Thursday, 6 September 2012

Can Mitt Romney make it to the White House on the back of the largest lie ever told by a U.S. President?

Whenever the cries for higher top tax rates, an end to astronomical bonuses, or demands for tighter regulation on finance become too loud, a Government minister will unfailing pop up to tell us that we can't be too hard on the rich, otherwise they'll all fly their private jets to a tax haven like Switzerland or Monaco on a permanent basis.

Ignoring for a second the moral appropriateness of allowing the super-rich to dictate the terms on which they're prepared to stick around, The Golden Latrine is taken with the idea of emigration as a means of expressing dissent. Thus, if Mitt Romney win the U.S. election race, a move elsewhere in the solar system is on the cards. Possibly Mars, although I hear Io is quite nice this time of year.

In a brilliant (if very long) piece in Rolling Stone magazine, Matt Taibbi looked at Romney's attempt to portray himself as a financial "turnaround artist" who has "saved" millions of regular Americans' jobs. As Taibbi writes:
By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. 
That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you'll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It's almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.
Those last two sentences are prefect. This is presidential politics as call-my-bluff and you can't help but admire the sheer shininess of Romney's brass balls. Given that a major news station like CNN was happy to wave away a number of outright lies by Romney's running mate Paul Ryan and instead spout some platitudes about how photogenic he looked on stage with his family, the chances of Romney pulling this off are not as remote as some liberals seem to think.

It might be time to start thinking of emigrating. Now where to go? Is the moon far enough away?