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Aug 20 2012

Romney to Founding Fathers: You didn’t build that

Speaking in front of a dazed and confused grassroots conservative crowd today, Mitt Romney waded into the usual rhetorical gumbo so favored by the right, saying that America was the best economy in the world because of our freedom, and he mentioned that good ole chestnut, ‘rights don’t come from government, they come from God-eh’! Now, elementary logic here: If we’re the greatest country because of our rights like liberty and freedom and all, and rights don’t come from government, then they didn’t come from the first government, good so far? And therefore our great economy and our rights did not come from the Founding Fathers. They didn’t build America!

Not that logic is the GOP strong’s suit. But it’s an interesting contradiction no?

I know some readers probably think I’m hopelessly in the tank for democrats for some private hitherto hidden reason, but I promise you, that’s not the case. Progressive independents like me are completely reachable by any party based on rationale and track record. It just happens that the GOP is currently populated by crazed fundamentalists and neoconfederate militias managed by sociopathic liars funded by the most evil greedy humans beings in this country and time who have the worst track record of any party in my adult life.

They can’t even handle basic truth and elementary reasoning. Consider for example one of the other notions Mittens likes to harp on: taking risk. I’m with Mittens when he talks about the importance of taking risk, the GOP could win me over on this if they used analysis and common sense. But they don’t, it’s just a smoke screen to award more winnings to the winners. Either that or Mitt truly doe snot appreciate, at a fundamental level, how risk really works. Time for an apt analogy.

In my younger days I was a climber, a technical rock climber, absolutely obsessed with it. Over time my skills improved until I was akin to something like a local tennis pro, only for climbing. I had sponsors, I worked in the field, I taught the sport to beginners and intermediates, and I sometimes guided newer climbers up epic routes like El Capitan in Yosemite. But I would have never, ever been able to get that proficient if I wasn’t willing to fall, a lot. The reason I could fall dozens of times a day in some cases and survive to climb again was because I used a climbing rope and anchors and all that good stuff.

I’m not sure what the exact statistic are, but I’d be willing to bet a majority or near majority of small business start-ups cease to exist within five years. Even the people who do eventually succeed often try three or four times and fail before they hit on something that works. We all know how Mitt would treat the winners, he’d cut their taxes and deregulate their businesses and do all these wonderful things for them. Because apparently, in the conservative mind, helping the successful is all that matters. But how would Mitt treat the ones who took a risk and failed? How would Romney’s America treat the people who failed once or twice, and wanted to get back on their feet and try again?

In climbing we had a saying, if you’re not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of you. It was recognition that some nutty people get drawn to the sport. Since any normal human is afraid of heights, since any normal person does get dizzy when exposed on the side of a sheer cliff hundreds or thousands of feet off the deck, anyone who doesn’t is abnormal and probably deranged. Or they’re just insecure liars. Either way you don’t want them on your climbing team.

Climbing ropes and carabiners and a nice rack of tools and preplaced bolts, all these things make climbing possible. Without them the sport would be limited to easier technical climbs, very short routes where falling isn’t usually fatal (Usually referred to as bouldering), or a tiny group of insane and soon to be dead climbers who briefly hold a title to a route before burning in to their death at terminal velocity. No analogy is perfect, but if I could push this one just a tiny bit more, imagine a nation run by and for the benefit of a tiny handful of insecure, deranged sociopaths or religious fanatics.

The same applies to any risk. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would dismantle the social safety apparatus. They would take away the ropes and bolts and cams that secure us from falling into the economic abyss. They would transfer those assets to the people who need them least in return for political patronage. But this is the exact opposite of what we must do as a nation to encourage risk and the long-term benefits that go with.

Mitt Romney surely knows this given his background, he just doesn’t care because it’s not about fostering risk, it’s about cutting his own taxes, preferably to zero.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    magistramarla

    What a great analogy!
    I saw some of this speech this morning. Romney/Ryan had the rubes actually cheering for voucherizing Medicare.
    It was so appalling, I had to turn it off.

  2. 2
    Phiknight

    Wonderful analogy that also makes me less insecure about trying to climb again.

  3. 3
    lpetrich

    In effect, they were bragging about how they would get the government’s hands on everybody’s Medicare. Whatever happened to that old Tea Party rallying cry, “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!”? Or is it OK when Republicans do it?

    Although trying to be safe can be taken to excess, the principle is correct. One could argue that guard rails and road dividers pamper and coddle drivers and encourage them to drive less safely by making unsafe driving less costly for them. However, nobody seems to want to do without those safety devices.

    I remember from the 1990′s when operating-system preemptive multitasking and protected memory were big issues in certain places. That was because of the deficiencies of common desktop OSes compared to certain others. But all of them have now had those two for the last decade, and even smartphone OSes now have them, so that’s no longer much of an issue.

  4. 4
    d cwilson

    Republicans have a curious mindset in which financial success is somehow correlated to personal virtue. In other words, if you’re successful, it’s because you’re a better person than those who failed. It’s the political version of the prosperity gospel.

    Their mindset also means that only the successful are deserving of government largesse in the form of corporate subsidies and tax breaks. If you’re poor, it’s not because you made the mistake of being born into the wrong family. It’s a sign of your own personal failing and therefore, you should be taxed more so that your betters can continue to prosper.

  5. 5
    lorn

    The right wing desire to reward success and punish failure pivots around their definition of success and failure. It all makes sense when you realize that success and failure are determined by the individuals financial situation. Wealthy people are successful; poor people are failures.

    Rewarding success and punishing failure is entirely coherent in their minds with the consistent GOP desire to reduce taxes on the rich and gut the social safety net.

    Which also aligns nicely with their techniques for motivating people. To motivate the poor you threaten them with extreme poverty and starvation. You motivate the wealthy with lavish rewards.

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