A Window

A window is a transparent or translucent opening in a wall or door that allows the passage of light…

—from Wikipedia

s that festival of falsehoods, that carnival of calumny, that pageant of prevarication known as the Republican National Convention is about to begin, I want to note all the attempts over the weekend to alchemize Mitt Romney, to shake that famous Etch-A-Sketch and draw him anew.

All three cable channels, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox “News,” presented some form of “get to know the Romneys better” piece, with CNN and Fox, of course, doing the most to turn the Romney we have come to know—as Fox’s Chris Wallace reminded us in his fluffy “Costco” piece, Mittens has been running for president eight years—into something more palatable, more marketable to that thin slice of the electorate who is still open to persuasion.

And by the way, one has to wonder, at this point, why there are any folks left—among those who will bother to vote—who haven’t made up their minds. Obviously, some haven’t been paying close attention, since politics for them is, like the recent Olympics, an every-four-year event.

Others, let’s face it, aren’t really willing or capable of making a rational choice, particularly one that might actually help serve their own economic interests. This micro niche of people will, almost literally, wait until the last minute and essentially hang their vote on some scrap of information—true or false—that will give them peace with their “choice.”

That having been said, all the attempts to refurbish Romney don’t really matter. It’s not important for people, who are still evaluating him, to conclude that Romney is a bad man or a good man or to figure out “who he is, what makes him tick,” as a Republican spokesman said this morning.

Because ultimately what should matter to everyone is exactly what President Obama told the Associated Press:

I can’t speak to Gov. Romney’s motivations. What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he’s talked about.

That is what matters. What will a President Romney actually do? Has he embraced all those “extreme positions” just for show, just to appease the extremists who hold them? In order to believe that one would have to believe Mitt Romney is an abject liar and then vote for that abject liar. Or one can believe that Romney means what he says and he will govern, as much as Democrats permit him, with those extreme positions as his guide.

Listen to RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who when he wasn’t dodging rhetorical bullets from Chris Matthews on Morning Joe this morning, uttered this syntactically challenged but revealing sentence:

What more specific can he get than picking Paul Ryan as his Vice President?

That statement, fresh from the lips of the GOP chairman, is ten-months pregnant with the truth about Mitt Romney. He chose Paul Ryan—who undoubtedly is a hero to extremist conservatives everywhere—precisely because it best demonstrates how he will govern. Ryan has spent his entire adult life—all of it!—in Washington, D.C., and if anyone knows how the place works, he does. And if anyone can lead Romney to that Randian promised land, he can.

Priebus told us this morning that Ryan and his House GOP budget are “a window into the types of things we need to do…

A window,” he said. If people will only open their eyes and see.

11 Comments

  1. The evangelical fervor with which the far conservative right embrace Ryan’s coronation, as in the link to the Glen Beck article, is downright scary. This is more than mere politics, this is open tribal warfare.

    The Beck piece (link: “extremist conservatives”) immediately reminded me of Thomas Sowell’s column in this morning’s Globe. Sowell embraces D’Souza’s book and movie that brand Obama as different from real Americans because of his childhood in the Third World, so like Beck he seeks to exclude him by redefining the tribal boundary of his otherness.

    Sowell, a libertarian economist, uses his academic bona fides to peddle oversimplifications but his reasoning has nothing to do with facts. He even dredges up Jeremiah Wright and gives a sly nod to birtherism. Some academic!

    In this election we are seeing a classic political confrontation between rationality and religion, and the spice in the mix is the bizarre spectacle of watching the RNC publicly redefine a member of a 2% secretive and paternalistic religious sect as one of the larger tribe’s own. Jonathan Swift would have a field day with this stuff.

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  2. Duane,

    I see the main problem with Romney and, indeed, the whole Republican party, is that it has been fractured by the far right evangelical extremists whose rants drown out the traditional conservative philosophy that you and I grew up with.

    Goldwater said extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. If the radical right were trying to champion liberty, they would certainly get my support. Trouble is, their extremism is in defense of authoritarianism and intolerance – the very opposite of liberty, and the enemy of democracy and representative government. To the extent that is true, then we will then have to add to the regular rogues gallery of the KKK, the Neo-Nazi’s, and the White Supremacists, such organizations as the Tea Party and those run by Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, James Dobson, and many others.

    Here’s a really good blog post that expands on my position on this issue http://www.salon.com/2012/05/24/my_break_with_the_extreme_right/

    I have recently seen the term “American Taliban” used to describe what we used to call Neo-Cons. So, in the spirit of late Andrew Breitbart, I will not hesitate to use the term American Taliban to mean those hypocritical, smug, holier-than-thou, racist, elitist, condescending, arrogant, self-righteous, intolerant, bigots who have the gall to call themselves conservatives, much less Republicans.

    The real issue then is how much Romney will be influenced by the American Taliban if he is elected. When he was Governor, he pandered to the liberal base in Mass. and followed much of the democrat philosophy, including the establishment of an almost identical equivalent of Obamacare. That doesn’t bode well for what he might do as president if he panders to the American Taliban.

    He is a master flip-flopper. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he believes we came from the planet Kolob, and that Native Americans are the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Well, at least he doesn’t believe the earth is only 6,000 years old as most of the American Taliban do.

    Herb

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    • Herb,

      You are saying exactly what I’ve been saying about Romney. What makes him so dangerous, in policy terms, is his willingness to become whatever is politically expedient. That scares me. A lot. Especially when it comes to making war.

      Duane

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    • Here is a much more eloquent and accurate depiction of the American Taliban than I could ever come up with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGAvwSp86hY&sns=fb

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      • Excellent soliloquy on the subject, Herb! I had no idea that someone had put the whole thing together so well. If everyone could see it, the phrase “American Taliban” would become firmly imbedded in the language.

        In my mind, a fantasy grows. It is prime time at the RNC Convention and they are between big speeches. The lights dim, and on the big screen this 6-minute clip begins to play. The crowd and the TV audience watch in rapt astonishment. Reince Priebus can be heard faintly screaming in the background, and politics is changed forever. Fade to black.

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      • Excellent treatment on the subject, Herb! I had no idea that someone had put the whole thing together so well. If everyone could see it, the phrase “American Taliban” would become firmly imbedded in the language.

        In my mind, a fantasy grows. It is prime time at the RNC Convention and they are between big speeches. The lights dim, and on the big screen this 6-minute clip begins to play. The crowd and the TV audience watch in slack-jawed astonishment. Reince Priebus can be heard faintly screaming in the background, and politics is changed forever. Fade to black.

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      • Thanks, Herb. I posted the clip. Well written stuff.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 28, 2012

    Two quick points.

    1. Duane wrote, “….a rational choice, particularly one that might actually help serve their own economic interests. ” How can any sane voter cast a ballot that is NOT in HIS or HER own economic interests seems to be the point? If true, how exactly can democracy survive when resources are far smaller than the wants from the electorate? To me a rational vote is one that calls for aligning wants with available resources at the level of government policies. Doing the “next right thing” with Medicare as we know it is but an example.

    2. Just as predicted soon after the Akin scandel broke, you commenters and your “guide” are doing all you can to turn this election into one of religion vs secular policies. My guess is there are about 25% of voters that will vote FOR “Christian values” regardless of what those values might be and will vote as such based on that single issue. On the other hand simply because they are expressed as religious values, about 25% of the electorate will vote against them. I only point to the single issue of abortion as an example of “single issue voting”.

    Anson

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