Mitt and the Simian ScatologistsWhen Republican Presidential hopeful "Mittens" Romney threw his hat into the ring last week he made his announcement at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Unfortunately, it turns out ole Henry was a racist so Mitt was covered by the guano hitting the fan. The anti-Mittens crowd immediately piled on and dubbed him guilty of racism by association.
Mitt explained that he meant no harm in choosing the museum venue. He simply wanted to use Ford as an example of the type of creative dynamism he believes the country needs. He also reiterated that he's not now, nor has he ever been a racist - a defense that appears to be true. You can rightfully criticize his policy positions - I do - but there's no solid evidence that Mittens is anything more nefarious than a blow-dried, bumbling politician. If we extended the logic of his attackers, no one should visit Mount Vernon - where the original George W. kept his slaves - or Monticello where Tom Jefferson kept his. Further, tributes to a Nazi-sympathizing Charles Lindberg should be revoked and half the members of the British royal family should vacation in shackles in the Tower of London for their Soviet and Nazi sympathies during WWII.
Everyone Has a Past
Everyone has a past and nearly all of us carries some ill-considered decision that would certainly be blown out of proportion during the heat of a campaign. That's why they call it attack politics and none of would think it fair if we were victims.
Was Henry Ford a racist? Undoubtedly so.
Did he accomplish many things that improved the lives of workers (including Jews, blacks, et al). No one could argue that.
As inexcusable as Flivver Ford's racism was, he did good along with his bad and there's absolutely no reason why Mitt Romney should be tarred by the runoff from Henry's backward beliefs.
Mittengate a Hate-Filled Mudfest
Mittengate is a prime example of how politics has turned into a hate-filled mudfest that discourages quality candidates from campaigning for office. Each election cycle I think, "we have 300 million people in this country and the best we can do is this rabble of jackasses?" At least part of the answer is in this fable of Mitt. He made a decision that had absolutely no bearing on himself or the supposed legion of the offended. It was a decision that quite a few of us would innocently make in similar circumstances. He paid the price with accusations about his character, mud-splattered clothes, and a wasted campaign event at a place visited by millions of regular, non-racist citizens each year.
If that's a "mistake" what the hell should we call our current Pud-in-Chief's decisions? His have been demonstrably bad and yet he remains in office.
The "gotcha" mentality runs wide and obscenely deep in this political season. We've become a nation of people so focused on the molecular structure of the trees that we can no longer find the hemisphere where the forest lies. Our winners are no longer the best candidates for the job, they are the ones who emerge with the least amount of feces - real and imagined - clinging to them.
A Belly Full of Simian Scatologists
Members of both parties and mud-slingers and slingees alike say the politics of personal destruction must stop. They are correct, if not a little disingenuous. They practice the fine art of turd flinging for only one reason - it works.
We the electorate need to stop it. We need to stop listening to, and engaging in, these sorts of petty non-incidents. We need to evaluate candidates on the full breadth of their platforms and not just the litmus of single wedge issues. We need to stop looking at candidates through the lens of a single-party affiliation. And we need to hold them responsible for the type of boorish behavior Mitt experienced. Campaigns should be noble things where ideas are openly and honestly debated, not places where every candidate's decision can turn into a bludgeon with which to beat them. It's one thing to disagree with a candidate's position, it's quite another to beat them about the head and face with manufactured gotcha's that mean nothing to the political process.
If we don't do these things, we'll be doomed to live in a country governed by turd flinging apes. And I don't know about you, but I've had my belly full of these simian scatologists.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, February 20, 2007