“We need a president who has a business background, and Mitt Romney’s business background is tremendous,” Michael Larson, 55, a salesman and independent voter from Minneapolis, said Wednesday in a follow-up interview. “He has a vision that will bring the country back to economic strength.”
“I want to give the business guy a chance,” said Craig Lemoine, 47, a Republican from Las Vegas who drives a U.P.S. truck. “No one wants to put the C.E.O. in there. Everyone thinks he’ll just make the rich people richer and the poor people poorer. But how do you know if you don’t give him a chance?”
Well, here’s a suggestion, you might try leafing through his budget proposals to see if President Romney will make rich people richer and poor people poorer, I dunno. I’m no psychic, but I will make the following bold prediction: UPS drivers won’t be getting richer in the Romney years.
This, from a different source, is perhaps even more depressing:
Yesterday Politico broke the news that Mitt Romney’s planned $12 million expansion for his oceanfront property in San Diego, California included “car elevators” for his four-car garage. The news is being used to again portray the Republican Presidential front-runner as being “out of touch” and “unable to connect” with the working man. That’s ridiculous. The truth is the working man probably thinks car elevators are awesome. Because they are. But it’s unfair to say that Romney’s “out of touch” with average folks for wanting a car lift. Frankly, I think most average folks would want a car lift if they had the money to pay for them.Who wouldn’t want more space in their garage? Hmmm, maybe people who don’t have garages since their homes were foreclosed on? Maybe people who don’t have homes, cars, garages, or jobs, or anything else since hard working outfits like Bain Capital rolled through town? Just tossing that out there.
That’s because they’re cool and they give you more room to store cars. I mean, come on — who wouldn’t want more space in their garage?
The trouble is, the last guy is right. Your average middle-age male shlub won’t put Mitt’s gaudy over- consumption into any meaningful context. He won’t question why a presidential candidate is building a car elevator in his mansion while the country is in a recession and he, our average middle-age shlub, is sinking inexorably into poverty. Instead he’ll be dazzled by the shiny new toy in Mitt’s garage and say, “Cool! I wish I could have one of those.”
I know many, many, many people (and many more after that) who think exactly like those quoted above. Decent, honest, regular blue-collar types who work hard, take care of their kids, play by the rules, and get shit on all of their lives. To the extent that they are political at all, they are reflexively conservative. They will go to their graves thinking that government waste is at the root of our economic problems, government employees are lazy and incompetent parasites, and illegal aliens are stealing our jobs. They may have liberal-ish views on any given topic, but as a general rule Republican rhetoric falls very softly on their ears.
More disturbing, I think, is that it’s impossible to argue them out of any of their positions. Conservative soundbites have become the densely compact sediment at the base of their brains, the bedrock, as it were, that produces all the rough gravel that crumbles out as a result. Nothing you or I can say will change that. Attempting to do so only gives you high blood pressure or, as I’ve learned on a couple of occasions, gets you perilously close to a fist fight (racists don’t want to hear that Mexicans are victims of the system just as much as the rest of us. No, they don’t want to hear that at all).
It’s not an exercise in futility. It is futility, personified and made flesh in all of its gray hopelessness. Let’s knock each other’s teeth out while Mitt Romney goes to the bank and laughs at us both.
These are people at the bottom of the information chain, the people whose views are composed of random, contradictory snatches of information that they’ve picked up through mainstream news sources in ten minute increments. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan know that if they scream about deficits long and loud enough, it will filter down to the peasants, artisans, and servants in exactly the manner they want. It’s the same with tax cuts. The lumbering beast of the people hears the term “tax cuts” and thinks, “Oh, goody, more money for me!” oblivious to the fact that any little pittance of a refund they get is going to be immediately devoured by the bigger players in our economy, and that this is not an accident.
I bring this up because there is a definite movement afoot to make Mitt Romney mainstream, or at least palatable to the mainstream. We’re already hearing, ad nauseam, about the last Gallup poll showing that Mitt and Obama are running in a “statistical dead heat” and that Mitt is “shoring up the base.” The media is going to twist and distort things in any way they can to ensure the election becomes a horse race. Mix that with the thinking of the people mentioned above, and we run the very real risk of having Romney in the White House. That’s another way of saying that we run the very real risk of having plutocracy permanently institutionalized in this country.