Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – May 11, 2012

Saint Santorum ate a great big fat helping of humble pie as he endorsed Mitt Romney in a late night e-mail. I bet THAT made him want to throw up. Meanwhile Aesop and the Brothers Grimm better move over as Mitt Romney is clearing making a move into the fable and fairy tale industry sector by claiming credit for the recovery of the auto industry. And finally, almost fifty years ago the writer James Baldwin warned us of “the fire next time”. He also issued some another warning that is worth heeding a half century later.

Love That Humble Pie!

Saint Santorum has spent the better part of a year telling us that Mitt Romney is a terrible person and a horrible choice to be the Teapublican nominee for president. He went so far as to exclaim that Romney would be “the worst person to be the Republican nominee”. Those are pretty strong and unambiguous words coming from the Pennsylvania Zealot.

You may recall Saint Santorum famously telling the world that a speech by John F. Kennedy advocating religious freedom in the political arena made him “want to throw up”. So we have to wonder how Saint Santorum’s delicate tummy reacted when he endorsed “the worst person to be the Republican nominee” to actually be the Republican nominee.

Of course the world of politics is full of accommodations and compromises. Indeed accommodations and compromise are what permits the political process to function in a useful fashion.

But we have been led to believe that, on the Planet Santorum, there are only absolutes and there is no room for compromise on issues like taxation, reproductive choice or social service strategies.

Clearly, on the Planet Santorum there is plenty of room for compromise and accommodation when it will benefit the political career of Saint Santorum, the patron saint of the Planet Santorum.

Romney’s Fairy Tales

Mary had a little lamb. Jack and Jill went up the hill. Little Miss Muffett sat on a tuffet. Add to that Mitt Romney being responsible for saving the American auto industry.

It appears that, in addition to running for president, Mitt Romney intends to vie for the position of story teller-in-chief. Last week he actually stated that he deserves a lot of the credit for the recovery of the auto industry because the affected companies followed his suggestion to restructure and reconfigure their business strategies.

Mitt Romney must have been stricken with a rare case of selective amnesia because in 2007 he personally wrote an op-ed article clearly advocating letting American auto companies go bankrupt. During the recent Teapublican primaries he severely and regularly criticizes President Obama for “bailing out” the auto industry with
taxpayer funds.

In point of fact, if Romney’s 2007 proposal was followed well over one million American workers (auto industry and related businesses) would be permanently out of work. If President Obama had not shown the leadership by calling for the investment of taxpayer dollars in an industry that is critical to the American economy the Bush-Cheney Depression would have been even more severe.

For Mitt Romney to claim credit for the recovery of the auto industry would be like (to use one of his favorite phrases) the rooster taking credit for the sun coming up.

On November 6th Mr. Romney will learn that the American people just aren’t as stupid as he thinks. He may be suffering from convenient bouts of amnesia but not everyone else is.

Remembering James Baldwin

James Baldwin was simply a great American writer who gained public notice and fame in the 1960’s. He is known for such great works as “The Fire Next Time”, “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and “Giovanni’s Room”. He was a great novelist, playwright and………..essayist. Here is a quote from James Baldwin that is almost fifty years old:
“Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have”

As we ponder the shameful machinations of the money machine fueled by the Koch brothers the Billionaires Boys Club, we can clearly see the impact of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which empowers ignorant and malignant political policy. Attacks on civil rights, human rights, women’s rights and the environment are now a part of the everyday news cycle.

Denial of evolution, global warming and the importance of the social contract are no longer academic exercises in backwater colleges and universities. We are on the verge of policies born of incredible ignorance reshaping the every aspect of this country’s existence.

Of course it has also been written that evil triumphs when good people do nothing. It would seem that, after fifty years, it is time to pay attention to what James Baldwin wrote.

Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

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