<December 2021>
The Sweet allure of emptiness?
 Question #8:  Is there any reason not to not vote for Mitt Romney? ?


My daughter, age eleven, who is a dancer, recently appeared with Dances Patrelle, a Manhattan company, in a wild Gilbert & Sullivan redo.   In mid-Pinafore, for those who were paying attention, the following lines were slipped in:


He had no thoughts,

So the G.O.P.

Nominated him

For the presidency.


            I have not been able to get this out of my head.  There is no doubt to whom they were referring.  A crowded field of Republicans full of shaky ideas and worrisome positions fell one by one. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan had symmetry but a complete ignorance of  economics, and Rick Perry wanted to eliminate Federal agencies but couldn’t remember which ones and Michele Bachman admired the Founding Fathers for their tireless work to end slavery. Ron Paul had a clear set of beliefs that he apparently shared with only a very few voters. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum found more backing for their beliefs but not enough. And who was left standing? Mitt Romney. Why? He had neither ideas, convictions nor positions.  So he presented nothing about which to be upset. In a country where most people claim to vote for the lesser evil, isn’t this the perfect candidate?

            If you admire Obama for creating health care, isn’t that what Mitt did as governor of Massachusetts, but if you don’t like it you can take comfort in the fact that Mitt opposes it too now .  He supported a woman’s right to her own decision but now wants the abortion option banned.  So if you oppose a woman’s rights you can vote for Mitt but if you disagree, he used to disagree too and may go back to that stance later. He hired an openly gay foreign policy advisor, and then fired him because he was gay, giving both pro and anti gay voters a reason to back him. Well, he didn't fire him--just wouldn't  let him talk because it would offend homophobes so he left. Mitt didn't want him to leave. He hired him.

            He was at his best in the diplomatic turmoil caused by a Chinese dissident who took shelter in the U.S. Embassy. Mitt, not known for foreign policy insights,  said that if what he heard was true, it was “a dark day for freedom.”  He was not clear on what he had heard or from whom—his top foreign policy advisor was gone. He said that he had heard that they “probably or may have sped up the process.”  That nuanced distinction between probably and  “may have” is at the heart of Mittville. In other words he had no idea what was going on but if it turned out to be bad he was probably against it.

            According to pollsters Mitt is well-liked among the much sought after “independent” voters. I can understand people who don’t vote or choose a third party. And I understand the Republicans who are ashamed to admit it.  And there are those who just don’t want to join a party. But most of them are the swing voters , the ones who decide elections because some years they vote for Republicans and some years they vote for Democrats. 

It is time to blurt out what we are all thinking. Who the hell are these morons? Given the polarization of American politics, the difference between Republicans and Democrats is so stark that I have to wonder what kind of an imbecile would have trouble choosing between them.  Are they just people who can’t make up their mind about anything?  Are they people who don’t pay attention enough to understand the difference?  Or—wait a minute—are they people with absolutely no thoughts or convictions. Are they in fact people just like Mitt Romney?

            So isn’t Mitt Romney just the perfect candidate?  President Romney won’t do what you don’t like or at least he can be counted on to do what is not like what you don’t like. Either that or to not do it.  Or to not not do it but also do it in a not too done way.

            If what I have heard is true this may be or probably will be a dark day for freedom.