A while back I read a piece somewhere explaining why political candidates do try to keep their campaign promises. Unfortunately I didn’t note the address and can’t cite it. But it made a respectable case against the common wisdom that such promises are lies from the outset. So assuming there is some truth to what the article said, I’ve copied the prepared transcript of Willard ‘The Mitten’ Romney’s victory speech in New Hampshire last night, a speech which sounded both in content and tone like his coronation acceptance speech rather than a humble thank you to the voters of a small state who gave him less than forty percent of their votes.
I would, in the spirit of full disclosure, note that I could not listen to the whole speech, as I find Romney repulsive and the implications of his speech repulsive. I had the same reaction to Reagan from the beginning and to Bush Jr. from the first time I heard him. Both of them hurt the country badly and Romney has the same feel about him.
Here’s the speech and my commentary vent. The speech is indented. Yes, I know, I’m all prolix and voluble and babbly, but, hey, a guy’s gotta have some fun in life, right? And after all, it’s The Mitten we’re talking about here.
Thank you, New Hampshire! Tonight, we made history!
Good start. Pure hyperbole. He’s referring to the fact that he is the first non-incumbent politico Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Big so what. He beat a bigoted religious freak by eight votes in Iowa, and didn’t even get forty percent of the votes in New Hampshire, where an addled Libertarian got twenty-five percent.
This state has always been a special place for our family. Ann and I made a home here and we’ve filled it with great memories of our children and grandchildren. And this Granite State moment is one we will always remember.
How many mansions does that make, Mitt? And how’s the demolition of your twelve million dollar cottage coming?
Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we go back to work.
Work? Please. You’re buying elections, you and your so-called independent super PAC. The people work. You buy votes and pander.
We remember when Barack Obama came to New Hampshire four years ago.
He promised to bring people together.
He promised to change the broken system in Washington.
He promised to improve our nation.
True, he did say those things. And as soon as he got to Washington the first thing the Republicans (that’s you party, Mitt, in case you forgot) said was their first and only goal was to deny him a second term. Since then they treated him like dirt, they refused to negotiate in good faith, they lied to him and to us, and they have obstructed, blindly and unreasonably, every initiative he attempted. He could have done better, but you’re going to lay it all on him and you’re wrong.
Those were the days of lofty promises made by a hopeful candidate. Today, we are faced with the disappointing record of a failed President. The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven’t offered much hope.
Clever, Mitt, clever rhetoric. But it’s been done before. Hope you didn’t stay up too late thinking it up.
Disappointing record? Sure, I’ll give you that. Failed President? No, because despite the worst your party could do, and did do, Obama got some stuff done.
The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10% in four years. Soldiers returning from the front lines are waiting in unemployment lines. Our debt is too high and our opportunities too few.
The middle class isn’t dead yet, Mitt, and if they’re smart they’ll throw you out on your ass before you have a chance to finish the brutal job your Republicans have done on them the last thirty years or so. Those people are out of work because you people have managed to push your blind ideology of deregulation and low taxes, and no taxes for the rich, through the Congress, and willing Republican presidents have signed them. Your goal, your party’s goal, has been to kill as much government as possible, never mind the consequences to the country.
And this President wakes up every morning, looks out across America and is proud to announce, “It could be worse.”
And he’s right. That’s the best that can be said of what’s happened. And it could have been a whole damn sight worse if the Republicans had succeeded in blocking more of the recovery programs. And if you’re going to hand out blame for the efforts to stave off financial disaster, you might want to start with the Bush appointees who created the financial bailout plan and carried it out. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it, Mitt? A Republican plan that staved off a worldwide financial collapse, and you blame Obama because it didn’t make everything shiny and bright again right away.
It could be worse? Is that what it means to be an American? It could be worse?
Of course not.
I suspect that your life as a coddled rich boy who inherited his wealth really doesn’t qualify you to pass judgment on what it means to be an American.
What defines us as Americans is our unwavering conviction that we know it must be better.
That conviction guides our campaign. It has rallied millions of Americans in every corner of this country to our cause.
Over the last six months, I’ve listened to anxious voices in town meetings and visited with students and soldiers. In break rooms and living rooms, I’ve heard stories of families getting by on less, of carefully planned retirements now replaced by jobs at minimum wage. But even now, amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression, I’ve rarely heard a refrain of hopelessness.
