Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romney's Victory Speech from New Hampshire

"I am truly humbled by how awesome it would be for me to be president."
Mitt Romney has spent decades running for the U.S. presidency. I remember when he campaigned for governor of Massachusetts. Everybody knew then he was angling for a bigger job; it was one of the knocks against him.

Romney's recent victories in Iowa and New Hampshire owe themselves to his monumental efforts for years to fashion himself into candidacy. I'm interested to see how he fares in the south and midwest. Will he be confirmed as the GOP candidate or taken down as too middle-of-the-road?

I won't vote for Romney. He was only a fair governor, and he seems to me to represent a more deleterious option than even the Obama administration. His espoused actions and values would benefit the well-off in the immediate future, leave workers and unemployed on their own, and devastate the poorest and neediest. I speculate, of course.

In a political campaign, the speeches alone have any value. They are where one learns about who the candidates think they are and who they are fighting. Here are selections from Romney's speech last night, following his victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary. I number them for reference afterward.
(1) Americans know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times. We still believe in the hope, the promise, and the dream of America. We still believe in that shining city on a hill.

(2) The president has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.

(3) President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique - We are One Nation, Under God.

(4) Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defense.

Our campaign is about more than replacing a president; it is about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies.

President Obama wants to ‘fundamentally transform’ America. We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great.

He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.

This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America.

This president puts his faith in government. We put our faith in the American people.

He is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter.

He raised the national debt. I will cut, cap, and balance the budget.

He enacted job-killing regulations; I’ll eliminate them.

He lost our AAA credit rating; I’ll restore it.

He passed Obamacare; I’ll repeal it.

When it comes to the economy, my highest priority as president will be worrying about your job, not saving my own.

(5) Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America’s role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must – and will – lead the future.

He doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.

He chastises friends like Israel; I’ll stand with our friends.

He apologizes for America; I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth.

Our plans protect freedom and opportunity, and our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States.
I could have selected more passages, but this sample shows us plenty about Romney and the drama he wants people to imagine for the campaign:
(1) America needs to return to a Christianized awesomeness.
(2) Obama is weak and effete; the men are now coming to fix it all.
(3) Don't hate the well-off; we love the little people. If you are struggling, God wants you to STFU.
(4) America needs to just let business shit ride because as long as the people have jobs, it will all be okay.
(5) America needs to act like a bad-ass.
The main takeaway from Romney's speech is that he has illustrated what George Orwell complained about in "Politics and the English Language" (1946):
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.
The selected examples from Romney's speech show a deliberate, cynical attempt to invoke authority by ideal. The "city on a hill" meme in (1) traces back to the biblical Isaiah and the Sermon on the Mount as well as to more recent political speeches by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Example (2) casts Obama as the weak mayor of an old west town--yer out of time, mister! Romney's being an irresponsible dick in (3): "bitter politics of envy" means nothing except to invoke divisiveness to criticize others for being divisive. What can be more vacuous than saying "We are One Nation, Under God"? Anyone left in the room after hearing (3) should have walked away from Romney the second his verbal dysentery resulted in the soul and destiny-inflected slogans of (4). That whole passage says only that Romney's do-nothing policies will be enacted with a more pleasant and palatable attitude. And (5), too, is all about America's posture.

This rhetoric is intolerable. It's insulting. Do people really buy Romney's message? Why?


  1. I like the conservatism Romney articulates but problem is he's a total flip flopper.

  2. I see. What exactly about "the conservatism Romney articulates" seems like a good idea for leading a 21st century nation?

    I'm genuinely curious.

  3. american exceptionalism, having policies that are pro job growth, getting rid of obamacare, and getting rid of the national debt.

  4. And a chicken in every pot and every man a king, too, I suppose.

    Lofty goals are nice (though american exceptionalism seems rude and unnecessary), but working plans that factor in the intended and unintended consequences over the long-term are even better.

  5. What works over the long haul is markets. The problem is that most Republicans are far less interested in markets than Obama, and Romney is certainly a shining example. They advocate nothing other than unlimited corporate welfare.


Feel free to comment if you have something substantial and substantiated to say.