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home : opinions : opinions July 9, 2014

10/6/2012 1:01:00 PM
Letter: It boils down to character


Warm and fuzzy Mitt (last night’s debate)? Alpha dog CEO of a private equity firm, who “loves to fire people,” and would allow banks and General Motors to fail? Take your pick. Everyone has a pretty good idea where the president stands on issues. Governor Romney? Depends. Who he’s talking to. Time of day. Where he happens to be at the moment. In front of 40 million viewers.

A hidden camera.

To a room full of billionaires: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it … who pay no income tax … My job is not to worry about those people …” Later, he backfilled, claiming it was “not elegantly stated.” Mr. Gohr -- wrongly -- suspects strategic editing. A crime committed? Unimportant (Mr. Gohr has overlooked the “Acorn” sting). Forget, even, the (plainly) unedited words.

Listen to the tone.

Etiquette aside, in one, icy-cold paragraph, like a spreadsheet full of numbers, Governor Romney wrote off nearly half of us as “those people.” Quote. Unquote. His words, unedited. Taken in context. And Mr. Barber worries about Obama‘s “divisiveness “and “class warfare…”

In a previous letter, Mr. Barber deliberately misquoted the President (as others have) out of context, who was not referring to government as the “we,” but “we, the people” -- the working men and women, who don‘t happen to be venture capitalists with rich daddies and Harvard pedigrees. Republican Governors asked for flexibility on welfare work rules. He gave it to them, using his prerogative as Chief Executive. Constitutionally supported. Divisive? Just the opposite.

An open hand across the aisle.

Mr. Williams should stay away from those viral emails and slick propaganda films made by has-been hack political pundits with an ax to grind. Obama a Marxist? I, too, am a lifetime student of history (happen to have a college degree in it). Also, a well-thumbed, pocket edition of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Have read the Federalist Papers. I would never stoop to calling him a “fool.” His intentions, misguided, but certainly not “evil.” That said, I don’t think Mr. Williams would know “dialectic materialism” from a red fire hydrant.

It boils down to a question of character -- Governor Romney’s.

He gave his inheritance to his church, but bankrolled his education by cashing in stock from his father (worth about $377,000 in today’s dollars). Ann Romney: “They were not easy years … two years as students with no income … Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time … We took the now-famous loan that Mitt talks about from his father and bought a $42,000 home in Belmont.”

Inflation-adjusted, approximately $223,000 today. Purchased with “other people’s money” -- his dad’s. Self-made man, indeed! At a May 2012 fundraiser, he proudly proclaimed, “I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned, I earned the old-fashioned way.”

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!” (King Lear, Act 1, scene 4)

In 2008, he paid $12 million (cash) for a beach house in California, then, engaged an attorney to get him a $189,000 break on his property taxes (aka, “wealth re-distribution”). At a time when San Diego was laying off teachers because of a budget shortfall. This year he was granted a permit to demolish the same house, because it was “too small for his family” (all his kids are grown). He says he’ll wait until after the election to tear it down.

As a college student, he demonstrated in favor of the Vietnam War (when Nixon sent troops into Cambodia). Instead of patriotically volunteering for military service, he received four separate student deferments from his draft board (same number as Dick Cheney), as well as a ministerial deferment for missionary work in France (this, at a time when young Americans were dying, face down, in flooded rice paddies). Like Dick Cheney said during his confirmation hearing as Reagan’s Defense Secretary, he had “other priorities.”


Mr. Barber used a quote mistakenly attributed to Lincoln (by way of Carl Sandburg), but actually coined by American showman (and con man) Phineas T. Barnum. Some of the people all of the time?

Mr. Barber has some sense of humor, doesn’t he?

John Lockway


Related Stories:
• Letter: A camel is better than no horse at all
• Letter: Romney wins strength of character hands-down
• Letter: Mr. Burke has some sense of humor, doesn’t he?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: M J

Re: johnnie (u know who u r)
such hate!

"i read so i r a historian"

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Article comment by: John Lockway

To Emmy-Jay “Boy” (U Don’t Know Who U R):

The Russian, doofus ambassador misheard his name. That was the point about the Russian ambassador (and you). You probably tried to scam your high school English teacher with that “both are correct” song-and-dance. Be a Big Boy -- for once -- and admit you blew it.

