Felicia Muftic: Romney is guilty of ‘pious baloney’
Grand County, CO Colorado
The world of politics should be forever grateful to Newt Gingrich for introducing to the English language “pious baloney,” or how to call an opponent a hypocrite without using words not suitable for primetime.
I recall another primary that gave birth to an icon of political speech, “Where’s the Beef.” Walter Mondale in 1984 fired away at Presidential nomination contender, Gary Hart, for sloganeering his “New Ideas” without explaining its substance. The phrase was a play on a hamburger business’ ad that was dramatized by a feisty senior complaining about a competitor’s miniscule patty in a big bun.
This year’s icon is the 1 percent (or the 99 percent, depending how it is used in context). Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, it is shorthand for either class warfare or “fairness.”
Most politicians are guilty of pious baloney, some to a greater degree, some to a lesser degree, shorting the beef, and appealing to a class or special interest. To paraphrase George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” “all politicians are equal; some are more equal than others,” and this year Mitt Romney qualifies for the “more equal” category.
Gingrich attacked Romney for trying to appear as something that he was not. Such posturing happens when a campaign consultant looks at the polls to see how best their candidate could position him/herself, and then attempts to cram the client into a costume that does not cover the body. In the game planning for 2012, a poll must have shown voters wanted a non-DC insider, probably because they were disgusted with the gridlock antics of politicians within the Beltway.
To use Bill Clinton’s 1992 iconic phrase, the top concern of voters this year? “It’s the economy, stupid,” so drawing on Romney’s business background, his advisors saw a good match. A successful businessman, even a cold-hearted “vulture capitalist,” was a person who knew how to cure the slow recovery. Exclusively accenting his business background served more purposes, too, helping the GOP overlook some of his less than conservative record as a governor and his fatherhood of Obamacare. As Gingrich pointed out, Romney had been an aspiring candidate for office throughout much of his life, anyway, and was hardly the non-politician he portrayed himself.
Others in the Republican field are or were not as vulnerable. Rick Santorum is mostly “pious.” Ron Paul is true to an ideology of every person on his/her own and for his/her self regardless of wordly realities, fair or not. Rick Perry’s less than intellectual astuteness could not have been invented by any campaign consultant. Less said about Herman Cain the better, but his 999 flat tax proved to be unfair to the 99 percent. Former candidate Michele Bachmann’s frequent gaffes that did not pass the fact checkers substituted some baloney for the beef. Ron Huntsman failed to qualify as a politician since his support was nearly none.
Romney is not out of the woods, yet. In an era of populist anger at whatever is big (government, corporations) and with 50 percent of America poor or nearly poor, he is an icon of the 1 percent, of, by and for Wall Street, while Obama is from a struggling middle-income family and genuinely gets the fairness factor.
Last week Romney tried to convince us that “he is concerned about the middle class,” while at the same time condemning “class warfare” and defending his questionable job-creation record. More pious baloney. Romney’s balm to middle class pain is to kill Obamacare that would make health insurance affordable in all 50 states for even those without employer insurance. He promises to kill Wall Street reform with its protection bureau empowered to save consumers from predatory credit practices. His tax proposal would increase average taxes on many poor and would decrease taxes on the rich, per an analysis in the current “Atlantic Monthly.” With friends like him, the middle class does not need enemies.
For more commentary, go to http://www.mufticforum.com
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