The GOP spent the nomination process thrashing around rushing from one mediocre candidate after another before just as quickly dropping them. Perry, Cane, Sanatorium, Gingrich…All of them failed to be the savior that the Republican base was looking for. In the end Romney won the nomination because he was the least unappealing candidate. All the rest really were disappointing, while Romney was only half disappointing. That does not make him attractive, except when compared to the other Republican candidates. Compared to Obama, Romney has a problem.
While Obama is highly charismatic, relaxed, and humorous, while Romney is stiff and uptight. But, of course he is. Romney is the quintessential Mormon and Mormons tend to be weighed down by responsibility and ambition. Having God watching you all the time, and needing to be worthy enough to become a god eventually tends to make people earnest and serious. Personally I could care less if Romney is serious and stiff. What I care about are candidates´ qualifications to run the country. But I must be in a minority, because candidates usually win by winning the “who would I want to have a beer with?” Charisma-not substance-is what seems to motivate the average voter. Reagan, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama all have charisma and they all won by using it.
So Romney has a major problem with his lack of folksy charm. On top of that he is a mulch-millionaire at a time when class divisions are greater than ever. The 1% has been steadily getting richer, these past few decades, while the bottom half has steadily gotten poorer. While top bankers created the financial crisis, they were rewarded with bailouts and mega bonuses, while the rest of the country suffered. In this climate of resentment having a typical plutocrat running for office is a challenge. The Democrats have been exploiting this message to the fullest. Romney making statements like “I love to fire people.” and “Corporations are people.” have not helped.
On top of that Romney earned his money in a way that is typical of the financial games that the very rich play, to make out like bandits by exploiting the system. Romney did not make his fortune by building a successful tech company like Steve Jobs, which actually makes something useful that contributes to the economy and creates employment. Instead Romney worked in Bane Capital, a Venture Capital firm, ostensibly focused of fixing up companies and then selling them for a profit. In theory great.
The problem is that Bane Capital would pay themselves huge bonuses derived from taking out massive loans using the companies that they bought on margin, as collateral. For instance, they would buy a company, and then pay themselves $75 million in bonuses, that came from debt newly extracted from the acquired company. Then they would sell off the company, keep the money, and hope for the best. Sometimes Bane Capital would be able to find efficiencies in their acquired companies, and they would do better. But just as frequently they left once successful companies as shells of their former self, weighed down by new debt (spent on massive bonuses) and employee attrition.
For me fixing up a company to later sell it for a profit is a perfectly legitimate undertaking. The problem is when companies like Bane Capital paid themselves huge bonuses, even they screwed up companies. It is a nice racket because Bane Capital gets paid massively whether they are successful or not. Does this sound familiar? CEOs who get large golden parachutes for running companies into the ground, and incompetent bankers who are rewarded with bail outs and record bonuses. Too much of modern wealth accrual is focused around ways to financially game the system, while providing nothing positive economically. They are just clever and manipulative ways to move money around. Romney likes to paint himself as a businessman and entrepreneur, but his type of business leaves something to be desired.
On top of that Romney has a problem with flip flopping, which gives the impression that seeking power is more important than principle for him. I have also heard Romney skillfully tap dance around awkward question without ever really answering them. While I can admire his ability to BS, I would prefer a candidate to actually honestly addresses questions presented to him. Ron Paul has a sincerity and genuineness about him that Romney sorely lacks. That is why I liked his leaked comments about the 47%, because for once he was articulating a clear opinion, and I knew where he stood. Normally he is so opaque, that it hard to know what the man really believes in, if anything.
More troubling is the way that the Republican Party engaged in voter fraud to shove the Romney candidacy thru by force, and trample on Ron Paul voters. Anyone associated with circumventing democracy, the rule of law, and the will of the people cannot be good. If the Republican Party loves Romney sooooooo much that must be a bad sign.
Finally for me the deal breaker was when Romney unequivocally supported the NDAA. That was going too far for me to swallow, and he lost any chance of getting my vote then and there. We do not need another authoritarian in power.
I wanted to like Romney. He had a Mormon earnestness and seriousness about him that I found appealing compared to Obama´s jive and shuck personality. But in the end the two are pretty similar. They both want power and have sold their principles to do so.
So, we have two lousy more-of-the-same candidates in Romney and Obama. This election I am going third party candidate. People say that I am throwing my vote away, but I believe that voting for more of the same, is just throwing our votes away by reinforcing the failed status quo. Of course if enough people do like I do then we will become a force to be reckoned with, and we can start changing things.