“where does all your hate come from??? making fun of someone committing suicide??” Yeah, like the time you actually suggested someone take their own life to ease the Earth’s environmental burden. (Thought you got away with that one, didn‘t you?) “wow - sad - even for u.” Kosinki did put a bag over his head. I know how he felt . Twist it all you want (easy for you, since “warped“ is your middle name). “Irrational rants?” “Sick?”

You own the patent.

Every time you bully someone and strut around afterwards like a jack-booted eunuch rooster, you resurrect the Weimar Republic endgame nightmare. All that’s missing are armbands and stiff-arm salutes. An historian is anybody who reads history (that‘s what we were taught). You could be one -- if you read, that is. Right-wing talking-point agitprop and Rush don’t count. Don’t bother answering. You think you know all the answers, already.

You don’t have a clue.

To Danny Smith:

Bet that had them in stitches back in the 3rd Grade. Never owned a chicken (though, I’ve encountered a few turkeys, lately). Never called you a racist. Not once did I blame it all on Bush. There are no simple answers (only the simple-minded). Like MJ, all you bring to the picnic is a smirk on your face

To nutso fasst::

Platitudes? Bin Laden, Gaddafi, dead. Auto industry, alive and kicking. 7.8% unemployment (instead of 10.1%). Rising home prices. Foreclosure rates lowest since 2008. Not great, but…

…11% overall Euro Zone unemployment. Spain, 25%. A declining Euro. Austerity. Political upheaval. Tear gas. Flaming Molotov‘s. Slowing economies in China, India. Presidents have to live in an imperfect world. I’d give Obama a B-minus.

Mitt would take us back to 1987. Junk bond collapse/market meltdown (Reagan) -- when the MHI nose-dived. A saving-and loan crisis. (G.H.W. Bush. Still paying for that one.) Endless wars and imperial saber-rattling. (G.W. Bush) Bubbles galore. (Mitt would repeal Dodd-Frank. Well, he likes some parts of it…sort of.)

Is there such a thing as a grade lower than “F-minus?”

Unlike the others, you, at least, make a genuine effort to discuss issues in an intelligent fashion and shed some light. Please continue sharing your thoughts.

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Jane

@ MJ

If you just change the words in your blog from "barack hussein obama" to "willard 'Thurston Howell III' romney" you will have hit the nail on the head!

Unlike some who blog on this forum, I always look forward to reading your inane propaganda!

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

'Chance the gardener' was Obama the community organizer, spouting platitudes to incite a community into extorting special treatment from government and/or business through threats of disruption. 'Chauncy Gardiner' was Obama the presidential candidate, spouting the same platitudes to convince voters that he represented whatever governmental change they hoped for.

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: Danny Smith

Why did John's chicken cross the road? Because it was George Bush's fault and your a racist!

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: M J

Re: johnnie (u know who u r)
actually johnnie, in the movie the Russian Ambassador calls him "Chauncey Gardiner" so both are correct.

question for u (don't bother answering - I know the answer)
A real historian is published, book, some type of professional journal, magazine even (sorry, but 4 pages published from your PC does not count). A student of history just reads and enjoys history. soooooo, what are u? historian or a student of history????
my guess - student.
question for u (don't bother answering - I know the answer)
where does all your hate come from??? making fun of someone committing suicide?? wow - sad - even for u. I'm finished with the likes of u ......... your ill-rational rants have taken a sick turn ....... go join the kazoo band with john b.
And noooooo, this is not Germany 1932 - get a gripe ...... opppssss ..... too late.

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: county resident

@John Lockway:

"my job is not to worry about those people."

'These people' are well taken care of John. See previous sentence for verification.

Now....where were we? Oh yeah.

Hold on a minute... I have to go get my violin...

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Article comment by: John Munroe

Mr. Bond

...all the way down to chameleon - wow - don't think much of your guy do ya.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: John Lockway

Emmy-Jay, in a history quiz between you and the fence post, the fence post wins -- every time. Sooooooooooo…

Came out of nowhere? (Harvard, same as Mitt) Anointed? (elected, by a solid majority). Real historians? (Dinesh DeSousa, maybe? Political hack. Koch Brothers suck-up. GOP Propaganda Sub-Minister.)

From an historical perspective -- the fear-mongering, scapegoating, conspiracy theorizing, and economic uncertainty -- America, 2012, is Germany, 1932. President Obama is Chancellor Weimar, faced with an impossible, intractable world economic mess. Our Fearless Leader, Savior Mitt, is…well, even you get the idea. This has all happened, before.

