The end of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign signals the beginning of the general election that we’ll follow through November (Gingrich is hanging on until the race gets a terminal disease, in which case he’ll follow his own example in leaving his cancer-stricken wife in the hospital; Ron Paul is little more than a cult leader who will never amount to much in American politics) and it clarifies the position of the modern Republican Party as the ultimate ‘“Manchurian Candidate.”
If you haven’t seen “The Manchurian Candidate” (the original 1962 film, although Romney’s Republican Party is closer to the corporate stooge portrayed in the 2004 variation than the original), the plot is pretty basic: a politician is enticed via brainwashing to become the unwitting aid of a conspiracy against the United States, all the while rising to the presidency.
While there is not likely a literal conspiracy against the United States by the men and women of Wall Street, if the shoe fits, Mitt Romney will certainly wear it with pride.
Consider the background of Mitt Romney. Born into wealth, Romney has lived much of his life as a trust-fund baby. Romney’s father, George Romney, was a Republican presidential candidate half a century ago, losing out to Richard Nixon after “going off the reservation” with regard to the Republican position on the Vietnam War; Romney served under Nixon as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a consistent advocate on behalf of the poor and minority groups (this eventually led to conflicts between he and Nixon and caused Romney to leave the administration in 1973).
Unlike his father, who advocated public service, Mitt Romney has never been much into the idea of noblesse oblige. He spent his private sector career destroying the jobs of South Carolina steelworkers to give investors in Bain Capital a little bit more on their dividend checks; the younger Romney’s public sector career has been limited to taking a new position on an issue based on the time of day.
While the elder Romney was a Republican in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower, fighting against the siege of the Republican Party by right-wing extremists like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, the younger Romney has embraced the same extremists as his best hope for defeating Barack Obama in November.
The extremists of the right pillar the President for supposedly being “un-American,” attacking the leader of the free world for being “unpatriotic,” all while ignoring the fact that until very recently, Mitt Romney wasn’t paying taxes in the United States. The attacks on Barack Obama as a man who is somehow “unpatriotic” are laughable in the face of Mitt Romney’s refusal to pay taxes in America, support for letting the American auto industry go broke and private sector record of destroying American jobs and putting Americans out of work. In that sense, Romney isn’t a real Manchurian Candidate because he’s actually a willing participant in the Republican Party’s quest to roll back the New Deal.
In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt was attacked by the left and the right for his attempt to rescue American capitalism by reforming its abuses; the left saw Roosevelt as a conniving capitalist seeking to introduce fascism in America while the right saw Roosevelt as a socialist.
Roosevelt’s goal of a regulated economy came to pass and the result was the birth of a middle class democracy in the United States.
The question then, for the American public is whether this future is desirable for the American public; Mitt Romney is no authoritarian, but a victory for Reagan-Romney-Ryan capitalism in America would be a victory for future American Caesars. The duty of the American voter in November is to save American capitalism from itself; to reform, so that we may preserve.