What is it About Romney That is So Objectionable
By Lionel Rolfe
Until I saw him in the debate, I hadn’t really thought much about why Mitt Romney gets on my nerves so badly. He obviously gets on other people’s nerves as well, even including some conservatives, and even other Mormons like Jon Huntsman and Harry Reid.
I’m afraid in that first debate, poor old Barack Obama was having a tough time concealing his disdain for Romney. I’ve heard that Obama is disdainful because Romney is a man without a core, without real beliefs–except for the tenets of his religion, which like most religions has very bizarre beliefs.
From a tactical standpoint, Obama shouldn’t have shown that disdain, but I don’t fault him for doing so. A man who believes in nothing except for what will benefit him immediately can be a turnoff At the bottom of what passes for a soul, this is a man who believes only the rich will get inside those pearly gates, and only folks like him have validity.
At the debate, it became apparent exactly what he is. He’s a salesman, and from my point of view, not even a very smooth one. His words ring hollow despite his bellicosity because he’s a congenital liar. He has no commitment to the truth. I guess he’s regarded as a smooth, fast talking type and judging by his success, you’d think he’s the kind of guy who can sell ice to Eskimos, as the saying goes, although I only saw a scoundrel whose claim to fame is that he made a fortune by practicing a kind of vulture capitalism that left a string of broken lives.
I’m not convinced by the argument he’s generous to charity–most of his charities are his own church’s. And the less said about Mormonism the better. For me, Romney sums up Mormons. They obviously are like Calvinists who believe dollars and power trump ethics and arts and sciences, for that matter. I’m told he’s an elder in the church. I know that some Mormons like John Huntsman and Harry Reid are embarrassed by him. I understand that. I’m afraid as a Jew I could name some of those of my clan who embarrass me, starting with Romney’s friend Bibi Netanyahu. But Judaism includes some amazing human beings, like Einstein, like Mendelssohn. A Romney suggests the whole country would be worshiping only Babbits.
Romney obviously believes that businessmen are the highest kind of human beings. He disdains physicists, violinists, writers, revolutionaries like Tom Paine and community-organizers-turned-president, all the people I value as the most noble of our species. He thinks that billionaires are the supreme triumph of God, I guess. What a bizarre and horrible god he has.
To him, truth is only something that gets in the way of snowing a client or a country. Romney is truly a salesman, who will say whatever he perceives his audience wants.
This is not to say there isn’t something at the core of his being. I think we caught a glimpse of his contempt for all who aren’t billionaires when he talked about the 47 percent. All the posturing and clarifying won’t take away the essence of what he had to say with such unusual passion and conviction when he thought he was in the safety of his kind.
I would have thought he would be more convincing. After all, his customers normally are mostly billionaires. So you’d think that a guy who specializes in billionaires would not lie so badly. But maybe that’s making the assumption billionaires are better than you and me, when the truth of the matter is that most of them are things like scummy casino owners.
Romney’s specialty has been as a vulture capitalists. If he can make money by dismantling capitalism, he’ll do so gladly. He’s sort of a salesman selling out his own country for pennies on the dollar, as long as it rebounds to his bank accounts.
For me, when the stories came out how he bullied a fellow student for being too effeminate at the private school he attended, I immediately knew the guy. I’ve been to a couple of those kinds of schools myself, and they always seemed to have a bully or two like a Romney in attendance.
I knew guys like him growing up. I didn’t like them then and I don’t like them now. For the sake of argument, I’ll grant Romney probably believes that whatever he does is good. In that sense, he’s presumably sincere, although that’s hard for me to see. I somehow can’t imagine him listening to great music, even in the Mormon Tabernacle where great music is sometimes played. He seems to me the ultimate Babbit, the man who believes businessmen are the only true heroes in a society.
Our problems are too large for a man of limited scope like Romney, especially when you contrast him to the incumbent, who is so obviously a much superior human being.
Lionel Rolfe is the author of “Literary L.A.,” “Fat Man on the Left,” “The Uncommon Love of Yaltah Menuhin and Willa Cather,” “The Menuhins: A Family Odyssey,” “Bread and Hyacinths: The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles” and several other volumes available on Amazon’s Kindlestore.