But Is Romney as Good as He Sounds and Looks?
Dick Morris, Fox TV flack and political prognosticator, has praised Mitt Romney as being "Reaganesque." Fact is, he's hardly Reaganesque, except in the looks department.
Romney is, however, every central casting director's dream to play a handsome WASP president. Ironically, many GOP Christian fundamentalists still question his religious bona fides. They consider Mormonism a sect far outside mainstream Protestantism.
Squeaky-clean Romney gladly accepts praise from the sleazy Morris - who, when doing political scheming for Bill Clinton, operated from a D.C. hotel while serviced by convenient hookers.
Morris' "Reaganesque" appellation is way off. Romney is 10 times smarter than Reagan ever was, but he unfortunately lacks the Gipper's ability to inspire voters. Well educated, Romney never took Communication 101 or Excitement Generation 102. He can't motivate a crowd the way Ronnie could.
Romney, unlike Reagan, has great personal wealth earned as a business consultant and buyer and seller of companies. Romney doesn't require 3-by-5 dummy cards like Reagan; Mitt's got it all inside his head. His academic credentials include exclusive Cranbrook School, Brigham Young, and MBA and law degrees from Harvard.
The smart money usually favors candidates with brains. But in a Tea Party-dominated GOP environment, that's no longer the case. Were smarts the contemporary determinate, Romney should be a shoo-in at the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire's primary.
But when John McCain put the clueless Sarah Palin on his ticket, he demonstrated that intellectual prowess could be abandoned for so-called "charisma." The Republican Party, which had given America highly intelligent presidents like Lincoln, Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, Hoover and Nixon, proved it would gladly settle for far less.
Romney is not having an easy time of it. Blowhard Rush Limbaugh can't stand him. Limbaugh's crowd condemns as "socialist" Romney's Massachusetts version of "Obamacare" and rejects Romney's acknowledgement that global warming is real. Women don't trust Mitt on the abortion issue because he's been enthusiastically pro-choice and pro-life.
In this Great Recession, Romney's pitch is that he created jobs as CEO of Bain Capital. Analysis of his Bain achievements shows that companies acquired by Romney cut thousands of jobs and several declared bankruptcy.
"Throughout his 15-year career at Bain he had chances to save jobs but didn't," The Boston Globe wrote. "Romney claims he helped create thousands of jobs. But job growth was never a priority."
If nominated, he'll be pummeled by TV advertising in which employees of many companies he took over while head of Bain Capital tell of their experiences when Romney repeatedly fired people yet personally prospered. His personal gains ran into the hundreds of millions while corporate workers lost jobs and companies were bankrupted.
A typical Bain acquisition was Ampad (acquired for $5 million in 1992). Two years later, the company bought a factory in Marion, Ind. Romney's new management team dismissed about 2,000 workers, slashed salaries and hired strikebreakers after the union called a walkout.
In 1994, Ampad workers who had been dismissed drove to Massachusetts to campaign against Romney when he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy. Ampad workers described how Romney took good jobs with benefits and created in their stead low-wage, part-time, no-benefit jobs.
TV commercials also dramatized what happened when Romney bought SCM in Marion, Ind. All 350 workers at SCM's plant were laid off, then offered their jobs back at significantly reduced wages. They went on strike. The ads featured workers who denounced Romney for lining his pockets at their expense.
One woman told the viewers, "I'd like to say to the workers of Massachusetts, if you think it can't happen to you, think again, because we thought it couldn't happen here either." Romney soon nosedived in the polls and lost to Kennedy.
If Mitt is the GOP standard bearer, similar commercials will air, along with persistent reminders that he strongly opposed Obama's government -rescue of the auto industry. Romney, whose father ironically ran American Motors, had -recommended that the ailing U.S. auto companies declare -bankruptcy. Organized labor will powerfully oppose him at a time when the GOP is trying to weaken unions across the country.
Paul R. Dunn lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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