Mitt Romney thinks you’re dumb. Maybe he’s sure of it.
He knows he doesn’t need to release his tax returns, as his father and every major presidential candidate have done for generations. He knows he didn’t need to release the names of the bundlers who have raised millions for his campaign as every candidate has done since the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform went into law. He’s sure he can propose trillions in new tax cuts, claim they’ll pay for themselves and never explain how.
So why wouldn’t Mitt Romney believe the American people are dumb?
From his business career to his life in politics, his life has been an endless process of running as a progressive savior and governing like a Fox News commentator.
Gene Lyons said it best,“Mitt’s less a flip-flopper than a particularly shameless opportunist.”
And Mitt has suffered zero consequences for shamelessly shifting on everything. He doesn’t just lie about what he will do and what he believes; he lies about what he’s done.
He rants against debt and government spending when his entire business career was built on leveraging debt, and he “saved” the Salt Lake City Olympics with government spending. He would be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy and as governor waged a one-man war on gay couples being able to adopt. He passed a health care plan that he said would be a model for the nation and then ran against his health care plan being adopted by the nation.
In his lifelong quest to become president, Mitt Romney has been for and against nearly everything, including grits. His goal has been to make it perfectly impossible to attack him for what he believes because you can’t figure out what he believes. Sure he said spending federal money on disaster relief was immoral, but that was before disaster relief was popular.
Being for everything is kind of a politician’s dream. But even in a trade that depends on pleasing a majority of the people all of the time, no one would dare dream to dash from stance to stance as Romney has.
Thankfully, there’s one stance Mitt Romney has taken that he hasn’t been able to erase or cloud with lies—and when he tried, he only made it worse.
In November of 2008, Romney said “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” And he meant it.
To be clear, the auto industry would have crumbled without an immediate injection of cash. The CEO of General Motors says they needed cash ASAP to survive and none—zero—was available in the private sector, even from Bain Capital. Yes, Romney was proposing government help—but only after bankruptcy.
Why did Mitt Romney want Detroit to go straight into bankruptcy? He wasn’t trying to destroy the auto industry, though he was risking just that. He was trying to destroy the auto workers’ union.
Romney was acting on the one true belief he has in life—workers have to suffer in order for investors to thrive. Unions exist to make sure that doesn’t always happen.
The United Auto Workers survived. And on Thursday, the UAW joined several other non-partisan groups in filing a formal ethics complaint against Mitt Romney.
Of course, the UAW didn’t make it out of the auto rescue unscathed. Retirees had to give up benefits and new hires saw their salaries cut dramatically. But a million jobs exist today because no one followed Mitt Romney’s advice. And the jobs that survived because of the president’s auto rescue are the kind of jobs that built the middle class in the part of the country where the middle class began: Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.
If you want to know what the auto bailout would have looked like under Romney, look at the company that’s the basis of the UAW’s complaint: Delphi Automotive.
Delphi went bankrupt in 2005 and was taken over by “vulture funds” that cut employees wages and erased pensions. The funds also held General Motors hostage during the worst of the Great Recession in order to receive government subsidies without a requirement that they minimize job losses. They got what the wanted and then shut down 24 plants and completely eliminated all union jobs at Delphi.
The company then expanded its workforce by 25,000—in China.
How does this involve Mitt Romney? His wife’s blind trust is invested in the fund that choked the American jobs out of Delphi. And he never disclosed this potential conflict of interest in his campaign disclosure forms.
What did Mitt Romney do instead of revealing that his family made millions shipping automotive jobs to China and Mexico?
He accused Jeep of doing exactly what Delphi was guilty of—moving jobs from Ohio abroad.
Remarkably, Chrysler and then General Motors went out of their way to fact-check Romney’s lies—pointing out that they’ve both added jobs in the state. They were kind enough to not add that if Romney had his way, America might be out more than a million good jobs.
Opposing the auto bailout was a easy thing to do in 2009, when it was less popular that laws dictating soda size. But in Ohio, the memories of where Mitt Romney stood and stands still linger. He sees crucial American jobs as playthings to be used to put the guys who always win just a few steps ahead.
That may have made him rich, but it shouldn’t help him win Ohio.
Mitt Romney is betting on the American people being dumb. But luckily for us, when it came to the auto industry, he made what he stands for perfectly clear.