In Mitt Romney’s WorldSeptember 19th, 2012 12:00 am Gene Lyons
When Mitt Romney visited Little Rock a while back for one of those $50,000 per couple fund-raisers where he pretends to tell plutocrats what he really thinks, he acted more like somebody in the Federal Witness Protection Program than a presidential candidate.
Arriving in a limo directly from the airport, Romney came and went through the back entrance of the city’s most expensive hotel—avoiding supporters and protesters clustered outside. I was amazed at the time. Given the state’s fiercely egalitarian mindset, no Arkansas politician would have risked appearing so disdainful of ordinary voters.
The Queen of England, for heaven’s sake, would have walked a rope line and chatted up her subjects. Not Mitt. The GOP nominee took no questions from local reporters, shook no hands, and kissed no babies. He only kissed, we now learn courtesy of a leaked videotape of him speaking to a similarly well-heeled gathering in Florida, the posteriors of his fellow swells.
To Mitt Romney, see, your human worth is directly proportional to the size of your bank account—regardless of where that account is located. Boston, Manhattan, Bermuda, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands; Mitt’s easy like that. It’s why he feels so comfortable running around the country ignoring peasants and begging wealthy people for cash to finance his ambitions.
So anyway, there he was at the Boca Raton estate of an equity fund tycoon otherwise known for being part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, and for throwing bacchanalian parties with “scantily-clad” Russian dancing girls. (Immigrants work cheap.) Responding to a question about how he planned to win in November, Romney momentarily lost confidence.
“I had the most absurd nightmare,” he admitted. “I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house, Penelope hated me and it was all because of this terrible, awful Negro.”
Oops! My bad. That was actually Louis Winthorpe III, the stuffed shirt with a trust fund played by Dan Ackroyd in the comedy “Trading Places.” The terrible Negro was Eddie Murphy, not Barack Obama.
But seriously, confident that nobody in Florida could hear but his fellow swells and the kitchen help, Romney described Democratic voters with disdain bordering upon contempt. Because so many media outlets have resorted to paraphrase to spare your tender feelings, it’s worth quoting at length: