Sunday, November 04, 2012


Mitt Romney has been the ultimate political chameleon. He has reversed every significant political position he held when he was Governor of Massachusetts. But, Robert Reich writes, there is a coherent philosophy behind his reversals. Reich calls that philosophy Romneyism:

Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from  Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights.

Reich goes on to enumerate the ten pillars of Romneyism. All of them are important. But the first three are the core upon which the other seven hang:

1. Corporations are the basic units of society. Corporations are people, and the overriding purpose of an economy is to maximize corporate profits. When profits are maximized, the economy grows fastest. This growth benefits everyone in the form greater output, better products and services, and higher share prices.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits. If workers do not contribute to that goal, they should be fired. If they cannot then find other work that helps maximize profits in another company, their wages must be too high, and they must therefore accept steadily lower wages until they find a job.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. Any that fail to deliver high competitive returns should be replaced or discarded. This keeps an economy efficient. Fairness is and should be irrelevant.

What's interesting about these first three pillars is that they are a throwback to the capitalism of the nineteenth century. This is the capitalism of William Blake's "dark satanic mills."  This is a throwback to Mr. Peabody's coal mines and Mr Carnegie's steel mills. Romneyism is a hymn to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil and a complete rejection of Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal.

Romney -- with his two Harvard degrees -- wants to lead the nation backwards. This, he says, is his better idea.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


kirbycairo said...

These ten points are remarkably close to the philosophy of the Harpercons too. And such a philosophy explains the strange mix of politics that seems to continually emerge from Harper and his cronies.

Owen Gray said...

The Harperites are far from John A. Macdonald's Conservatives and light years behind Robert Stanfield's Conservatives, Kirby.

There is nothing Canadian about their conservatism. But John D. Rockerfeller would be a charter member of the tribe.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think Romney, like George W., tells us all we really need to know about Ivy League legacy admissions. Harvard, Yale, makes no difference. With enough pull and family prominence, a C average is no obstacle to admission and sub-par intellect is no obstacle to graduation.

These two men have displayed remarkably stunted intellect yet they're both Ivy Leaguers who rose to the top in business and politics. In the public eye, both of these men are extremely awkward, mentally clumsy even.

I suspect intellectual deficiency underlies Romney's repeated failure at coherence. It must be what forces him to constantly lie.

Owen Gray said...

George W. must know the meaning of that old Texas saying, "all hat and no cattle," Mound. Certainly, there doesn't seem to be much under the hat.

I still think that the late Ann Richards -- the governor of Texas -- got it right when she said that George W.'s father was "born with a silver foot in his mouth."

However, being the scion of a wealthy family seems to open all kinds of doors -- even doors that should be declared off limits.

ChrisJ said...

I have no doubt that these are the pillars of Romney's philosophy, but also think that he might abandon even these to become president - he seems so desperate (and entitled).

Owen Gray said...

It seems pretty clear that Romney would sell his soul to be president, Chris. What isn't clear is exactly what he would do once he got there.

However, if past performance is the best indicator of future performance, there is plenty of reason to worry.

Anonymous said...

Romney reminds me too much of Harper.
Harper sold his soul to be P.M. of Canada, did he not?

Harper screamed and bitched about omnibus bills of another party. Everything Harper sniveled about done by others. Harper does himself, only a thousand fold worse. Harper is a litany of, lies, deceit, corruption, thefts, dirty tactics, dirty politics, a hypocrite and he cheats to win. Harper is a Traitor to Canada. Selling Canada's resources to Communist China, is damned well High Treason in my book, and a few others books.

Romney will be the worst nightmare, for the American people, as Harper is ours.

Owen Gray said...

Let's hope that the Americans avoid our nightmare, Anon.