Apparently, Mitt, you haven’t talked to the millions who have lost their homes, their savings, even their pets (don’t you dare go there), who haven’t had even the faintest whiff of a job in a year, two years, longer. You haven’t talked to the families of the suicides. Anxious voices, Mitt? Anxious? They’re desperate, Mitt. But you live in a golden cocoon and you’ll never hear them. But oh you do like to fire them, eh? You do like to close the factories that employed them so you can pocket some millions, don’t you? You haven’t heard a refrain of hopelessness because you haven’t got the balls to actually and really listen. You don’t know how and frankly, you don’t give a damn.
Americans know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times. We still believe in the hope, the promise, and the dream of America. We still believe in that shining city on a hill.
No, Mitt, there’s no shining city on a hill. America is not exceptional. It is not the greatest. We’re not number one, rah rah rah. Thinking Americans realize we could go down the tubes in a flash, and the better thinkers know that you and the Republicans are just the ones to open the tube and flush.
We know that the future of this country is better than 8 or 9% unemployment.
It is better than $15 trillion in debt.
It is better than the misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years – and the failed leadership of one man.
We don’t actually know any of that. We have no clue what the future holds. We do know that there are plenty of ways for it all to get worse. We do know there are other players in the game, other countries with their own problems that threaten world economic stability. But I’m sure you’re going to rattle some sabers at them later, right? That’ll show ‘em.
The President has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.
Not so. He’s got ideas. He’s not making excuses. He didn’t do a lot of what we thought he would do, but he made an effort, sometimes successful, sometimes not, in the face of intransigent, blind, ideological, and one might suspect racial, opposition from your party, Mitt.
President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our Party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation, Under God.
Large load of crap, there, Mitt, very large load.
What’s your definition of free enterprise, Mitt? Unregulated capitalism, the sort of thing that crashed the economy? What do you mean by ‘put free enterprise on trial’? Nice sound byte, but it doesn’t mean anything in the real world.
Desperate Republicans joining him? Do you live in a padded room, Mitt? Your fellow candidates from the rabid right have been trying to castrate Obama, and you, for years. That hardly amounts to joining forces with Obama. Or do you mean that they’re desperate because they’re trying to beat you to the coronation… oh, sorry… nomination? That’s what you really mean, isn’t it, Mitt? The world is either with you or against you, eh? We just got rid of a Republican who thought that way and did a damn fine job of destroying democracy in America under the guise of crushing little brown people in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
And there’s that phrase ‘resentment of success’. Nice bit, Mitt. Let me guess… that’s directed at all those people who want rich boys like you and the Koch Brothers and all the rest of you to pay a fair share of your income in taxes, who want you to carry some of the burden of putting the country back together again. You think we out here in dirty old middle class America hate rich people and want to take everything away from them, and you. Not true. We don’t like rich people who just want more and more and more, who refuse to recognize that they built their wealth either on the backs of wage earners or they got it from manipulating pieces of paper and producing not a single damn useful thing for the community and insist they not be taxed on it. What we resent, Mitt, is your greed, your lust for our money, your savage chase for power so you can get more money. You don’t want to govern, Mitt, you and your kind want to rule.
As for ‘One Nation, Under God’, that is frankly bullshit, but you’d have to actually walk around among real people, have to do some actual work for wages for years on end, to figure that out.
Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defense.
Don’t think so, Mitt. Economic freedom does not mean being ripped off, demeaned, enslaved, and beaten down by corporations in bed with a government that refuses to properly regulate them so that they can’t treat people like dung. We know what Republican ‘economic freedom’ means. It means slaving so you and a few others can get obscenely rich.
Our campaign is about more than replacing a President; it is about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies.
President Obama wants to “fundamentally transform” America. We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great.
Logically speaking, Mitt, America doesn’t have a ‘soul’. It’s a country, not a person. And there are millions of us who reject the idea of persons having souls. But you wouldn’t understand that either. Too much thinking involved. But you can’t ‘save’ something that doesn’t exist. Nice rhetoric, but as usual, you come up empty.
Nor can you, or anyone, choose your destiny. First off, you assume there is such a thing as destiny, and that assumption is why the United States has killed so many little brown and yellow people over the decades. We have no destiny to rule. We are not exceptional. We are not the city on a hill. We’re just another wannabe empire in the minds of some frankly insane people in Washington. You know them, Mitt, the right wing crazies who drove us into Iraq and Afghanistan and want to wreck us completely on the brutal reef of Iran. Your buddies, apparently.
