Monday, October 29, 2012

Through an Endorsement Darkly

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has found its way to endorsing the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, for president. That news probably comes as no surprise to most of those familiar with the consistent tone and purpose of the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial page over the last several decades. 

The editorial which was published on Sun., Oct. 28, begins this way:
The tone of the 2012 campaign might best be captured by the need to begin with an emphasis on what the Republican candidate will not do. Mitt Romney will not raise taxes on the middle class. He will not destroy Medicare. And he will not lie to the American people every time he opens his mouth.
The obvious implication being that Barack Obama has done/is doing these things. Of course, those thinly-veiled accusations have been borrowed from the most partisan of rightwing poppycock -- the sort of Obama-bashing rhetoric easily available on talk radio.

So, it’s hard to be persuaded by an essay that shyly parrots the sloganeering of hacks who laugh at the poor suckers who buy their brand of shinola.    

Later the same editorial says: 
In the service of accuracy, let's look at the generally straightforward proposals and philosophy espoused by Romney, who strikes us as both more earnest and more accomplished than your average presidential candidate.
Well, the newspaper isn’t exactly setting the bar all that high, when it comes to earnestness. Have you ever heard anyone say, "Yes, that's an earnest group of presidential hopefuls"?

OK, Romney, who oozes artificiality, does come off as somewhat more sincere than Herman Cain or Sarah Palin, but Romney is nowhere near as funny as either of them. And, almost anyone might be seen as more sincere than Newt Gingrich.

However, when someone tells me I should put a lot of trust in a person, because they are “generally straightforward,” I usually check to make sure I still have my wallet.

So, at this point I have to ask the author(s) of the piece, if they are so keen on Romney, why did they load it up with weasel words? So much so, the endorsement itself reeks of insincerity.

Seeing Romney as “accomplished,” is less of a stretch, in a generic sense. Yes, he has some noteworthy accomplishments. Whether one should take from his record in business and as governor that he would make a good president is debatable.

The notion that a high-powered businessman is what this country needs to turn around the economy can be supported by history. The last presidential candidate to run primarily on his wild success in business was Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928. The economy certainly did change directions during his one term in office. Cleaning up the mess that was the Great Depression took a few years for the Democrat who followed Hoover. 

With how Romney has shifted his positions, when he tries to obscure and explain away bothersome aspects about his business and political past -- no tax returns! Romneycare! abortion! -- there’s just no way the shape-shifting son of a governor inspires trust in a prudent person’s mind.

This endorsement is what anti-liberals and Obama-haters need to throw a cloak over the truth: They don’t like Romney, either, but they pray they can live with him ... easier than they did with Bush II.

This sort of conservative philosophy is only about having the power. And, it’s backward. Which, in some ways, makes the choice for president on Election Day a matter of direction.

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