By Bob Cesca: I've admittedly lost track of the ongoing series of Mitt Romney "reboots." With each iteration we've heard wildly different stories, each one escalating his desperate and frenetic scramble to hit the correct tone and message -- frankly, something he should've thought about in 2011 when he launched his campaign.
It's the sort of flailing we often observe on a dying television show. Ratings down? Suddenly WHOOPS! the lead actress is pregnant! Or, aloha! We're in Hawaii! Or, look who's come to visit from out of town, an adorable yet precocious mop-haired kid. Or, it's Mr. T!
All of it looks progressively ridiculous and carries with it the stink of epic failure.
The latest Mitt Romney reboot is clearly the "Very Special" episode in which a cuddly fuzzy Romney pretends to empathize with the plight of average Americans. Not only has Romney released a soft-spoken mea culpa in which he backpedals his "47 Percent" video remarks, but he's also said this:
"I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don't forget -- I got everybody in my state insured," Romney told NBC's Ron Allen in an interview before his rally here tonight. "One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record."
First, as with every obvious Romney lie and flip-flop, he's taking everyone for amnesic morons who are completely incapable of remembering things he said, you know, two days ago. Furthermore, he's never really talked about his health care record in Massachusetts, other than to deliberately bury it under a steaming pile of paleoconservative horseshit. But yes, it's true that he "got" everybody in his state insured, including kids. Yet every time the issue of health care has popped up, he trips over himself in a mad dash to blurt and yip about repealing Obamacare, which is, as we all know, very similar to his Massachusetts achievement. Does he have any path or strategy in mind for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something that's practically the same thing -- including the dreaded Republican concept of an individual mandate? Not that anyone is aware of. Worse yet, just the other day he was asked about Obamacare and what he would do in its place and his answer was to essentially tell sick or injured people to go to the emergency room.
So which is it? A) Get everyone insured or, B) send them to the ER where they either pay an exorbitant bill or just stiff the hospital which, in turn, passes the loss on to other patients and insurance companies thus spiking costs and premiums? We don't know. Nobody knows. Because all that matters is the notion of hitting Ctrl-Z on the Obama record. That's Romney's goal as dictated by the Republican base. Unfortunately, he's not disciplined enough to stick with the Republican script -- a script that's been carved in stone (their only form of written communication) since early 2009.
As such, we're currently hearing from Very Special "empathic" Romney. Technically, "empathy" is the wrong word. Empathy is literally feeling the emotions of another person. "Sympathy," on the other hand, is about merely possessing an understanding the feelings of others. There's a big difference, and no one's going to buy the idea of privileged corporate CEO and member of the 1%-of-the-1% "feeling the pain" of anyone -- including his own pain, which was purged from his species during the fourth interplanetary conundrum of the Trillian Nebula epoch.
There's absolutely nothing empathic about Mitt Romney, especially when he can barely get through an interview without either contradicting his own remarks or outright lying. I mean, he couldn't even get through a sentence about "empathy" without lying: "I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record." Oh really? What about the kind of record that expanded Medicaid and SCHIP for children on a nation-wide scale? That's President Obama's record. Romney has repeatedly pledged to repeal the expansion of Medicaid that's part of Obamacare -- in fact, Mitt Romney's plan involves cutting Medicaid by $810 billion, even though 31 million children compose a full half of all Medicaid recipients. The other half includes the elderly and disabled people, along with the parents of those children. Empathy? Yeah right. Unmitigated nonsense.
But Mitt Romney says he feels "empathy" so it must be true.
By the way, while we're discussing warm and fuzzy feelings, those of you fellow liberals who have taken to Facebook and Twitter to express sympathy for Romney's trainwreck of a campaign ought to just stop it. I've seen the following sentiment all over the place: His campaign is so awful, I'm beginning to feel bad for Romney.
No one -- I mean, no one -- should feel bad for Mitt Romney: a man of incomparable good fortune, a man who is privileged beyond our comprehension. Due to his family wealth and his natural ability to separate his emotions from his business savvy, Romney has stockpiled truckloads of tax-free cash in offshore banking accounts; he's bought and sold companies by the bushel and, in some cases, fired thousands of workers regardless of longevity or tenure; he's invested in Chinese sweatshops in which the young female employees sleep three to a bunk and earn a "pittance" (Romney's word).
He's not a hapless reality show contestant. Don't weep for Mitt Romney. If and when he loses this election, he'll go back to all of the nefarious and morally questionable practices that've heretofore secured his vast personal fortune, with the added bonus of raking in fees for book and speaking gigs that only a former presidential candidate is able to command. If you have to feel bad for anyone, feel bad for all of the Americans who have been suckered by this flim-flam artist, this soulless corporate CEO who has exploited their ignorance and/or racial animosity so vigorously that they've chosen to vote against their own financial best interests. Again.