Would that be like GM or like Lehman Brothers? Maybe AIG or UBS? This disgraced lament should be out of the lexicon, but somehow it remains as popular as the religion of “free market capitalism.” Don’t get me wrong, I am a capitalist; just reformed. Too many free market molesters.
One, Mitt Romney, a former Governor, more accurately identified as the unaccomplished son of a millionaire, falls into that category. He never saw a corporation whose carcass couldn’t be dismantled, sucked dry, restructured into and sold off as derivatives, then blamed for its own demise. That may be why he can remain so popular with Republican insiders while demonstrating none of the “qualities” relished by the tea pot true believers they pretend to embrace. Republicans see America’s economy as capital carrion with limited shelf-life. Imagine the baskets of derivatives that our Federal government represents. Repackaged as public-private partnerships, we can recover all those dollars floating as debt overseas and accomplish nation-building simultaneously with Romney-style leveraged buyouts by offshore investors such as the Libyan Liquid Reserve Bank, Somali Simplified Social Security Scheme, and Mugabe Mollified Medicare Mart all under the auspices of the New Delhi New Deal Derivatives Dealers. We get their US dollars, they get our obligations and when we have to bail them out, we are only paying ourselves. As brilliantly innovative as any Ponzi scheme and intuitively appealing to the uninformed.
There are a whole passel of mini-Mitts across the United States disguised as innovators and reformers. We celebrate one here in Virginia. Two McDonnell initiatives immediately stand out: the privatization of the ABC stores and the “reformation” of the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). One discredited his business acumen and the other, a more successfully packaged shell game, is a financial time bomb.
The national “government on business principles” initiatives would be the more subtle than McDonnell’s fumbled privatization; wrapped in a dignified shroud of reform like the VRS changes. These lay along the path of jettisoning countless under and unfunded obligations at every level of government. But there are limits to those kinds of shenanigans. What Ann Coulter characterizes in her new book as unjustifiable mob action by the left may end up mob violence nonetheless; she leaves out the fact that government action usually contributes to the violence. Remember those unpatriotic military veterans who marched on Washington. Douglas McArthur believed strongly that they were communists all, in much the way Coulter’s cult paints anyone who wants economic equity as a “socialist.” McArthur had Dwight Eisenhower’s troops aim their machineguns at those veterans. What would America be if concepts like Coulter’s were operationalized? Recognize that Coulter’s success rises from the fact that her fellow travellers reward her for legitimizing their fears, prejudices, and oversimplified view of the world. Ann Coulter seriously argues that the source of all violence, assassinations and mob action in America, for the past 200 years, has been what she calls the “psychology of liberalism.” But I digress.
Mitt Romney is an empty vessel, like most of those characters up on that stage at Saint Anselm’s tonight. Right now the GOP campaign is not much more than a book and speaking engagement promotional tour for the announced, unannounced, and thanks to Michelle Bachmann, the semi-announced candidates. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney isn’t selling a book or looking for speaking engagements. He is serious about applying his business mismanagement experience as President. And in the end, that fact will scare the American electorate more than all the tripe being spread by the right about President Obama. This drumbeat of “reformation” is going to backfire on the GOP. For that reason we should cheer on Romney’s candidacy. As of tonight, only Sarah Palin provides a clearer contrast and a greater potential gift for Democrats.