By A. G. Moore 10/23
Biographies of presidents are notoriously speculative and inevitably reflect the ideological inclinations of the books’ authors. Volumes have been written about George W. Bush and his purported Oedipal struggle with his father. And treatises about Barack O’bama’s essential motivation—his father’s absence, biracial heritage and childhood sojourn in Indonesia–will be written long after his presidency has ended. But for Mitt Romney, should he assume the presidency, I predict no such fraught analysis. Romney, if he is a puzzle at all, perplexes commentators precisely because he lacks complexity.
Romney is a linear man. People joke about his robotic mannerisms, his mechanical laugh, his lack of affect in unscripted moments. That’s because he’s following a program that was designed for him before his birth. Mitt Romney was born into a complete universe, a kind of cocoon which provided for him an identity, one he has worn comfortably ever since.
What is it, exactly, that shaped the character of Mitt Romney? His Mormonism. And the material benefits of his family heritage. There’s no evidence anyone can find in Mitt Romney’s personal history which demonstrates that he deviated from the path upon which he was set when he took his first steps in life.
Mr. Romney stayed in the comfortable envelope of his birthright, and accepted with ease the legacy of elevated social stature. He skipped all the arduous, character-molding stages most people go through; he was content with life as he found it. The ontological framework into which fortune delivered Mitt promised him eternal primacy. As a Mormon male he would rule over his nuclear world–forever. And he would be insulated from troubling thoughts, because his faith provided an answer for any question that might arise.
It’s no wonder Romney was able to call without embarrassment the CEO’s of major companies and recommend they tell their workers how to vote. Nothing in his world view would lead him to think that workers would be able to decide for themselves what was in their best interest.
Romney and his partisan supporters are quick to accuse Obama of engaging in class warfare. This is because the Romney clique is indignant that workers are encouraged to see themselves as an interest group—and yet, what does Romney’s CEO telephone campaign demonstrate, but class warfare?
The difference in the so-called class warfare of progressives and the class warfare of Romney is this: progressives ask workers to use their own vote for their own interests; Romney asks CEO’s not only to vote on their own behalf, but to appropriates the worker’s franchise. Romney and his cohorts actually believe they are entitled to their own votes and their employees’ votes.
Seignior Romney is asserting his manorial prerogatives. He’s clear: workers must understand that if they vote against the interests of the CEO, they will be punished. How incredibly, unabashedly medieval: if the lord of the manor prospers, then all who are in the lord’s purview will eat; if the lord is displeased, he has elsewhere to go. He can shut down the estate in displeasure and all who depend on the manor for sustenance will starve.
No single act by Mitt Romney more clearly betrays his intrinsic contempt for democracy and social equity than his CEO phone campaign. Romney’s behavior is startling in its lack of self-awareness. Startling and frightening. Because Romney and his medieval world view stand stand a very good chance of prevailing in November’s elections.
***Seigniory: In feudal times, lordship. On the feudal estate, the authority of a lord over all those in his dominion.