The Stealth Candidate
A pitchman who aspires to be President
Notes on the Invisible Man
In Mitt Romney we have a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, the most powerful office in the world, who refuses to come clean about issues that are critical to our understanding of what he believes, his personal history and his intentions for the nation; the kinds of things that will tell us who the guy really is. We are not to ask about Mitt’s religious beliefs – especially on questions of race and gender equality – or his wife’s history in the work place, although he tells us she counsels him on women’s aspirations.
We are also not supposed to demand that Mitt tell us just what government programs he would eliminate, although he has promised to cut a trillion dollars or more from the federal budget. And he has said on the public record that questions about the vast inequity in the distribution of wealth in America should be confined to “quiet conversations in private.” In Mitt’s view, such questions are not fit topics for public discussion.
Mitt’s activities as a corporate raider, which he posits as his main qualification for President, are also off limits. So are his secret accounts in foreign banks which serve as havens for tax avoidance; as well as his tax returns over the period of years set by his father, George Romney, a former Governor of Michigan who also ran for President. Furthermore Mitt refuses to disclose the identity of the financial bundlers raising grand theft dough to fund his candidacy.
All most Americans really know about Mitt Romney is that he was born to the purple, got two Harvard degrees, and is worth a quarter of a billion dollars which he accumulated from his raider days kicking workers to the curb with nothing – no benefits or pensions – nothing! And we know that he and his wife look like an aging Ken and Barbie! That’s about it.
Mitt is rumored to be a Bishop in the Church of the Latter Day Saints i.e. the Mormons, but nobody seems to know for sure, or what it means if he is. Yet this would make Mitt the highest ranking religious official ever to occupy the Oval Office should he win the election. Where I grew up choosing a candidate who has not been fully examined is called “buying a pig in a poke,” and even children had better sense than to do that.
The most pressing question raised by Mitt’s refusal to come clean on all of these questions is: What is he hiding? Is he afraid that if voters knew that until 1978 he was a leader in a church that taught black people were cursed because we were evil in a former existence? Or that this racist belief is central to Mormon theology and has never been denounced. Is he afraid we might find out that he believes in magic underwear that can protect him from harm? Or is he squeamish about the vulgar, male chauvinist, medieval attitude the Mormon Church teaches regarding women.
Perhaps this explains Mitt’s pusillanimous response to Rush Limbaugh’s shameful attack on George town law student Sandra Fluke, when he called her a whore on a national broadcast and said we should be allowed to watch her having sex, just because she supported insurance coverage for contraceptives. And maybe it also explains why Mitt thinks he can say the most ridiculous things about President Obama, and get away with it.
Maybe Mitt is scared that we might discover that he has been gaming the tax code by hiding money offshore; or that he has never had to worry about health insurance or missing a meal in his life. Maybe he’s afraid that if voters knew this, his pledge to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act – although his health care proposal consists of exactly 331 words – and shred the safety net that provides subsistence aid to those in desperate straits, while slashing the taxes of the plutocrats, would go over like a concrete balloon with working and middle class voters – who comprise the majority of the electorate.
It could be that he is terrified of having his former company’s record of closing factories and shipping American jobs overseas seriously examined; or that he has pledged to make massive cuts in federal assistance to vital public services in the nation’s cities. Maybe Mitt’s scared to death that if they knew his solution to all our economic problems is to reinstate the Bush economic program, except as Bill Clinton observed “this time on steroids,” the American electorate might not prove to be as stupid as he thinks. That’s the main reason why Mitt is a stealth candidate who remains a mystery man even as he ask us to elect him our next President….But I’ma try my level best to put all the suckas business in the streets!
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
June 14, 2012