10 May 2012


Make no mistake about it, we have all just witnessed a deft wedge driven home on the national political stage. It has to do with timing, seeing the opponent's vulnerability, and delivering a devastating PR blow while, at the same time, bolstering one's own bona fides.

Last week, Willard "Mitt" Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States, kowtowed to a right-wing, nominally christian, radio preacher and refused to stand up for his own chosen foreign policy spokesman because the spokesman was an openly gay man. The spokesman resigned under pressure, and Romney said nothing—presumably out of fear of challenging his outspoken right-wing christian base of support.

Then, on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, Vice President Joe Biden floated a trial balloon, asserting that he had no problems with marriages between homosexual men or homosexual women. The next day, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, a former college and professional basketball player, also voiced his support for marriage equality.

Claiming sotto voce he was forced into it by VP Biden's freely speaking his heart, on Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced he has "evolved" on this issue and now recognizes marriage as a civil right to which all, gay and straight, are equally entitled.

Now today, YF Washington Post runs an on-line story in which, with five confirmed witnesses, it is alleged that Mitt Romney physically assaulted a fellow high school student because the boy bleached his hair and wore it combed over one eye and was believed to be gay, or "queer" in the parlance of that time. Romney led a group, a "prep school posse", wrestled the boy to the ground, held him down, and cut his hair with a pair of scissors while the younger boy screamed for help and cried.

Romney claims he doesn't recall this or any of the "pranks" he may have pulled when he was in school over four decades ago. Some have called it "bullying". Others have called it everything from "assault and battery with a deadly weapon" to a "hate crime".

Romney apologized for anything he might have said that hurt anyone. (The victim of the assault is now dead and can't speak for himself.) He claims no one in those days knew anything about "the GAY".

Doesn't matter. The Obama campaign has succeeded in tying Romney to the intolerant American Taliban, in solidifying his own credibility in the LGBT community, and tagging Romney as an insensitive bullying bigot who, to this day, refuses to acknowledge the impropriety of this behavior. Rmoney himself fell into this last trap by claiming not to remember such a horrific, callous incident (even though everyone else involved, even peripherally, did remember it and was disturbed by it) and by failing to renounce bully-boy bigotry in this day and age.

Even though Romney doesn't remember doing such a thing, he does recall that no one thought about the victim's sexual preference at the time. Simply incongruous.

This was a deft political operation. Of that there can be no doubt. Much of the nation's politically astute were focused on North Carolina's Amendment 1 which bans gay marriage (inter alia). President Obama says he believes marriage is a civil (not a religious) right and cannot be denied by the state to same-sex couples. Romney, by contrast, is demonstrably not only against gay marriage, but, as demonstrated by his past behavior, he's a bigoted gay-bashing bully who is entirely callous to the rights of others. This is the last big news cycle before graduation days and Memorial Day. It will be the lingering taste of the campaign over the summer and until the conventions.

One can only imagine what other pieces of political theater this President's political team have in store for us after Labor Day.


Randal Graves said...

Oh, I get it, you rail against bullying, but you support the wedgie. Talk about your mexed missages, you're not getting my vote, sir!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The name of the shark is Wall Street.

They're going to win either way, and we're all going to keep losing.

Jim H. said...

@RG: why? b/c there's no pictures?

@if: the greenwald pov on ws is consistent. it's hard to put ws in a single box b/c it's so competitive. look at what happened to jpmorgan today. look at the demise of dewey leboeuf (full disclosure: the successor of my former law firm). goldman took a big hit after '08. i've known a number of people who work at the sec and cftc and one thing's for sure, Congress refuses to fund their enforcement organs. look at the bernie madoff mess, even when they were looking right at him, he was able to pull the wool over their eyes. yea, they might've been in the tank hoping for that post-gov't job... it's such a big mess. augean, if you will. i believe a big problem was overturning/repeal Glass-Steagal. but i go on. point is: it's not simple. there has to be crime, there has to be proof, there has to be investigation, enforcement, AND there has to be no defense. the laws are such that there's so much wiggle room. i don't see how that can all be laid at o's or holder's step.

Frances Madeson said...

I view this so differently. At the same time Obama supports same-sex marriage, his administration is reneging on education benefits to vets. These look to me like more incendiary measures to utz America toward ending the republic via a military coup. I'm thinking of writing my perspective up in a wee book to be titled: Cassandra's Tale, First as Tragedy Then As Farce!

Jim H. said...

@FM: Do you feel this slide is inevitable? Is O setting himself up to be ousted?

I'm not sure any coup will be so overt. The coup, if and when it happens, will be covert and corporatist.