help.”


Mr. Morgan brought up the fact that Mr. Romney was very successful in establishing a ban on assault weapons in Massachusetts when he was governor there. Mr. Romney agreed, saying he could bring people together. While governor, he worked to enact a health care bill and a gun control bill.


Let’s see, as governor he was a liberal Democrat and now he is a conservative Republican? How can the voters resolve this contradiction? They can’t.


Mr. Morgan next question had to do with attack ads. (I have not seen and of them.) Mr. Morgan stated they were attacking Mr. Romney because he was successful and rich. Mr. Romney replied he was very successful and proud with his work at Bain Capital. There were many businesses he promoted that became successful and employed many people. There were also businesses that failed and many people lost their jobs. He dismissed the failures as the American way of doing business.


Mr. Romney said he invested in a business that lost $50-$60 million. He said they went in and kept the same management team.


Why in the world would they invest in such a company and keep the same management team? This does not sound like a good business practice. Why would you keep a management team that lost that kind of money? What was his point (and he made it several times) in keeping a losing management team in place?


“There are people who attack success and are trying to attack our success. …when you attack success you have less of it…with education and hard work we will be able to achieve success…those who are attacking our success will not be successful.”


I am very happy Mr. Romney was very successful and has a lot of money. Good for him. Like most Americans, I don’t understand how he did it. The only thing I do know is that he had Swiss bank accounts and paid very little taxes.


However, it was  taxes that built the roads, provided the schools for an educated workforce and now health care which will provide for a healthy pool of employees, that allowed Mr. Romney and his group of companies to be successful. Without that basic foundation, Mr. Romney would have never succeeded. Mr. Romney and his friends have contributed very little to the building of our infrastructure because they have avoided their fair contribution to America.


Mr. Romney stated that “with education and hard work we can achieve success.” Yet, it is his party that is dismantling the educational system that his type of success is built upon.


Mr. Romney, on foreign policy, stated he would return to the philosophy of Harry Truman and Dean Acheson. America would promote our values through military and economic might. He said America (meaning him) would be the leader of the free world and therefore the leader of the world.


We tried that and it didn’t work. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are all examples of our failures to enforce that doctrine. Rather, each individual nation must be allowed to evolve at its own pace and its own way. There must be a policy of non interference.


Mr. Romney, because of his great wealth, has carved a life for himself that reflect 1950’s America. His successes at the Olympics and at Bain were all made with like-minded and like-colored people. His vision of America and the world are in the past and he will try to revive, through economic and foreign policies, of that time.


As governor of Massachusetts, he was instrumental in passing laws on both gun control and health care, but now renounces those deeds. It seems his quest for power as governor made him say and perform actions that he perceived would allow him to keep that power.


Now, Mr. Romney’s continued quest for power is based on the exact opposite of what he said and did in Massachusetts. I have never seen anyone have a complete reversal of opinions. And that is scary.


Mr. Romney asked us to trust him to create jobs and to promote his vision of America. However, he does not trust us to examine his tax returns which have been an evaluation tool for past presidential candidates for many previous election cycles.


From the interview I learned Mr. Romney is filled with contradictions, promotes a life style few can attain and whose vision for America reflects the 1950’s. It was a good interview.


. . . . .life if good. . . . .




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