The Romney Files, Part II

To follow up on my earlier post with a number of pieces about the Republican nominee for President, here are some more of the thoughts that have previously appeared in this space.

I worked one of my favorite writing topics, the music of Bruce Springsteen, into a post that appeared in early August. To the surprise of no one, Obama has since received the Springsteen endorsement.

When Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, they got into some trouble with musicians who weren’t willing to lend their music to the Romney campaign. I wrote this piece near the end of August.

I found myself in Florida at the same time that the Republican convention was gearing up, and I came face to face with a gated community. Of course, I wrote my thoughts on this matter and put them in this space.

I also found an assertion of the “You didn’t build that” theme when I was in Florida. It wasn’t long after I returned home that I poked some holes in that argument.

I stayed away from politics for the rest of September, but as October rolled around, that began to change. It started with a discussion of the circumstances surrounding Romney’s run-in with the law back in 1981.

Romney’s promise to cut off funding for PBS in the first Presidential debate sure caught my attention. This is the type of message that I write this blog for.

A Doonesbury cartoon about Romney spending time in France during the Vietnam war inspired this personal reflection.

The second Presidential debate wasn’t really going to change anyone’s mind about who to vote for, but it did get me thinking about pizza.

Early voting starts soon, and election day itself is almost here. I won’t miss writing about any of these topics, either.

The Romney Files, Part I

As the election draws near, there seems to be a frenzy on both sides about wooing undecided voters. So to that end, here are some of my thoughts about Willard M. Romney, presented in chronological order as they appeared in this space:


During the Republican primary season, I wrote this in response to the suggestion that those who didn’t like Romney were envious of him.

In May, the story of the Cranbrook assault in 1965 came out, and I wrote this piece wondering how the candidate could possibly forget what he had done.

With Cranbrook still on my mind, I wrote this piece comparing Romney to Draco Malfoy. It’s still one of my favorites.

In July, as the tax returns controversy was going on, I wrote this about what Romney’s behavior was saying to me.

Toward the end of July, during that disastrous foreign trip that he made (remember “Romneyshambles”?), I wrote this story that I had learned about on a trip to Boston.

In early August, I responded to a deliberate misrepresentation of “You didn’t build that” with this piece.

The very next day, I decided to let the letters in the candidates’ names speak to me, and this is what they said.

And this just takes us up to the eve of the Republican Convention. We’ll pick up there with the next post.

Pizza and the Presidential debates

I see the term “wiping the floor” used a lot in politics, especially with regard to the recent Joe Biden-Paul Ryan meeting in Kentucky. And every time I hear it, I cringe a little bit. Is this an exchange of ideas, or an arm-wrestling match? And if your guy–whoever it might be–somehow does succeed in “wiping the floor” with the other guy, will it really change anything? Anything at all? I very much doubt that it would.

By this stage in the game, most people have made their minds up about the whole idea of a second term for president Obama. Either you want that to happen, or you don’t. And the idea that there’s still a sizable chunk of the electorate that can be swayed one way or the other is silly, in my opinion.

I’ll give an example of what I mean. Like most people, I like eating pizza. So much so that even if I had the most terrible pizza that’s ever been put together, I might walk away and tell others how bad it was, but I’ll go back to eating pizza again the very next time I can.

And so it is with President Obama and his challenger. If you’re convinced that Obama must go, and his opponent is somehow reduced to a sputtering mess by the force of Obama’s reasoning tonight, are you ever going to think “You know, maybe four more years wouldn’t be such a bad thing for the country”? No, of course not. You’d say “Well, Obama didn’t play fair” or “Romney had an off night” or something along those lines.

The next two televised joint appearances (I can’t quite find it in me to call them “debates”) will happen, because the politico-industrial complex has declared that they should, but you’ll find more meaningful action watching the Yankees try to solve Jason Verlander instead. That’s just my opinion, though. It’s all you can ever expect to find in this space.

Have you ever been arrested?

The only reason I’m familiar with this song is that it was on a sampler CD that I won from the Loop in Chicago when I was in college. It was 1988 or 1989, and I didn’t even own a CD player at the time. It was the first CD I ever owned, and it did have a few good songs on it. This song doesn’t exactly qualify but I still remember it, all these years later.

This song now seems relevant, because one Willard M. Romney got himself arrested back in 1981. There’s certainly no shame in that; People get arrested all the time. Here’s a few hundred mug shots to prove it. But the events around that arrest aren’t supposed to be known by people like you and me. Why? Because Willard M. Romney, who goes by the name “Mitt,” had the records sealed at the time.

The fact of his arrest became known to a newspaper back in 1994, when Willard M. Romney was running to become a U.S. Senator in Massachusetts. The would-be Senator claimed that he was released without bail, and the charges were later dropped. No harm, no foul, right? It seemed that way at the time, at least.

But things changed today. The unsuccessful would-be Senator now wants to become President. He wants to have the fate of you, and me, and theoretically everyone living on this planet in his hands. So he damn well better be forthcoming with us, about everything. But forthcoming is something he hasn’t been. He told the SEC he was running Bain Capital, even though he told We, the People that he wasn’t. He told the IRS about his Swiss bank account, but he also hid that from We, the People. And now it appears what he told the newspaper reporter back in 1994 about his arrest in 1981 wasn’t truthful, either.

Even though the arrest record was sealed at Romney’s request, there was a newspaper account of it published by a newspaper in Natick, Massachusetts. When I was a kid, the local paper in my hometown ran a Police Beat column, which was probably the same thing: “Such-and-So was arrested at 2 AM on Sunday morning for driving the wrong way down a one way street.” And so it was with Willard M. Romney of Belmont, Massachusetts. Something about a boat and a license and disorderly conduct. The facts aren’t really all that important, so many years after the fact.

But, again, it’s the gap in his memory about what happened that’s more troubling than what he actually did. He said he was not required to post bail, but the newspaper account claimed that he was “released on bail.” So which is it? Was the newspaper wrong in its reporting, or was Willard M. Romney fudging the truth when he spoke about it back in 1994? I think I know what the answer is, but I’m also willing to keep an open mind. Let the facts come out, and then, if there was an error by the newspaper, they can print a retraction.

If, however, the error was with Mr. Romney, it’s just going to feed the idea that he can not be truthful about his past. He claims he can’t remember the Cranbrook assault, even if everyone else who was present claims that they do. And in the early 1980s, when he no longer was the governor’s son, he once again found himself in a spot that all of us would remember, if it were us in his shoes. You bet I would remember whether I had to pay money in order to make sure I showed up in court. Who wouldn’t remember that?

Again, the fact that he was arrested means nothing at all to me. But what I want to know is how truthful was he being about that arrest? If he can lie to us now, and still expect to get our vote, then what’s to keep him from lying about anything and everything under the sun once he’s the President?

I don’t want this man to win the election for many reasons, but his apparent lack of truthfulness could be the biggest one of all. If Willard M. Romney can’t level with us, or release the arrest records to reveal what the truth of the matter is, then he has no business taking the presidential oath of office. That would probably be just another lie he would tell us, anyway.