Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
If you noticed the messaging between Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the GOP over the last few months, it’s evident, even among moderate Republicans. Like conservative columnist David Brooks “The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens. “
And former Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson “Yet a Republican ideology pitting the “makers” against the “takers” offers nothing. No sympathy for our fellow citizens. No insight into our social challenge. No hope of change. This approach involves a relentless reductionism. Human worth is reduced to economic production.”
Both have written pleas that Mitt Romney presidential campaign and the GOP have strayed from the conservative but people-empowering ideas of Ronald Reagan and have fully embraced the ideas writer Ayn Rand without giving her direct credit (Not sure why, maybe it’s to avoid paying Ayn Rand royalties). In GOP’s move to embrace the most well known author of Objectivism, it’s shifted the battle lines in class warfare. A war once between the traditional clash between the haves and have-nots. A war where sides were chosen based on the degree of one’s willingness to roll up one’s sleeves and put sweat equity into building the American dream.
No more. It’s no longer a conflict between those who earn an income against the unfortunate, chronic poor and those simply lazy. Listen carefully to the GOP leaders and it’s clear that “haves” are the capital-based wealth-generators (also called job-creators) and the have-nots are the non-job creators (a.k.a. workers that don’t own the means to their own income).
By now you’ve heard Romney infamous 47% gaffe…
“…47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
Romney’s 47% gaffe, even if the layer of what Romney calls “indelicate speech” is removed, still retains it Ayn-Rand derived distain for the 47% of Americans as “parasites” – people viewed as dependent by simply taking resources from others (“ignore us” say subsidized corporations). In this case, parasites are the “dependent” and “victims “ as Romney put it who take benefits from government like social security, military benefits, health care, college loans, etc.
That was the real message and philosophy that Mitt Romney’s “indelicate speech” doesn’t wipe away. In the same way that, if you take the indelicate parts of Todd Akin’s infamous speech, it doesn’t change the fact he’s stanchly against abortions, even due to rape. Like Akin, Romney just stated a policy he believes with words that reek of too much moral judgment and lack of knowledge to feel like thoughtful policy.
Presumably from Romney’s speech, the other 53% of Americans who aren’t going to vote for President Obama don’t take money from government, create their own wealth free from the dependence of government, free and clear. The job creators are not “victims” and lecherous as Romney secretly taped speech implied ( “and please ignore us,” say government money taking defense contractors).
In other words, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and GOP members that speak like them have redefined the haves and the have-nots into those who have companies, income or intellectual property that generates wealth and those that do not. That shifts the GOP’s true “middle class” focus. In the time of Reagan, it was about eliminating the people who don’t work by getting the to participate in the economy. No more. Though the fact-checked fake premise of the Welfare ads run by the Romney campaign might lead you to believe that. That’s just middle-class anger candy to get middle class people to distractingly salivate at something that isn’t really happening. Distraction and misdirected anger in order to drown out the other Romney messages that say the middle class is also just lazy as “Welfare people” they vilify by not starting a business or creating something with privatized wealth-creating capacity.
This attitude is not new. Remember the distain carried over talk radio and TV towards the 99-ers? Formerly working people who had to audacity not to create a job that couldn’t fire them or be absorbed by a shrunken labor market? So lecherous, they looked to government assistance in the form of money they paid into the system for insurance as party of their previous paychecks?
In fact, dig up clips on You Tube with some Republican “intellectual leaders” and GOP operatives simply saying the reason people where unemployed just two years ago were simply because they were lazy (Economic collapse?What are you talking about?).
Within those statements again show distain for people who have the unmitigated gall to not create their own job or not be hired by someone who does. Even if they did everything else right. In the Ayn Rand world, these people are written off as an offensive underclass.
As I said in a previous post, the GOPs adoption of Any Rand’s ideas isn’t new. It started with George Bush (43) and his Ownership Society campaign-the reason we were to privatize social security. Recently, the “I built it” mantra on parade at the GOP convention featured a long line of business people at the podium-rightfully proud of their success because they built a business. Yet suspiciously absent was anyone on stage testifying and being proud that they “built” a car on the assembly line. No one who just built a career as a bank manager or built a better community as working at the Boys Club. All those people make money. But each is paid as a service. Not through amassing self-owned capital-generated wealth. They took a job. They didn’t create one. And from their absence from the GOP Convention stage, not work and a type of “building” worth celebrating.
Those stories the GOP told of people who’ve built business are great. I’ve built two myself and I know that truly starting from scratch isn’t easy-and many fail. That’s why it’s truly a great thing when someone builds a successful business. But the Romney message of “I built that” during that campaign seems to have forgotten those non-capital-based-wealth builders. Or wrote them off as 2nd class citizens. Or maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t forgotten as Paul Ryan influence Ayn Rand would say and as she has said, “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.” It money is a virtue, then those who don’t have money are not virtuous? I’d get a phone call into Christ and Mother Theresa and let them know how non-virtuous they really are. Man, I thought they were cool. Doing stuff without expecting wealth or financial reward. A-holes.
But it didn’t stop with “I built it.’ This idea has found other forms in the last month since the campaign. Recent GOP talking points from operatives like Michele Malkin and Bay Buchannan and embraced by the Romney campaign about “Makers vs. Takers” and “Parasites” is just a double down on Ayn Rand philosophy that those who work for others or toils in the benefits for others without creating their own means for ownership or control is a parasite, a taker. As Rand says,
“The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality — the man who lives to serve others — is the slave.”
This strategy or Ayn Rand platform message of the Romney campaign only works as long as the middle class who simply have a job and not a business, don’t figure out they’re really not part of the job-creator club and that, in reality, the Romney campaign and some fiscal and social conservatives lump them in with the “parasitic” 47%. At the time time showing willful ignorance at corporate America dependence, er, I mean job creation support from the government teat.
And the extension of this philosophy is that, once in power, cutting government programs and services for them will be doing the non-capital workers a favor. Perhaps that’s so. But the Romney campaign needs to be more upfront that’s the medicine. Right now, it’s in the “we’ll tell you later” part of their economic proposals.