He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.
Those people in Europe, they pay taxes for the services of government, pretty hefty taxes in some cases. And in some cases they actually get real human services: education, health care, medicine, child care, strong infrastructure. What do we get for the taxes you want to cut to the bone for your class and dump on the rest of us? A bloated military that can’t defeat a bunch of guys in pajamas and carrying AK-47s (not that they should even have tried). An education system that at best ranks in the middle, if not in the bottom half of modern nations. A health care system that brags how good it is but neglects to mention it only works if you’ve got a bunch of money. A system of crumbling roads, bridges, and water systems. A government run by the corporate cronies of Congressmen and Senators, who are so desperate for money to stay in office that they allow the corporations to effectively write the laws (guess who benefits?).
And as for the entitlements in this country that you and your political cronies whine about, we paid our damned taxes for those, we worked our entire lives for those, and I think you’ll find we resent rich poufs like you who say we should lose them so you can finance your adolescent wet dream of government.
This President takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America.
This President puts his faith in government. We put our faith in the American people.
Those people in the capitols of Europe (ironic that a rich man would confuse ‘capitols’ and ‘capitals’), for whatever faults they may have, they know a hell of a lot more about governing than small town Americans who respond to the sort of rhetorical dreck you and other politicians put out. You might want to try to learn from them, but that might require you to think and get your hands dirty. But I doubt you can think and work at the same time, Mitt. Start easy. Try walking and chewing gum at the same time.
He is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter.
Apparently the government grew an awful lot more under his predecessor, you know, a Republican. As for burdensome, maybe you might want to talk to the families of dead American soldiers, pretty much all from the middle and working and poor classes. We remember last time you ran this route, Mitt, and we questioned why your five sons, all of age, weren’t volunteering to serve in the military, and your answer was they were serving the country by helping you run for President. Wrong answer, Mitt. Rich man’s answer. Man out of touch answer. Man who doesn’t really give a damn what happens to the lower classes as long as they serve his interests.
As for simpler, smaller, and smarter, that’s another crock. To do that you have to throw tens of thousands of people out of work, for starters, but that’s okay with you. You made your millions doing that, didn’t you, Mitt? Just the thing to do in the middle of a destructive recession, put more people out of work, take more money out of circulation so fewer products can be purchased. Good thinking, Mitt, good thinking. And of course you’ll be left with fewer people doing the same or more amount of work, and they’ll be stressed, and work won’t get done, commitments won’t be met, and the economy will crash a little more. And we will bitch about the crappy service we paid our taxes for.
He raised the national debt. I will cut, cap, and balance the budget.
Can’t run a country on a balanced budget, Mitt. Unless of course you don’t mind sacrificing people’s lives, jobs, health, savings, and so on. It’s a government, not a business. Repeat that ten times every hour. It’s a government, not a business. The economics are different, the rules are different, the needs are different.
And we know what you’ll cut, Mitt. You’ll cut the throats of the people to get blood to fuel your broken ideology.
He enacted job-killing regulations; I’ll eliminate them.
Now where’s that study that shows that regulations help create and preserve jobs? It’s around here somewhere on the internet or in a government office. It’s lack of fair regulations and oversight that kills jobs, that sends them overseas, that kills workers and their families. You’ll eliminate them? You’ll eliminate the oversight that protects us from predatory, greedy corporations, like Bain Capital.
He lost our AAA credit rating; I’ll restore it.
No he didn’t. Your party did because of their incredibly short-sighted, vicious refusal to pass the debt ceiling bill, and their constant and continuous obstructionism in Congress. That wasn’t Obama’s doing, you jackass, and you know it.
He passed Obamacare; I’ll repeal it.
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. And guess what, despite its flaws, people like it. Sane people, that is. When you say you’ll repeal it, all you’re saying is that you’ll turn the insurance companies loose on sick people again, all you’re saying is that it’s okay with you if people get sick and die or get crippled in the name of your bloody ideology.
When it comes to the economy, my highest priority as President will be worrying about your job, not saving my own.
Funny how that never bothered you before when you were throwing people out of their jobs, destroying the businesses that employed them, and pocketing the blood money.
Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America’s role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must – and will – lead the future.
Nonsense. He believes in talking before you get to the shooting. He believes in building alliances instead of acting like a dumbass John Wayne movie cowboy who knows nothing and just shoots.
