The other day I quoted the poem about the little man on the stair who wasn’t there. It seems that it applies to Mr. Romney even more than I thought. Maureen Dowd’s column yesterday in the New York Times describes the extraordinary lengths he has gone to in his effort to keep his activities a secret, both as the so-called rescuer of the Seattle Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Would a person who has nothing to hide destroy all those electronic records and spend $10,000 to purchase the hard drives he used? You would think that a man so intent on achieving the highest honors would want to preserve a record for the sake of his own history – unless of course, there were shady dealings and lies hidden in the emails.
If we, the voters, are blind enough go for this invisible man in the upcoming election, we will be voting in a totally unknown quantity, an unsubstantial being who happens to be very rich and believes in nothing but the almighty dollar. We will deserve whatever disaster follows.
For a man who supposedly spent time being a missionary in France, he certainly hasn’t learned the art of diplomacy. Instead he comes across as something of a condescending, haughty boor, allowing aids to speak of the “anglo-saxon” alliance, and then insulting his British hosts by being disconcerted at the shortfall in security personnel. He’s not as uncouth as George (“Yo Blair!”), but the attitude of superiority seems the same. It’s certainly not the kind of polished performance you’d expect from someone with his much flaunted experience. The Anglo-saxon remark is a slam at everyone who isn’t descended from that particular group of people. Do they realize what a minority they are in the real world? Do they understand that these anglo-saxons didn’t make America’s greatness? That there were always those others, the Irish, the Germans, the Dutch, the Poles, the Jews, the Latin Americans, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Filipinos, the Africans, and all those countless others who came to our shores and contributed their energy and brains, and ingenuity to make us what we are.
Aren’t rich people expected to have good manners?
Watching Mr. Romney squirm about his activities at Bain from 1999 to 2002 and whine about Obama’s ad that questions how he could be there and not be there at the same time reminded me of 2 things: how boys who are the instigators of mischief use the same excuse when caught out (“I wasn’t there!”), and a silly nonsense poem we sometimes recited at home:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish, he’d go away…
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.
William Hughes Means, 1889
I’m beginning to think that this supposed “business” genius, is neither as smart nor as skillful as he makes himself out to be. It would be so nice if one of these days his party could find some candidate who wasn’t a fraud.
A warning for those of us in the middle class who are thinking about voting in November for our choice for President. Politics may be riddled with money on all sides these days with politicians paid to do the work for their wealthiest supporters. What if those wealthy supporters have only one thing in mind – to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people, those “small people” as Strauss-Kahan put it so disdainfully. “Creative Destruction”, that ungodly buzzword invented by corporate raiders may well to out to have been a big step on a path that returns to the master-serf relationships of the middle ages. It would be useful to keep the following elegant political ad in mind, even if it was created for Newt Gingrich’s super pac:
I know it’s long at 28 minutes, but it’s also more like a documentary than a political ad, and we need to listen to the heartbreak of the ordinary folks and how it contrasts with Romney’s obvious rich man’s uncaring attitude toward the people in his audiences and those whose lives he destroyed.
I’d also recommend Frank Riche’s article of June 17 that appeared in the New York Magazine, “Nuke ‘Em”. I’m old enough to remember that ad and the visceral fear it produced in us along with Goldwater’s outrageous statements. Rich goes for the pure emotional shock of that ad urging the Obama campaign to do something similar. It’s a long read, but well worth it.
In some ways, Romney seems even scarier, not as bombastic perhaps; just far more predatory in worse ways than sudden annihilation from a nuclear explosion. When he speaks, I don’t feel any “there” there, no real connection between him and the audience. I wonder what the people think who’ve had a chance to shake his hand and get patted on the back. Does he seem real, or is he more playing a part?