That’s the real Greek tragedy. I wouldn’t worry about twenty years from now.

Forget historical fact. You can’t even keep track of a fictional character. Um…ah…it’s “Chance, the Gardener,” not “Chauncey Gardiner.” You and he both do have at least one thing in common -- both watch too much TV, live in a fantasy world, but don‘t find that a hindrance in holding forth an (unsubstantiated) opinion. You are both more-than-a-little confused (granted, Chance has nicer manners).

The author of “Being There” (“Not All There,” in your case), Jerzy Kosinski, committed suicide by putting a bag over his head and suffocating himself. Probably, right after he found out that dipsticks like you are allowed to vote.

The only joke will be on you, when your health care voucher bounces, and the for-profit-only private emergency clinic guard escorts you out to the paid-parking-only lot, where she turns you over to the private police subcontractors with their Chinese-made AK-47s (supplied by a Bain-controlled subsidiary).



Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Fourty Seven Percent

What amazes me is that a certain "John" Doe that incessantly comments on nearly every post is exactly the % that is the problem. Collecting social security and medicare since the age of 27... really??? He has full use of his legs as I have seen him walk, he has vision, hearing, vocal use. He obviously has computer and typing skills what part of his "disability" makes him so unemployable that he can not be a wage earning tax dollar contributing member of society? Every day I see the "system" being abused, people with their government issued food card buying junk food at Circle K with their perfectly manicured fake nails texting away on their iphone. Yes I think they should be drug tested before collecting EVERY government issued fund. I think they should be tested for nicotine and alcohol as well... after all if they can afford these "luxury" items they certainly can purchase a weeks worth of food!

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: well its good to see the Romney folks are... .

now completely in support of his current pro-choice, tax the rich, and keep obamacare stance...

the saddest part of this all is that you will go so far to get rid of the president..that in the end you will be supporting a candidate that is turning out to be even more liberal that who is in there now... jokes on you.

if you still suport the flip flopping flip master of disaster... then you have even less of a moral core than he does...at least he just wants fame and power... you all see to want nothing more that to laugh in the face of liberals... pretty sad reason for being it seems. and the fact that you place such high importance on how bad the liberals feel speaks volumes about your own self worth.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: M J

I am sooooooooooo looking forward to the next 5, 10, and 20 years so I can read what real historians will write 'bout the rise and fall of barack hussein obama.
I mean, this is Greek tragedy stuff!!!!
A man who came from nowhere, was anointed, became leader of the most powerful country in the history of the world, then crashed, burned, and lost it all by super-arrogance and incompetence. That took a lot of character!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

John Munro says:

"who he's talking to. time of day. where he happens to be at the moment." c'mon, that's a portrait of obama. he's a political octopus, constantly changing shape and color to blend with his surroundings."


Well, I suppose technically, if he changes color to blend with his surrroungings he would more accurately characterized as a "chameleon" NOT an "octopus"!..

However, once again we hear from someone obsessed with the color of our President.

Racism is a pernicious evil. So is elitism, and sexism, and religious fanaticism, too. All hallmarks of the modern GOP.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

@ john lockway re "...you may have found a transcript of a later speech..."

Perhaps, in which case I'm sure you can expose the truth. The quote I provided is from a speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, January 9, 2012:

Can you provide a link to an earlier transcript? Or, even better, a video showing bared teeth? Thanks!

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: john lockway

to nutso fasst:

scholars can’t find it anywhere in extant lincoln papers. the earliest reference is hearsay. a milton hay of springfield was quoted recalling he thought he heard lincoln say it in a speech, according to joseph fifer of bloomington in a springfield globe republic article, july 5, 1886 -- more than two decades after the fact. i have the pdf facsimile from the library of congress on my hard drive.

scholars at the lincoln society researched all of lincoln’s papers. found nothing, but determined it came from carl sandburg -- in the twentieth century. if lincoln actually said it, he heard it from barnum (who quipped, famously, about there being one born every minute).

you may have found a transcript of a later speech, when romney was trying to “walk back” his extemporaneous comment. i watched and heard him say “i love to fire people” without any qualifiers. he sounded very “sincere” when he said it. something about the eyes and bared teeth.

you see, we historians do like to get our facts straight. we use revisionists for target practice.

about your interpretation of mitt’s true intentions, i am reminded of an old, paul simon lyric: “still, a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.” historians don’t have that luxury. the truth keeps getting in the way.

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