And we don’t need to lead the future. We’ve done a lousy job of leading in the past most of the time, and when we do claim to have done a good job of leading, we tend to ignore the crucial part other countries have played. And again, we are not exceptional. We are not the city on a hill. We are not destined.
He doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.
Did I mention adolescent wet dreams? Did I mention sheer stupidity? Did I mention a complete failure to comprehend reality and to replace comprehension with a blind paranoia? And did you mention how you’re going to pay for this supermilitary wet dream out of your balanced budget? Talk about crushing the middle class! And for no good end.
He chastises friends like Israel; I’ll stand with our friends.
Israel is not our friend. Israel plays Washington like a marionette theater. Israel is a brutal apartheid regime engaged in ethnic cleansing. (And no, that’s not anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish: that’s anti the actions and policies of Israel’s government. I don’t give a fig what their religion is.)
He apologizes for America; I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth.
Somebody should apologize for some of the evil crap the United States has done in the world, but nobody has, not in any meaningful way. And the United States is hardly the greatest nation in the history of the Earth. I’m thinking maybe Rome might be that one, but it doesn’t really matter. Having more guns and bombs does not make for greatness. It does do for arrogance though. I think we’d rather have a great education system; a strong manufacturing base; good jobs and benefits for all our people; quality health care, irrevocable, and free from predatory corporations, for everyone; safe roads and bridges; modern water and sewer systems; and a constitutional amendment requiring that anyone running for public office be intellectually and emotionally qualified to do so. Now those things would begin to create a great nation. Right now we qualify as something little better than a provincial backwater, with provincial thinking, and with a lot of guns and bombs and the stupidity to use them.
Our plans protect freedom and opportunity, and our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States.
Empty rhetoric, Mitt, empty rhetoric. Pandering to the slavering right.
The path I lay out is not one paved with ever increasing government checks and cradle-to-grave assurances that government will always be the solution. If this election is a bidding war for who can promise more benefits, then I’m not your President. You have that President today.
And again, we pretty much paid for and earned those government checks. And what we want cradle-to-grave is the assurance that government will be honest and fair, that it will reject ideology and ideologues, that its representatives will be intelligent and mature and rational, and that it won’t sell us out to the highest bidder or the most insane ideologue. Obama didn’t promise any of those things you mention, but I do think he would very much like to provide the things I mention to some degree or other.
But if you want to make this election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you will join us.
More empty rhetoric.
If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, not our destiny, then I am asking for your vote.
No destiny, Mitt. And the detour was built by Republicans wrecking the road.
I’m asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an American.
Yeah, sure. Iraq. Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo. Panama. Vietnam. Afghanistan. Bagram prison. American torturers. Come on, everybody, don’t you feel special? Mitt says you should feel special. Get with the program.
I want you to remember what it was like to be hopeful and excited about the future, not to dread each new headline.
I dread the headline that says a pouf like you wins the White House.
I want you to remember when you spent more time dreaming about where to send your kids to college than wondering how to make it to the next paycheck.
I want you to remember when you weren’t afraid to look at your retirement savings or the price at the pump.
That would be pretty much never for the working class and much of the middle class, Mitt, but you wouldn’t know about that, would you?
I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become.
You need to get out more, Mitt. Do you really think you’re doing us any favors by badmouthing Europe? Do you really expect us to respect you when you continue to demonstrate ignorance about the real world on both the international and national level?
That America is still out there. We still believe in that America.
We still believe in the America that is a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom. We believe in the America that challenges each of us to be better and bigger than ourselves.
Pathetic pandering to the right wing. Better and bigger? You mean make more money, don’t you, Mitt? That’s how you and your friends measure things.
This election, let’s fight for the America we love. We believe in America.
You and yours have pretty much trashed the America we love, and are on your way to trashing it more thoroughly and completely than a person might have believed possible only a few decades ago.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
I do wish you people would quit with the God nonsense. You’re as bad as Tim Tebow throwing his religious superstition in the faces of millions of people every time he farts on the football field. Put your gods in the closet and get out here in the real world. You need to spend a few years flipping hamburgers, Mitt. Then you’ll see what America is about, what it’s really about, what it’s really become. Live on that wage, you pouf.
So old Mitt’s campaign promise, in sum, is to further the Republican destruction of freedom and democracy in America, and to pay for it on the backs of the middle class and the wage earners and the poor. He’s an ignorant, cocooned rich boy who will, without a doubt, screw up what’s left of hope for an ideal America, of the real American dream.