More Eddy

Mitt Romney: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing or Pragmatic Technocrat in a Tea Party Hat?

By Eddy Moretti

Welcome to my new column, More Eddy, by me, Eddy Moretti. Every Tuesday you will find here—should you care—my questions, comments, and observations on all things political (mostly). I may write about other things, but I will not write about food. Better brains than mine have already devoted themselves to that. I’ll just show up to eat the stuff.

For the next two months or so I will exclusively devote More Eddy to the current US Presidential election. I hope you enjoy.

So, anyway... This election is the most important election of our generation. Yes, that’s probably what we say every four years, but if you were there (discursively speaking) when the very first teabag was slapped on a sun visor, you will know, at least rhetorically, that the ideological stakes of this election are as high as they have ever been in modern American history. If you were there, and you believe what that first protean Teabagger said that day, then the real choice of this election is nothing less than a fundamental re-engineering of America as we know it. It is the decision between on one hand preserving the “modern America” of the post-Depression era period (the populist utopia represented quite nicely by things like Labor Day but also by the secularist immutable commandments like minimum wage, Social Security, national parks, etc.), and on the other hand the decision to reengineer or rather de-engineer, if you will, these social institutions once and for all. That’s the current exaggerated form of the cliché big government-vs.-small government debate. The stakes are high in 2012, with nothing less than the core social complexion of America hanging in the balance.

But that’s only if you actually believe the underlying and impassioned rhetoric on both sides, and if you are passionate about these issues yourself. If you see it all as rote political theater, then it doesn’t matter if Obama or Romney wins and you’re probably a hardened cynic, and I want to have a drink with you. But if you believe in the underlying words, then you should enter the debate because the country is at a crossroads and your voice matters.

Whatever you might think of the Tea Party (I think a lot of things about it), their undeniable value lies in the stimulative (they’d hate that word) effect they’ve had on political discourse in this country: The Tea Party is responsible for a reawakening of the political consciousness of America; the issues they have brought to the fore are big ones and real ones and they deserve our attention whether to support them or to savage them for the core myths that animate them.

I said the same thing of the Occupy movement, which elevated the political discourse in America because they were successful in imprinting the most important metric of this election in the minds of the world—a visual of the number 1 next to the number 99—but they took the Summer of 2012 off to go camping and smoke pot so fuck them, actually. Occupy might represent one of the worst kinds of political activism: the half-assed kind.

So let’s say you’re naive (impassioned), didn’t take the summer off to hit the Finger Lakes region, and believe that this is the most important election of our generation. You might even believe that this is the most important election of the post-War election period. Well then, the question becomes simple: Is Mitt Romney equally impassioned? Does he really believe in the core principles that animate the RTP (the Republican Tea Party) or is he really just an ideologically loose, pretty normal-thinking and even-keeled guy who can get shit done whatever the job is. Is Mitt Romney faking political allegiances now in order to run as a “Massachusetts Moderate”—as Gingrich and others rightfully pegged him during the primaries—or is he a puppet of the Tea Party and therefore not passionate about anything at all except being elected president (which, incidentally, would make him a sociopath).

I for one am leaning to the puppet/sociopath option. There are signs that Mitt, if elected, will be a paper President: the selection of Paul Ryan; the “scrubbing” of the RNC convention (they stripped the “bat-shit crazies” as Bill Maher calls them); the newly minted Karl Rove Super-Pac Edition with its ties to the Koch Brothers and other libertarian millionaires... these are all bad signs in my mind.

I don’t know. You tell me.

@eddymoretti

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