By Bob Cesca: The formerly hilarious comedian and satirist Dennis Miller endorsed and stumped for Mitt Romney at a rally in Virginia yesterday. I have to say, even though Miller flipped to the dark side long ago and, as such, ceased to be funny, the guy can still put together an English sentence. Granted, nearly all of what he says is horseshit these days, but it’s definitely well-constructed horseshit. Still, I couldn’t help but to feel sorry for Miller as he walked onto that rally platform to the tune of a random they-all-sound-alike yickadoo country song, tasked with fluffing Romney before of a crowd of sweaty yokels. How far the once mighty have fallen.
Anyway, a couple of things jumped out at me about Miller’s remarks. First, he noted Romney’s quote from the debate in which Romney lauded his ability to work with an 87 percent “Democrat” legislature in Massachusetts. Miller went on to pitch how great it was to hear that — we can put aside partisan rancor, Miller said, and work together. The audience applauded with the full knowledge that the congressional Republicans have vowed to block everything the president proposes and are currently responsible for the highest rate of filibusters in American history. That, Dennis, is rancor.
Second, he described in effusive detail how Mitt Romney is a “good and decent man.”
Yes really. And no that wasn’t an unfunny Miller joke.
We know that Romney’s a pathological liar and will say anything he needs to say in order to make it safely through the news cycle. But what else flies in the face of being a “good and decent man?”
Whenever the chips are down, Romney leans on dog-whistles.
During Tuesday night’s debate, Romney used the deliberately truncated “Democrat Party” monicker — specifically, “Democrat Senate” and “Democrat House.” The party is called the “Democratic Party,” and the shortened “Democrat” title is only used to describe one or multiple members of the party. When discussing the House and Senate between 2009 and 2011, the proper term is “Democratic House,” and so forth.
The reason Romney used this phrase was to appeal to the extremist far-right of the party who use the epithetic and incorrect party title as a means of stripping the party of any association with democracy or democratic values, and also to childishly emphasize the “rat” syllable at the end. So yes, this allegedly good and decent man used a grade-school-recess name-calling trick that’s better reserved for Freeper comment threads than a presidential debate stage with an audience of 60 million people. Let’s put this another way, can anyone imagine a self-respecting Democratic leader like, say, President Obama using the monicker “Rethuglican Party?” I should hope not.
Later, Romney crowbarred the word “foreign” into a response about his tax plan, “We have — we have a president talking about someone’s plan in a way that’s completely foreign to what my real plan is.” He even emphasized “foreign” to make sure the Trump/Limbaugh/Taitz Birthers heard it. And as we all know, this would never be an issue if the president wasn’t African American with an immigrant birth-father from Kenya. So when Romney mentions “foreign,” he’s appealing to and participating in the same race-baiting Southern Strategy politics that’ve been the purview of malevolent, bigoted fire-eaters going back to the pre-Civil War era. By the way, there’s no better way to appeal to immigrant voters than to use “foreign” as a shameful insult. Nice one, Mr. Romney.
And do I need to get into how this good and decent man tortured his dog or assaulted a gay classmate? Those things, too.
But the lies, jerky behavior, animal abuse and racial dog-whistles are just the beginning.
This good and decent man has made his fortune by successfully disengaging whichever subroutine in his neural net that operates his capacity to act with morality and a conscience. Corporate CEOs either learn how to temporarily shut off their conscience, or they’re simply born with a sociopathic glitch that allows them to do whatever’s in the best interest of the corporation without a second thought about whether it might impact actual people and the actual environment.
CEOs and other corporate types have access to shockingly cold calculations to determine how to proceed when real lives are on the line. Take, for example, the infamous Ford Pinto Memo. When it was discovered that the Pinto’s gas tank would explode if the vehicle was rear-ended, Ford executives devised a formula for determining whether to recall the car. If the cost of the recall was more than the projected cost of a lawsuit, there wouldn’t be a recall. Good people.
Not every corporate CEO or board is faced with this brand of deadly calculus, but most of them will base their decisions on the bottom line, while utterly ignoring the human cost. In the case of Mitt Romney, it’s off-shoring American jobs and “busting out” American businesses.
Romney, in the “47 Percent” video, discussed how he “went to China to buy a factory there.” The factory was located in Dongguan and it manufactured “small appliances,” according to Romney. He went on to describe how the factory, “employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.” Romney continued, “And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other.”
CEOs have no trouble whatsoever in eliminating good-paying factory jobs in America and sending them overseas — oh, and then writing off the expenses for a solid tax deduction. While it’s important for America to pursue policies that will help developing nations, trimming our workforce in lieu of exploiting cheap labor isn’t the way to do it.
As I’ve noted on the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podast, Mitt Romney and Bain Capital amassed a fortune using the Mafia-style “bust out” — the raiding and ultimate destruction of numerous companies under the guise of attempting the help them.
For example, during Romney’s days as CEO, Bain purchased a company called Dade International, an in-vitro fertilization medical company (paying attention, pro-lifers?), and then proceeded to triple the company’s debt to $900 million. According to Bloomberg’s Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, some of this debt was spent on buying back Bain’s share of the company for $242 million, while more of Dade’s credit was spent by Bain to finance other investments. Bain’s initial investment in Dade was around $30 million, and when Dade handed Romney and his co-conspirators $242 million, Bain collected an 800 percent profit. Then, when Dade could no longer afford to make payments on its debt, it filed for bankruptcy. After Bain paid back their own creditors for the initial purchase of Dade, it walked away with net $216 million. Again, an 800 percent profit. 1,700 American workers lost their jobs.
This is a good and decent man?
It continues to confound reason how half of this nation is planning to vote for a well-known vulture capitalist to run our national economy — to make critical decisions that impact American jobs and the stability of the free world in the wake of a disastrous recession that was precipitated in part by similarly nefarious investments. This is a man whose most frequently used business model was to buy a company, rack up massive debt in its name to buy other companies, bankrupt it, fire its workers and then walk away with significant personal profit. That’s literally the “bust out” Henry Hill describes in Goodfellas.
My advice to anyone who’s thinking about voting for Romney to be the steward of our economy is very simply this: don’t walk away, run. Mitt Romney is an awful and immoral man whose record proves he wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep while doing whatever he needs to, no matter how twisted, to help one person: Mitt Romney.