What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: fotocraz
At the May 3, 2007, GOP Debate held in California, former governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked the following question:
What do you dislike most about America?
His answer reeks of political whitewashing:
Gosh. I love America. I’m afraid I’m going to be at a loss for words because America for me is not just our rolling mountains and hills and streams and great cities. It’s the American people.
And the American people are the greatest people in the world. What makes America the greatest nation in the world is the heart of the American people: hardworking, innovative, risk-taking, God- loving, family-oriented American people.
It’s that optimism we thank Ronald Reagan for. Thank you, Mrs. Reagan, for opening up this place in his memory for us. It is that optimism about this great people that makes this the greatest nation on earth.
Please show me, if you can, where in that statement he addressed the question.
This style of rhetoric is classic Romney. He was captured using it in a 1994 debate for a Senate position (skip to 3:35 to see the relevant part), and also recently pulled the same maneuver when asked about his beliefs regarding Christ’s second coming.
Straight questions deserve straight answers. I’m reminded of the following summary of politicians:
A professional politician is a professionally dishonourable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker. (Henry Louis Mencken)