If America hired its chief executives instead of electing them, George Romney could have been president.
Even today, most candidates would die (or kill) for George Wilcken Romney’s resume.
Mitt Romney’s father had a record candidates would kill for, both as a businessman and politician.
A pious man and staunch defender of the American Civil Rights movement, the senior Romney was elected governor of Michigan after helping to write the state’s new constitution in 1962.
Michiganders knew and respected Romney. They elected him to their state’s highest office three times by large margins.
Romney had saved the failing American Motors company. Concentrating on the compact Nash Rambler, he mocked the products of the “Big Three” automakers as “gas guzzling dinosaurs.” Gov. Romney also rebuilt his state’s financial and revenue structure.
With a spotless background, he served as a member of the Mormon Church’s high council of 12 and was leader of the Detroit stake.
He entered the Republican presidential 1968 primary race as front runner. His chances turned to dust when he explained his about face on the Vietnam War.
He said he had been “brainwashed” by American diplomats and military officials. Richard Nixon won both the nomination and the presidency.
Radio and TV commentators, newspaper columnists and standup comedians attacked like chickens chasing watermelon rinds.
One pundit described Romney as a man “with an iron jaw, spine of steel and brain of pure mush.”
The criticism was anything but fair. Of course he had been brainwashed. The Pentagon and the Department of State had brainwashed everyone who counted.
They had lied to Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
Typically, they offered three options: “We can cut and run. We can continue at the present level. Or, give us another 50,000 troops and we will win this thing.” Nearly 60,000 soldiers were killed in a war never declared.
Could a single gaffe destroy the career of one of today’s candidates? Could 10 gaffes? How about 50?
If a record is to be set, Michele Bachmann tops the winner board. My favorite Bachmann flub is her assertion that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to free the slaves.
George Washington had 200 slaves. Thomas Jefferson owned 150. Seven others held slaves before or during their terms in office.
Jefferson wrote a book about managing slaves. He wrote, “A woman that brings a child every two years is worth more than the best field hand.”
Jefferson prized child-bearing slaves. He sired more than a few of his own assets.
Former Pizza tycoon Harold Cain provided food for thought when he announced his 9-9-9 tax plan. It sounded like a Fräulein fending off a lecher but was actually a new look at an old novelty - the flat tax.
By anyone’s accounting, the Cain plan (with equal amounts of income tax, corporate tax and national sales tax) would fatten the rich while eating the poor alive.
Cain explained why triple nine taxation would be fair. The taxes would not apply to the purchase of used goods. By buying used goods the poor would profit by this scheme.
Imagine yourself trotting off to the supermarket to buy a load of used food. A little used orange juice, some used steak, a carton of used milk, etc.
You might swing by the drug store on your way home and fill your prescriptions.
Pharmacy clerk: “You want the name brand or generic?”
You: “Neither. Give me used.”
Pharmacy clerk: “Yes, sir.”
You: “Oh, and give me a pack of used cigarettes while you are at it. Filters, please.”
Be sure to fill your car with some of that high test used gas on the way home.
Rick Perry, a Texas Aggie who sounds as if he’s mixed his snoose with gunpowder, can’t go 20 minutes without shooting off his mouth. Perry does not believe in evolution, climate change or gravity. Just kidding about the gravity.
The Texas governor takes pride in his state’s execution of 260 men and defends a public school system that is one of the worst in the country. He admits that Texas is third in the nation for teen pregnancies but champions the teaching of abstinence as the only acceptable birth control measure.
“Abstinence works,” he says. The statement makes perfect sense to Perry and his followers.
Perry joined the gang of GOP presidential contenders at the top of the list. He plunged in the pools after a poor performance in the first two debates.
The man who has held the top spot for most of the season is son of the guy who admitted being bamboozled by the Pentagon, Willard Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and son of George Wilcken Romney.
Mitt created the Massachusetts health care program that was largely copied by the designers of President Obama’s new health care program. Critics say Mitt’s successful health care system might sink his presidential aspirations. The Republican base (e.g., reactionary wing nuts) hate “Obamacare.”
The critics are wrong. The wing nuts hate Obama more.
Still, Junior Romney is the author of a full share of gaffes. In Florida he told a crowd he sympathized with the unemployed. “I’m unemployed,” he said.
Any man with $250 million in the bank is not, cannot, be unemployed - even if his only job is to watch his fortune sweat hundreds of thousands of dollars a week.
Romney made his fortune by buying distressed companies, selling off the assets and sacking the employees. I am not sure how this fits with the Republican insistence upon calling all rich people “job creators.”
Another prize quote from the lips of the junior Romney will be replayed frequently in the general election race. At a time when American anger at government is only surpassed by the people’s hatred of Wall Street, Romney said, “Corporations are people, too.“
Yes, yes, we know what he meant. We also know what was meant by the signs carried by Occupy Wall Street protesters that read, “I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”
Finally, will gaffes determine who will win the presidency?