We Are the Dog on Top of the Car

Courtesy MoveOn.org

Some rather enterprising individuals have taken to following the Mitt Romney campaign bus around in A Cadillac Esplenade (in a nod towards Ann Romney) complete with sponsor stickers on the side and with one special feature: a fake dog strapped to the roof. It’s an hommage to Seamus, the late Irish Setter that belonged to the Romney family that Mitt put in a kennel and tied to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive to Canada. The now infamous story that Romney originally intended as a humourous anecdote had the unintended consequence of sparking outrage among animal rights advocates.

When asked later if he regretted sharing the story Mitt responded that he probably wouldn’t have told the story because of the negative publicity. Not the welfare of Seamus, but how the publicity made Mitt look bad. This is just one of many examples that are indicative of how Mitt Romney would govern as President.

Willard M. Romney has a whole host of negatives as a candidate. His record as a job cremator at Bain Capital. His record as Governor of Massachusetts where he was 47th in job creation in the nation (and even then only because Louisiana was under water from Katrina), his offshoring of money in bank accounts in countries with lax tax laws but tight non-disclosure laws. The list keeps growing. More recently, Mitt been caught in a lie about his tenure at Bain. He claims he left the company in February of 1999 to go manage the 2002 Olympics in Utah. But documentation has arisen that indicates otherwise. He is listed as CEO and primary shareholder of Bain Capital through 2002 and received a $100,000 a year salary during those years. This raises the question: what is it that happened at Bain during those years that Mitt doesn’t want known? Mitt has also refused to release his tax returns before 2010 (his 2011 return is also still pending and may not be done before the election). The fact that other Presidential candidates have provided theirs, including his father George Romney when he ran for president in 1968, would seem to indicate he has something to hide there as well.

The Romney camp repeatedly says everything about Mitt’s finances is legal. But that’s not really the point. The primary reason that people have offshore accounts (and Mitt is the first person running for president to do so) is to evade taxes. We already learned from his 2010 tax return that he and his wife paid a 13.9% tax rate, more than half that of most Americans. This was largely due to the fact that most of the Romney’s money is in the form of capital gains. So while legal, the ethics of a multi-millionaire paying such a reduced rate doesn’t sit well with working class Americans given the manner in which that money was earned.

But there are other troubling things about Mitt Romney that occurred in his past. The Bullying incident at his prep school where he organized a gang of his friends to physically pin down a suspected gay student with an unusual hairstyle of the time and cut his hair off while the student was screaming for help. This would likely constitute an assault today but Romney shrugs it off as a youthful indiscretion. In an attempt to head reports of the incident off, Ann Romney came out before the article regarding the bullying and defended Romney saying he was quite the prankster back then.

Mitt Romney’s behaviour and actions today still have questionable implications as to how he would handle the presidency. His decisions at the equity firm he started (or was started for him to run) are the single most alarming indicator. Bain Capital financed several companies, some successful and some not. But regardless of their success or failure, Bain always made money. Governor Rick Perry called Romney a ‘vulture capitalist’ accusing Bain of larding companies with debt then taking their fee and forcing the companies into bankruptcy while leaving a trail of lost jobs and pensions. The most damning testimonial is from a man who was asked to build a platform at his factory not knowing its purpose. Then, with the indifference of casual Gods, Bain used the stage to tell everyone that the factory was shutting down and everyone was losing their jobs. This added insult to injury because the  gentleman said it was like he was building his own coffin.

There are other telling signs. During a debate Rick Perry once again pointed out that Romney had employed illegal immigrants to do his yard work. Romney defended himself by saying that when he discovered the contractor was using illegals he discontinued their use saying, “I can’t have illegals working here. I’m running for office for Pete’s sake!”. Like the incident with the dog on the car, Romney was more interested in how it affected him and not that hiring illegals was wrong.

Romney repeatedly says he has policy plans yet he is reluctant to divulge the details. His only plan so far seems to be that Obama is a failure and he’ll be a better president. He does endorse the Ryan economic plan which is just tax breaks for the wealthy and paying for them by dismantling the social safety nets that many Americans, both conservative and liberal rely upon.

But the one most compelling argument that no one in the media will point out; Mitt Romney is the guy who lost to John McCain who lost to Obama in 2008. If Mitt was the wrong choice against John McCain, how is it that, with the exact same message, has he suddenly become a better candidate? Did he take night classes on how to be presidential?Yet even in light of all this evidence that Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch, elite, Gordon Gekko corporate raiding, job outsourcing, say anything he thinks you want to hear, stretch the truth until it breaks, Etch-a-Sketch bully who cares nothing about regular Americans and only about maximizing profits at the expense of others for himself and the uber-rich corporate fat cats on Wall Street; much of conservative America is poised to vote for him.

When vetting a candidate for office, people look not only at the resume but they look at the character of the candidate. We heard all manner of unsuccessful attempts to discredit President Obama with character flaws through guilt by association; Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, etc. But these were indirect associations that did little to prove that the President lacked the personal qualities required to hold the office. Mitt Romney’s words and actions betray a direct mirror of his character and yet we’re asked to ignore that as youthful indiscretion or momentary bad judgement. But they are not momentary lapses of reason. They are indicative of how Mitt Romney thinks. They are indicative of his priorities.

President Obama has pointed out that being president isn’t like running a business. You just can’t outsource the Department of Education or lay off New Jersey if it isn’t turning a profit. Your shareholders are all Americans. Not just the lucky ones who own stock (or land; as in landed gentry). Mitt Romney has demonstrated repeatedly over the course of his life that the decisions he makes will benefit he and his shareholders before all others.

The dog on the roof incident may seem like a footnote to the whole campaign but it foreshadows just what is in Mitt Romney’s soul. What will it take for his supporters to recognize that they (and the rest of Americans who aren’t voting for him) are the dog on top of the car?


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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