Mitt Romney: The Real Life Dickens Villain of the GOP

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This week Republican primary co-front runner Mitt Romney demonstrated once again that neither he, nor his increasingly radical political party give a fig about the quality of life of America’s middle class. Multiple media outlets reported Romney’s compassionately conservative response to a struggling college student who queried him at a town hall meeting about the profoundly unaffordable costs of a college degree in the 21st Century.

My favorite headline came courtesy of New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait: “Mitt: Pay for Your Own Damn College!” Chait distilled Romney’s heartless rejoinder rather well. What Mittens actually said was:

It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that. Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.

Charles Dickens first published his classic novel David Copperfield in 1850, featuring the villainous Uriah Heep, described in a Wikipedia entry as a character “notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and insincerity, making frequent references to his own ‘humbleness.’ His name has become synonymous with being a yes man.”

It’s tempting to believe Dickens may have been clairvoyant in his creation of Heep, conjuring a future in which a quarter of a billionaire automaton can make like a living, breathing regular guy. I thought that the gold standard for radical right wing pandering had been provided by “Maverick” John McCain during the 2008 campaign, but McCain’s about faces on issues like immigration in order to secure his party’s trust simply don’t do Romney’s kowtowing justice. Is there anything this former moderate, somewhat socially liberal fraud won’t say to get the nomination?

In this case however, we have reason to suspect that Mittens said exactly what he means. After all, why should he care? He and every friend he has possess the cash and the Ivy League legacies to ensure that their offspring will go to the higher learning institutions of their choosing. It’s not they who will be saddled with debt after graduation. And if that “little lower price” degree from a state school that Romney so generously recommends for you should still run an average of $40,000 before factoring in room and board, well you’ve got two choices don’t you? A lifetime of debt or minimum wage. It’s your problem for not being born rich.

What’s perhaps more telling is Chait’s observation that Romney’s comments at the town hall were met with “sustained applause from the crowd at a high-tech metals assembly factory.” Now I am going to go out on a limb and hazard that attendees at a Romney gathering are going to lean mostly right, so ok, these folks were predisposed to drink in the bland Kool-Aid that is the Mitt brew. But factory workers cheering a candidate who unapologetically snubs his nose at the idea of affordable, universal education? How much longer can Republicans expect they are going to find willing accomplices within the hard working, low paid ranks of their base? Sooner or later the spell will be broken. It has to be.

Bold attacks on middle class infrastructure is nothing new to the GOP. You won’t hear them complaining about the stagnant wages of workers while CEO pay has skyrocketed. They have no qualms touting party planks that champion the withholding of rights from everyone from members of the gay community to females who wish to make decisions regarding their own bodies. But the blatant, sound-bite ready pride with which these candidates can look a student dead in the eye and tell them to toughen up, while boasting about the two Cadillacs in the driveway, is just sickening.

6 Replies to “Mitt Romney: The Real Life Dickens Villain of the GOP”

  1. Yes, how dare students ask for help paying for their education (even though everyone would benefit from their being able to get a better job at better pay). Romney says we need more money for his planned war against Iran and more tax breaks for him and his rich friends, so there’s just not enough for student aid.

  2. It just continues to boggle my mind that this line of thinking can persist. I guess at the end of the day, the message to be taken away from this is that even though “Mittens” (I love that! Keep using it.) claims to be wanting to save our economy it is really just lip service and that his true opinion sits in the “Let Detroit die” camp. How can our country grow its economy with an uneducated work force? Quite frankly it can’t, because education leads to innovation. Why is this fact lost on people like “Mittens”? You hit it on the head with your assessment that basically Mittens sees the inability for someone to get a manageable education as someone else’s problem. While he and his buddies must love that an increased pool of uneducated labor can only help to add to their pocket book because they then have to pay people less.

    At least I hear Staples is hiring.

    (This is not a shot at the wonderful Staples employees who sell me pens and printer toner.)

  3. I am firmly of the opinion that the GOP is united in rattling sabers over Iran just to drive up the price of oil via speculation on Wall Street/

    Mitt is no different.

  4. Couldn’t agree more that’s exactly what they’re doing, hoping to drive up prices and scare the crap out of their ignorant base.

  5. I would prefer lowering the tuition at state college/universities so the students don’t have so much debt. Also we need to go after the textbook publishers. I was just looking up the value of one of my old textbooks. I bought it in the late 80’s for under $30 hardback. The latest edition is $155 for paperback!

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