10 Jan 2012

Newt, Rick and Jon….you can’t have it both ways

New Hampshire Republicans have woken up to their big moment in America’s electoral cycle under leaden skies and howls of indignation aimed at the frontrunner Mitt Romney.

In one diner above the din of sizzling eggs and bacon he has been viciously slammed for wanting to shower middle class America with pink unemployment slips. On a street corner in Manchester, Mitt has been called the millionaire’s friend, the banker’s patron saint.

Elsewhere they have pounced on him for being a corporatist rodent, an exploiter of the working masses, an enemy of the people. The attackers tend to mention Mitt’s past as the head of Bain Capital, a venture capitalist firm that bought companies, restructured them – i.e. fired lots of people – and then flogged them for a healthy profit, making Mitt and friends a lot of money.

In his defence Romney’s people have retorted that the cycle of destruction and creation, which Mitt was so good at, is the essence of American capitalism. But these are angry times and the spectre of populism stalks the usually polite streets of New Hampshire. Mitt hasn’t helped his case by saying on Monday that he “likes to fire people”. He was talking about private insurance companies who weren’t delivering adequate services.

Read more: Mitt Romney ahead as New Hampshire votes

But his attackers have taken it as proof that Mitt is a ruthless destroyer of American dreams. So who are these indignant anti capitalist agitators? The Occupy New Hampshire crowd perhaps? It is the kind of thing they have been saying with sleepy eyes from their frozen tents. No. Is it the left fringe of the Democratic Party during another bash a banker festival? Wrong again.

The howls of anti-corporatist rage have been coming from such well known Maoists as Newt Gingrich, the historian, politician, quasi-lobbyist and floundering presidential candidate or that famous Che Guevara impersonator Jon Huntsman, the millionaire ex-governor , ex-ambassador turned struggling presidential candidate. Mitt has allowed these attacks to gain some steam because he is so passionately two-faced about so many issues. Mitt’s biggest enemy in this campaign has always been Mitt.

Flip-flops can sink a candidate, just ask John Kerry. But the charges that he is a destroyer of jobs is rank hypocrisy coming from the likes of Gingrich, Huntsman or Perry, who never tire of slamming the Obama administration for creating government jobs or bailing out the car companies to save millions of jobs. Newt, Rick and Jon….you can’t have it both ways.

You can’t attack the Occupy crowd for being divisive class warriors and then sound just like them. And one piece of fashion advice on election day. Populist anger and meticulously pleated button-down shirts don’t go well together.

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One reader comment

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Matt,

    All you have to do is wait for these nincompoops to shoot themselves in the foot, reload, shoot themselves in the other foot, reload, then shoot themselves in the head.

    To wit: “In his defence Romney’s people have retorted that the cycle of destruction and creation, which Mitt was so good at, is the essence of American capitalism.”

    Of course this is true, except for the “creation” bit. Capitalism creates nothing and never will. It is a blood sucking vampire on the backs of human ingenuity and hard work. It will never change.

    The same goes for the Mitt Romney mentality. And all the others. Eventually history will dump them. It can’t come soon enough for all decent citizens.

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