Free stuff

Taibbi on Romney’s NAACP speech:

So Romney did that, and then the next night he went to Montana and he discussed the experience in front of a friendlier audience. And this is what he said:

When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy, I didn’t get the same response. That’s O.K, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine…

But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff.

So now this is the message: I tried to reason with the blacks, I really did, but it turns out they just want a free lunch.

How’s that for bridging the racial divide? Time to wake up the Nobel committee in Oslo!

As far as free lunches go, we of course just witnessed the biggest government handout in history, one that Romney himself endorsed. Four and a half trillion dollars in bailout money already disbursed, trillions more still at risk in guarantees and loans, sixteen trillion dollars in emergency lending from the Federal Reserve, two trillion in quantitative easing, etc. etc. All of this money went to Romney’s pals in the Wall Street banks that for years helped Romney take over companies with mountains of borrowed cash. Now, after these banks crashed, executives at those same firms used those public funds to pay themselves massive salaries, which is exactly the opposite of “helping those who need help,” if you’re keeping score.

That set of facts alone made the “free stuff” speech shockingly offensive. But the problem isn’t just that Romney’s wrong, and a hypocrite, and cynically furthering dangerous and irresponsible stereotypes in order to advance some harebrained electoral ploy involving white conservative voters. What makes it gross is the way he did it.

Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all. Someone like Jesse Helms at least had a genuine emotional connection with his crazy-mean-stupid audiences. But Mitt Romney has to think his way to the lowest common denominator, which is somehow so much worse.

Most presidents have something under the hood – wit, warmth, approachability, something. Even the most liberal football fan could enjoy watching an NFL game with George Bush. And even a Klansman probably would have found some of LBJ’s jokes funny. The biggest office in the world requires someone who buzzes with enough personality to fill the job, and most of them have it.

But Romney doesn’t buzz with anything. His vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations. He’s like a teenager who stays up all night thinking of a way to improbably what made him a great leveraged buyout specialist, but in a public figure? Man, is he a disaster. It’s really incredible theater, watching the Republicans talk themselves into this guy.

Taibbi really nails the guy – and the Republicans who support him, because there simply is no “there” there. He’s just a money-making hologram.

See, it’s never been difficult to get rich in America if you’re lacking in scruples and willing to break rules. If there’s one thing the 1% has in common, it’s their willingness to make their own rules – because they’re special, you see. (Including, of course, the ones who inherited their wealth and simply have to maintain it.)

Those of us who are hampered by middle-class values like honesty and integrity may not be rich, but we’re usually smarter – and a lot more fun.

11 thoughts on “Free stuff

  1. Yeah, so who CAN this really ignorant motherfucker relate to in the electorate? I suspect that even low income, low information white folks can see that Romney has no soul, “no core”, as the Obama people put it.

    Furthermore, he has no idea how stupid he appears to black folks and whites with any degree of humanity. It’s bad enough what he said at the NAACP convention, but a thousand times worse that he’d publicly make the “free stuff” comment AFTER he gets in the company of Cheney, What a scum-of-the-earth asshole he is!

    And btw, being from Michigan I recall his dad’s years as Govenor. As Biden said, “This ain’t your daddy’s republican party”. Makes me wonder if Willard was some sort of “alien mistake” flown in from another unearthly galaxy, or something.

  2. If 1% of the population didn’t own 40% of the wealth there would be no need for the poorest 40% of the population which owns 10% of the wealth to get “free stuff.” “Free stuff” like food, housing, clothing, and health care. Something is very wrong with the minds of the plutocrats who run America.

  3. “Free Stuff” like $400,000 from Bain in salary for doing absolutely nothing, as he claimed?

  4. Snarki: You have missed the mark with that $400,000 figure so wide low it would floor you! That’s why we can’t see the tax returns. Except for the craven racism, Matt T. misses the BIG irony of this issue as well. The evidence of a massive, across the board accounting fix in the financial markets is just piling up. Libor is a small piece. One of these exotic hedges against all this risk will implode and immediately put the investment banks under. No matter how dire the circumstances, Obama could never cobble together another bail out. It is politically impossible both within his party and with the opportunistic Republican opposition. Mitt could still take the Republicans behind closed doors and put together a package under bribery and threat. There is the reason Wall Street has changed horses this time around. They know the books are cooked and that they will be back for more.

  5. Having a 15% top tax rate on unearned income while working class schmucks can easily pay %50 is “free stuff”, too.

  6. romney’s job in the election is to be as invisible as possible (which he and his team are generally failing at so far) so racism can take its course.

  7. Well, I liked this article, and I love reading Taibbi when I can (I’m in Thailand and someone prevents me from accessing, but there’s some sort of disconnect here. I agree completely that I see the Romneybot 2.0 as soulless, mechanical, and dishonest. Unfortunately, nearly half my fellow citizens say they are going to vote for him. What’s wrong with this picture? I used to be a Goldwater conservative; at the time I was able to ignore his followers’ racism. Since then I’ve stayed pretty much the same, but the Overton window has shifted so far right that I’m now a Revolutionary Socialist. The Republican Party as it now exists must be destroyed. Every Republican now in Congress must be voted out of office and, preferably, put in jail. That’s not going to happen until we can find out WHY half the people in the U.S. have become insane. Is Frank Luntz really the only pollster who is able to figure out what words move people’s emotions? Why are people equating the teaching of evolution with helping black people? And why are they so dead set against helping poor people no matter what their color? When I was a kid and friends came to visit my parents I heard, “Why don’t you stay for supper? We can put a little more water in the soup.” What happened to that spirit?

  8. Now that we have 24/7 right wing news, such compassionate impulses have been educated out of them. They now see it as “weakness.”

  9. The Republican Party should change their “elephant” party symbol to a “wooly mammoth” or better yet, a dinosaur. Both would fit the party and its ideas better.

  10. My medical background has tapped into an amazing statistic: A significant percentage of conservatives were toilet-trained at gunpoint and are highly anal-retentive. This helps to explain their open-ended greed and they do not play well with others. In golf they improve lies, and in tennis they make bad line calls in their favor.

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