By Saul Landau
Six grueling months remain until the November election. “Dogs for Romney: Brisk Head Winds Build Character” and “Dogs Against Romney: Pat Us, Don’t Strap Us To The Car Roof” bumper stickers may well highlight the campaign publicity.
Imagine a heavyweight fight announcer introducing the contenders at the debate!
Don Funfry: On the center right of the ring stands President Barack Obama, a former Constitutional lawyer who has had to sacrifice his immense learning of the law to run the U.S. empire for four years, and keep the large corporations and humongous banks as the means and ends of major U.S. policy. Republican opponents have knocked him down, but never out. In fact, after taking grueling punishment, he’s smiled and asked his snarling opponents: “You guys feel better now?”
If he wins this contest, he promises to retain the Environmental Protection Agency and not fill it with only frackers and drillers. His fighting tactic? Elusiveness. Fly Like A Butterfly. But can he sting like a bee? He promises not to place on the federal bench those who only hit with their right hands or appoint right-to-work advocates to the National Labor Relations Board. He’s never been cruel to animals, knows how to carry a tune, and has a wife fighting obesity – not her own.
The ultra right challenger, who worked himself up from lots of wealth to even more wealth, once called a moderate in the ring, took heavy blows in the primary bouts leading up to the big match. He suffered serious amnesia, and doesn’t remember he was once governor of Massachusetts, where he backed choice for women and formulated a government health plan.
Mitt “Mr. Insincerity” Romney comes to this contest with a unique life style, an elevator for his car, and a rope atop of his car for his dog. He wants every American to stand tall, so he can reduce government while he simultaneously expands its armed forces capabilities. He salivates over the prospect of fighting those menacing Persians alongside his Israeli buddy Battling Ben Netanyahou who must overcome enormous moral and ethical hurdles to continue with his settlement policy on Palestinian land.
We now turn the program over to Howard Gosell for an in depth look at the challenger.
Gosell: Obama’s supporters in this fight claim he has done the best he could, although others no longer in his corner have begun to buy the new candy with his picture on the box: Disappoint-Mints.
For Obama to win, he might have to drop George W. Bush’s strategy: bail out the bankers and screw the homeowners they bilked.
Romney, however, would tell the foreclosed to go screw themselves: “you bought the stupid mortgage; you’re stuck with it.”
His right-wing rooters want less government – except in the military. Their Congressional representatives believe the poor had their chance last century and blew it. Now they’ll get what’s coming to them.
A Republican bill on the House floor last week will cut billions of dollars from the prevention and public health fund in Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the fund helping women receive preventative health care for breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings and cuts unnecessary medical costs to them and to taxpayers. The fund also supports community health centers, provides child immunizations, and helps children with birth defects.
The Republican tough guy thinks cutting health choices for women and kids builds character.
The Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee formulated a bill to make it more difficult for thousands of poor families to get subsidies to buy health insurance. The Republicans cut almost $17 billion from foster care and child and elder abuse prevention programs, plus slashed the budget for “Meals on Wheels” (for old timers who can’t leave their homes) and for child care. These guys are tough!
You want to see a tough guy? While running Bain Capital since 1984, Mitt learned how to flip companies “creative destruction.” Efficiency demands the new constantly attack the old, even if it means destroying some in the process, according to reporter Pete Kotz.
“Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney” and partners big dividends.
“Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines, and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck,” wrote Kotz, “they’d be able to dump the firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it.”
Success didn’t matter since Mitt “was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed,” said Kotz.
In 1994, American Pad & Paper, a Romney company, bought a plant in Marion, Indiana that ran three shifts. Bain fired “all 258 workers, then invite[d] them to reapply for their jobs at lower wages and a 50 percent cut in health-care benefits.”
“They came in and said, ‘You’re all fired,’ ” employee Randy Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. ” ‘If you want to work for us, here’s an application.’ We had insurance until the end of the week. That was it. It was brutal.”
The Wall Street Journal reviewed 77 investments made under Romney’s direction. Nearly one in three “experienced severe financial trouble. One in five wound up in bankruptcy.” He’s tough. He destroyed four of his ten biggest moneymakers. The bankruptcy judges cleaned up the mess. (Kotz, Broward Palm Beach New Times, Apr 19 2012)
In November we’ll see if Obama can compete with that kind of fighting experience.
Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP and FIDEL are distributed by Cinema Libre Studio. He’s an Institute for Policy Studies fellow.