I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a Republican. I believe in small government. I believe in fair taxation. I support free market capitalism. But what is being passed off as Republican these days makes it difficult and almost embarrassing to be identified as Republican. No single thing bothers me, but I do have to say that what frustrates me the most is the obstructionist tactic that the Republican party has taken that really isn’t governing at all. This is NOT the kind of Republicanism that I signed up for. Then to top it off, the only viable presidential candidate that the Republican Party has is Mitt Romney, a man of privilege whose views of the world are far-removed from the majority of people he represents.
This morning, I shook my head yet again about Mitt Romney when I read an article on FactCheck.org entitled, “Romney’s ‘Racist’ Reference to Palestinian Culture.” In a speech Romney made in Jerusalem, he made the following comments:
“But then there was a book written by a former Harvard professor named “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.” And in this book Dr. Landes describes differences that have existed — particularly among the great civilizations that grew and why they grew and why they became great and those that declined and why they declined. And after about 500 pages of this lifelong analysis — this had been his study for his entire life — and he’s in his early 70s at this point, he says this, he says, if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: Culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”
That was immediately interpreted as being racist by Palestinian authorities. But to me, that statement was further affirmation of Romney being completely out of touch with the middle class. How? To me, that philosophy could be used to rationalize his favor towards the upper 2% of the country, a group of which he is part, if and when he gains the presidency. It’s clear that the rich and and middle class operate within completely different micro-cultures of American society. Will Mitt use Landes’ culture argument to justify the “success” of the rich? Will he use that argument so that he can push legislation that allows the rich to continue to pay vastly lower tax rates than the rest of the country? I understand that I could just be howling at the moon here, but statements like what he made in Jerusalem make me even more distrustful of this candidate.
At the very least, it’s a philosophy that I just can’t buy into. At worst, it’s an opinion of someone who is completely out of touch with reality, and doesn’t operate from the facts. The article points out some important facts regarding this and used the following excerpt from the New York Times:
In the West Bank, according to the C.I.A. World Factbook, “Israeli closure policies continue to disrupt labor and trade flows, industrial capacity, and basic commerce, eroding the productive capacity” of the economy.
In Gaza, the C.I.A. says, Israeli-imposed border closings “have resulted in high unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and the near collapse of the private sector that had relied on export markets.” The agency added that “changes to Israeli restrictions on imports in 2010 resulted in a rebound in some economic activity, but regular exports from Gaza still are not permitted.”
For Mitt Romney to use culture as a reason for Israel’s and Palestine’s economic disparity – being either ignorant of or simply ignoring the facts – does not instill any confidence in me that he would be effective at governing our nation.
With respect to this election year, the fact that the overshadowing message among Republicans is simply to “beat Obama,” I have an important question: What are you going to do once you beat the guy? Very little has been said regarding positive actions towards improving the economy and education. The rhetoric has all been about reversing what Obama has done. I, for one, want to get an idea of Mitt Romney actually stands for. And until I do, he will NOT have my vote.