If you haven’t noticed the similarities, the logo for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign looks a lot like half an ass. Which is fairly prophetic, because Mitt Romney’s campaign has been pretty much half-assed from the start. And it appears his Presidency would promise much of the same.
We’ve all been privy to Romney’s speaking gaffes, his propensity for lies and distortions and his inability to provide any detail or prove any benefits that would come about through his economic or tax policies. The gaps between his claims and the facts are starting to look more and more like a giant plumber’s crack into which the truth always falls.
Precursor: The half-assed legacy of the Bush Doctrine
America barely survived the half-assed antics of the last Republican President and Vice President. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney led the nation into an economic freefall produced by prodigiously cutting taxes on the richest Americans, starting two illegal, unbudgeted wars and ignoring the warning signals on national crises including 9/11, in which the Bush administration had fair warning and chose to ignore advice about terror threats.
That is the factor in the 2012 election that economists seldom mention. It was the half-assed approach to national security founded on an obsession with ideological wars that caused Bush & Co. to allow America to be attacked. That resulted in a weakened society and a weakened economy. In other words, Osama bin Laden’s stealth terror strategy worked against America because our own prodigious arrogance and exceptionalism made us vulnerable. That is a half-assed way of governing the nation, and from his threats toward Iran, Mitt Romney appears headed on a similar, yet far more dangerous course of foreign policy. He has chosen many members of Bush’s former advisory crew to run his administration. That’s good news for nobody.
Let’s say it loud and clear: Had Bush not been selfishly focused on his strange fixation of taking over the Middle East for oil and/or religious glory, the 9/11 attacks indeed could have been prevented.
We know that outgoing President Bill Clinton and the standing National Coordinator of Security Richard Clarke both provided plenty of warning about bin Laden, and Clarke sought an audience with Bush up to the day before the attacks. Yet Bush and Cheney were too busy plotting their pretty little war with Iraq to bother about the real threats to America. So we got hit, and hit hard.
Once the attack occurred, Bush promised with all the bluster of a military general to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Somewhere along the way during his distracted presidency, Bush openly complained it was too hard to search for America’s #1 terrorist threat, and that as president he never really thought much about bin Laden anymore.
Bush never finished either of the wars he started during his presidency. That is the sign of half-assed leadership. No plan = no victory, despite his claims of Mission Accomplished.
To make matters worse, the pet war started by Bush and Cheney was run in a half-assed manner from the moment they attacked. Principally, they could not be bothered to consider the cultural, social and tribal implications of taking over a country with a complex history. So instead they tried to gratuitously install an American-style government as if it were a turnkey operation. The first half-assed mistake was the failure to protect any of the nation’s cultural assets when Saddam Hussein fell from power. The only thing Bush and Cheney did think to do was grab the reigns to Iraq’s oil production, thereby promising that the proceeds would pay the cost of the war. That never happened of course. All these gaffes led to an influx and creation of more terrorists within the country, a phenomena the Bush crowd tried to quell by resorting to torture. It was an ugly scene, made worse by the fact that we were also neglecting responsibilities in Afghanistan. But that’s the half-assers way.
It all proves that an ideologically-driven foreign policy leads to a half-assed foreign policy, because having been conceived at 30,000 feet in the rare air of wishful thinking, it cannot envision or accommodate realities on the ground. It was simply unacceptable to conquer a country and let it fail so miserably from lack of planning.
A half-assed religious agenda
Worse yet was the fact that hidden agenda behind the war in Iraq was an apparent religious agenda to use the Mideast as some sort of launching ground for the Apocalypse. It seems that no matter what conservatives do in the modern age, the same sort of literalistic, legalistic and forceful brand of religion is hidden behind its motives.
What we might face with Mitt Romney in charge, an avowed Mormon, no one really knows. Even right wing leaders are suspicious of Mormonism. A casual visitor to the faith is often perplexed if they pick up the Book of Mormon, which appears to have been created sans historical fact, written from the vapors and produced out of whole cloth. Invented in other words, for some purpose that has little to do with the other major religions of the world. Jews, Muslim and Christian believers all share some of the same apparently historical foundations in their faith. Mormonism grabs those foundations and runs with them, claiming there was a race of people in North America about which there is no historical record. Which is rather a half-assed way of starting a religion.
