|"I am truly humbled by how awesome it would be for me to be president."|
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.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:
(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.
(1) America needs to return to a Christianized awesomeness.The main takeaway from Romney's speech is that he has illustrated what George Orwell complained about in "Politics and the English Language" (1946):
(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.
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?