If TV killed the radio star, videotape is raping, sodomizing and murdering Willard Romney’s presidential aspirations. For the millions wondering and speculating how the campaign for president by a man who has literally occupied every position on every salient issue of our time would look in practice, we can now say it looks like interns employed by the Obama campaign and media outlets gassed and out of breath from running back and forth from the video storage room for evidence of the latest Romney boomerang that fits the moment.
So tireless at pirouettes he is the envy of professional ballerinas everywhere, Romney seems to proceed with no plan or strategy whatsoever for contending with the very concrete reality that he is on the everlasting record on virtually every form of recording device since papyrus taking firm stands the opposite of the firm stands he took before. On everything: abortion, climate change, the Bush tax cuts, immigration, guns and the NRA, stem cell research, same-sex marriage…I’d go on, but I’m not getting paid by the hour (or at all).
What’s almost preternatural and utterly baffling about Romney is that he never even seemed to consider for a second any nuanced evolution of his positions out of, oh say, dread of shame and embarrassment at such conspicuously egregious backflips all across the board; or inevitable ridicule, or accusations that only an empty plastic container could be so lacking in core beliefs. The fact that he hasn’t seemed to think it matters at all even as he runs for president arouses an almost desperate thirst for psychological explanation, the inscrutability of his morally and intellectually baseless behavior at George Costanza levels. In political terms, Richard Nixon wants his trophy for soulless cynicism and ruthless lying back.
But trying to follow the Romney campaign’s contortions attempting to deal with health care in light of the recent court decision, and more precisely the exact likeness of Romneycare to Obamacare hurts your eyes and your head and your neck. Romney’s senior campaign advisor says this: “He disagreed with the ruling. He disagreed with the findings of the ruling. He disagreed with the logic that supported those findings. He said that he agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, and the dissent clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax.”
So, according to this, Romney disagrees with the finding that Obamacare, in other words Romneycare, his own reform, is constitutional. He agrees with Scalia that Obamacare, in other words Romneycare is unconstitutional because the individual doesn’t pay a tax but a penalty when he or she fails to purchase health insurance, meaning Obamacare, in other other words Romneycare shouldn’t be allowed to exist at all in its current form. Uh, yowsers!
And then, Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg, ostensibly in Romney’s defense, or attacking Obama on Romney’s behalf, or something, said, : “The Supreme Court left President Obama with two choices: the federal individual mandate in Obamacare is either a constitutional tax or an unconstitutional penalty. Governor Romney thinks it is an unconstitutional penalty. What is President Obama’s position: is his federal mandate unconstitutional or is it a tax?” Okay, I think I got a bead on this. She is saying Obamacare, in other words Romneycare in Massachusetts imposes either a constitutional tax or an unconstitutional penalty. Governor Romney thinks his own health reform program imposes an unconstitutional penalty. While some people’s immediate reaction to this would be to declare that the nation’s most pressing issue now is universal health insurance for turkeys given that criticizing the Romney campaign’s untenable position/positions on health reform is going to be a turkey shoot, mine is this little scene from Kubrick’s flick, Full Metal Jacket.
Colonel: Marine, what is that button on your body armor?
Private Joker: A peace symbol, sir!
Colonel: Where’d you get it?
Private Joker: I don’t remember, sir!
Colonel: What is that you’ve got written on your helmet?
Private Joker: “Born to kill,” sir!
Colonel: You write “Born to kill” on your helmet, and you wear a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?
Private Joker: No, sir!
Colonel: What is it supposed to mean?
Private Joker: I don’t know, sir!
Colonel: You don’t know very much, do you?
Private Joker: No, sir!
Colonel: You better get your head and your ass wired together, or I will take a giant shit on you!
Private Joker: Yes, sir!
Colonel: Now answer my question or you’ll be standing tall before the man!
Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir!
Colonel: The what?
Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir!
Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?