Hence many religious leaders remain skeptical of Mormonism, while non-religious people think the whole religious trade a farce, half-assed in its assertions of an invisible deity running the world’s affairs. One can’t blame them at times. While the source of religious faith may be essentially invisible, the actions of the world’s religious leaders often aren’t; those being discrimination, intolerance, war-mongering, hatred, bigotry, torture, inquisitions, witch hunts, religious in-fighting and crusades of all manner and types.
Let’s face it, religion is pretty half-assed about its claims to bringing about world peace and harmony.
Romney is the New Bush. But not quite the same as the old Bush.
Now we’re faced with the apparent king of all half-asses, Mitt Romney, the Mormon candidate who can’t even stick to one subject without lying his ass off or telling half-assed stories about why he thinks this or that is true. His performance in the presidential debates was cheerleadered by many conservatives who care not one whit whether anything he says is true. Yet even Fox News was slow behind the man until he was the nominee. That should tell you something.
What Fair and Balanced really means
The faux news people at Fox News no longer cares what Romney says, just that he wins. That is the summation, in fact, of the whole Fair and Balanced mantra. Fair means believe what we say. Balanced means conservatives should get what they want. So Fox plies that strategy by pumping out all sorts of single-message promises to constituencies concerned about gun rights, abortion, contraception, gays, religious freedom and legal decisions that favor these causes. There is no single narrative connecting these sundry causes, just the idea that Fair=Believe What We Way and Balanced = You Should Get What You Want.
How Fox News unwittingly created Mitt Romney
Fox News therefore deftly delivers exactly what the most selfish and fearful of Americans want in their media and their politics. And Mitt Romney, it turns out, is the perfect product of the whole Fox ideology. A religion no one can touch without being castigated for being harsh or bigoted. An economic philosophy that is entirely ideological in nature, with no math attached, and therefore unassailable. A general ability to take the Etch-A-Sketch approach to thought leadership that closely aligns with the Fox News approach of issuing opinions on the new rather than reporting the facts. Mitt Romney was made for Fox News and made by Fox News.
Don’t bother me with the truth
The Romney campaign can’t even be bothered to tell these truthes to its American supporters. When fact-checking organizations take Romney to task his campaign replies that they cannot and will not be controlled by the facts. Now, even their own ads depend on lies layered with lies to make the points Romney is trying to make. Which is to trust him over Obama.
Romney’s half-assed approach to politics is the change positions all the time so that no one can hold him accountable for absolutely anything he’s ever said. His flip-flops are so profound they cannot even be grasped by a rational mind. He is literally debating himself in public. It is no wonder Barack Obama was so befuddled and depressed-looking in the first debate (which Romney supposedly one.) What is the right behavior when faced with a bald-faced liar in public? Obama took the high road in many respects, considerately reviewing in his mind just what was going on. That is what we expect a President to do with foreign leaders who lie in public; figure out what their real agenda is, and not call them to account until you can sort out the facts. So Obama treated Romney like a lying dictator. But Obama was publicly castigated for his debate Rope-A-Dope. And Romney took the lead as a result. What a sorry commentary on the naivete of our country and the half-assed abilities of half of Americans to figure out what’s really true.
The heartfelt goal of most Romney believers seems to be supporting their candidate against all evidence of fact or fact-checking. America can’t get any details on the what the man really wants to do. But the dog-whistle racists and ungrateful Americans who won’t credit Bush for any of the harm he caused the nation but seek to blame Obama for a slow recovery feel that Mitt Romney will somehow do a better job than Obama has done.
And that’s a pretty half-assed philosophy given a complete lack of evidence that Romney and his running partner Paul Ryan have any clue at all what they’re doing, or about to do if they get elected.
Sure, they’ll move to slash taxes. And further impoverish the nation. They’ll cut programs, and send millions of people into poverty and at risk for loss of health coverage and even death. They’ll privatize Social Security and give billions over to Wall Street brokers who frittered away America’s wealth once before. And they dump Medicare for a voucher program that old people will not comprehend or be able to manage. And people will die.
That’s Mitt Romney’s half-assed plan for America. But it will make complete asses out of all of us if he is elected.
So consider: Romney’s campaign logo shows an R that looks like half an ass underlined by the tagline: Believe in America. Yes, that’s really what it says. And now that you know that a liar is behind that logo and that slogan, what are you going to do, believe in him?
That would be a half-assed decision, for sure.