Quiet Rooms

When you get Mitt Romney off his 3×5 note cards, little windows open up that reveal his real thoughts.  Like that time in debate he mentioned how he told his groundskeeper he couldn’t hire any illegal aliens because he’s running for office, for God’s sake. Or when he said how much he likes being able to fire people.  Well, this week he let slip a doozy.

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In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, the topic came up of the GOP’s accusation that Democrats are engaging in class warfare trying to stir up envy and jealousy among the masses.

Lauer:  .“Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?”

Romney: “You know, I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms. But the president has made this part of his campaign rally.”

As to who can be  in the quiet rooms where income disparity is discussed, Romney didn’t say. We can only surmise that he feels these matters are properly debated in secrecy by captains of industry and playboys of high finance, with maybe a few politicians in attendance to give the quiet rooms an air of official sanction.

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It is clear, however,  who is not called to Mitt Romney’s quiet rooms:  you and me.  God forbid a public figure should discuss matters of wealth and poverty within earshot of us little people, lest we proletarians be incited to take up our torches and pitchforks to raise a Marxist revolution against the Wall Street bourgeoisie. Much better to keep it in the quiet rooms and post security outside the door.  Nothing going on here. Move along.

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To be fair, Mitt Romney’s Quiet Rooms doctrine has noble origins, and it might even have merit. Plato, who was a strident foe of democracy, had the same idea 2,500 years ago. In his Republic a few wise and benevolent philosopher-kings worked these matters out in quiet rooms amongst themselves, while telling noble lies to the vulgar common rabble outside,  just to keep everything nice and orderly.  And who among us hasn’t thought at one time or another what a rotten thing democracy is, given the results of some elections? And yet, Plato surely didn’t mean that the philosopher-kings in the quiet rooms, who only seek  wise counsel for the well-being and happiness of all, would be corporate buccaneers from Banes Capitol  like Mitt Romney, swooping in to destroy firms and chop the legs off working folks for the benefit of a few investors.

What a window into the soul opens when Mitt Romney goes off script. Look for many more of them in the coming months as he goes head to head with President Obama.

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Class Warfare – Really?

Frank Bedal

Guest Columnist

 

In response to President Obama’s proposal to pay for the American Jobs Act by ending the Bush-era tax loopholes on the very richest Americans,  Congressman Paul Ryan (R – WI) has raised  the fearsome specter of  class warfare.

Oh, really?

 

There you go again, Mr. Ryan. “Class warfare” is a curious charge coming from a leader of the party that has for 20 years done everything in its power to attack the interests of ordinary, overalls-wearing working folks and to give as much of the American pie as possible to the very wealthy.    And how ironic, to warn against a redistribution of wealth while representing the party that has engineered a radical and decades-long redistribution from the bottom to the top.  What interests, may I ask, reward your extravagant devotion to you own redirection of  American wealth?


On my own political journey, I have always borne in mind that most  leaders on the other side, even if they disagreed with me, were fine and decent folks of good moral standing who wanted nothing but to foster American greatness and to make this a better world.  At some point, however, the goal of maintaining power became more important than improving life for ordinary Americans.  Ideology has become a bludgeon used against the other side’s ideas.  Republicans have raised “taking up a contrary position” to a level that even John Cleese could hardly lampoon.

 


This is the real world.  “The American people” is not some abstract rhetorical devise, it is us; we who get up and go to work every day, sometimes frustrated, sometimes tired, sometimes worried, but always proud.  In pursue our our humble dreams and to fulfill our roles as providers, we take bus, subway and jalopie to our jobs.  Somehow, working with people we disagree with or may not even  like, we get work done. We accomplish productive and tangible things.  You, Mr. Ryan, go to work to  fundamentally alter the structure of government and society in a way that is far more profound and frightening than your rhetoric implies.
Class warfare, Mr. Ryan?  Perhaps.  But you guys started it.  So bring it on, rich boy.

 


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