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Romney, GOP Figuratively Holding America Hostage

Daniel Lewin |
November 6, 2012 | 11:43 a.m. PST


Mitt Romney has not display the qualities of leadership America needs.(Austen Hufford, Creative Commons)
Mitt Romney has not display the qualities of leadership America needs.(Austen Hufford, Creative Commons)
Remember that leaked video of Mitt Romney telling a crowded room full of uber-rich donors that 47 percent of Americans were lazy free-loaders with a “victim” mentality? Pretty bad, right? Well, it gets worse. In a less discussed, but, in my opinion, much more significant part of the video, Romney continues on to openly root for a situation similar to the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 at the end of Jimmy Carter’s term. Seriously.

One of the donors in the audience references the Iranian hostage crisis and the advantage it gave Reagan in his campaign, and then disturbingly asks “how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?” Now, I have never found it fair or logical to hold candidates accountable for the words and actions of their surrogates. But Romney wholeheartedly endorsed the suggestion as though he himself had considered it before! In response to the question, he laments that such a situation had not yet occurred in the course of his presidential run, and then goes on to say that “I appreciate the idea...by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Some have argued that Romney's remark is not indicative of any larger attitude or ideology, that it was just an inartfully worded offhand comment. It’s not. First of all, “finding a way to take advantage of the opportunity” is exactly what we saw him and his party do in the wake of the Benghazi attack. Furthermore, this has been the core principle of Republican Party operations for the past four years, since Obama was elected in 2008 and the Democrats regained control of the legislature. Republicans' sole goal was not to better the country, the economy, or the lives of their constituents - it was to increase their chances of getting back into power.

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Do all politicians do this to some extent? Of course. However, unlike the average politician, the GOP of the last  four years has made it its stated, number one political goal. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in an interview with the Washington Post. Not the economy, not healthcare, not abortion, gay marriage, taxes, foreign policy, or any kind of concrete issue or policy - just getting Obama out of office. Serving their constituents is not their concern. This is not politics as usual; this is politics turned completely on its head.

The consequences for the country are completely immaterial to your Republican representatives - all that matters is what will hurt the Democrats most. This objective isn’t just a rejection of bi-partisanship, it’s governmental suicide! I don’t believe that Mitt is actively hoping for American lives to be endangered - of course that's not the case. He just literally does not care one way or another. He is pro-whatever gives him the best chance to get elected. Crises that threaten the safety and well-being of American citizens are great “opportunities” to increase their electoral chances. He’s proven this before, but this case is particularly painful and discomforting to watch.

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Democrats propose an idea to reform healthcare that is basically a slightly modified Republican idea? Nope, Republicans don’t support it. Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling, a routine procedure that we have done many times over the years? Nope. Not raising the debt ceiling would destroy the faith and credit of the U.S. government and plunge the world financial system into massive chaos that would take years if not decades to recover from? Still a big fat NO - this is “a hostage worth ransoming” to the Republicans (though they did eventually relent after getting McConnell’s “ransom”). Nothing is off-limits as long as it gives the Republicans a political advantage. A debt crisis that destroys the American dollar and with it, takes down the world financial system? Americans being taken hostage by foreign terrorists and being put through an unimaginable ordeal? The Republicans sure wouldn’t mind - after all, think how bad that would look for Obama.

So here we are - hours away from the election of the next president of the United States, and we have a video of Mitt Romney clearly, almost gleefully, endorsing more of the same types of policies. Unfathomable and arguably treasonous, this mentality is unacceptable for the leader of the free world.

I am on the record as a supporter of President Obama’s policies much more frequently than I am a supporter of Romney’s policies. Saying I have a political leaning is an understatement, I’ll give you that. But this isn’t about policy. This isn’t about politics. You can’t find this on either party’s platform. This is about character, this is about leadership. This is about not figuratively holding your country hostage and wishing for others to literally do the same. America needs a leader in these difficult times. This is not leadership, and Governor Romney is no leader.

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