As Election Day nears for those of us in the United States, there comes a feeling after awhile that you just want it to be over–the negative ads, the back-and-forth. Usually in the final weeks both candidates are very careful to not give the other side any fresh material to work with, so it gets pretty stale.
What would be very exciting would be some sort of last-minute scandal…but, short of an ill-advised bottle of tequila and an unexplained limousine ride to a bordello, that’s probably not going to happen.
Still, there is this: a curious piece in this month’s Esquire magazine (October 2012), also found at Esquire.com, about Mitt Romney and his greatest achievement while Governor of Massachussetts in 2005: a state-run healthcare program that he created and pushed for, and won its adoption. There was no political bickering, back-stabbing or negativity–it was widely regarded as a success.
It was–quite literally–the very model for Obamacare. But surprisingly, that’s not the controversy.
The controversy is that, in order to get himself elected President of the United States, Romney must disavow any knowledge of this action (to use a phrase from a popular 60s TV show). He must deny his best and greatest accomplishment.
So I wonder now how he has come to this unprecedented pass. How much is the presidency really worth to the man? How deeply do you have to scour your soul to eliminate the good you did for the people who elected you? How much of your conscience do you have to excise before there’s not enough left to remind you that, once, you helped people? What kind of a man plays his own virtue for laughs and turns the better angels of his nature into carnival bozos above a dunk tank for the amusement of the rubes?
That is the place whence springs the fundamental dishonesty of the Romney campaign — the place where he somehow made the decision that the best thing he ever did in public life was the thing that would keep him from being president, and that the latter ambition was worth more than all the work that went into the former, and all the benefits that work produced. It is a fearsome, dead-hearted gamble with the soul. And it all, somehow, comes back to that portrait in the office of the governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and you see it now for what it really is. A moment in time deliberately destroyed by its subject, a still life, stillborn.
Those are some strong words.
It’s a fascinating read on a man who could very well become the next President.