Unfit for command

Mitt Romney lacks the basic integrity to be entrusted with being president of the United States.

Presidential contender Mitt Romney has been accused of flip-flopping on several important issues [GALLO/GETTY]
Presidential contender Mitt Romney has been accused of flip-flopping on several important issues [GALLO/GETTY]

We are finally here, at the end of our two-year long climb of up the Mount Everest of American politics, with our decision about to be rendered. Will the United States re-elect a president who is far from perfect, yet has managed in the face of implacable Tea-Bagger opposition to leave GM alive, bin Laden dead and provide Americans with near-universal healthcare?

Or will we elect the used-car salesman with the bottle of Just For Men and the handy Etch-A-Sketch, the guy who’s so often changed his positions on: Healthcare mandates, abortion, guns control, immigration, gay rights, taxes, the presidency of Saint Reagan, global warming, coal-powered plants, stem-cell research, birth control, Social Security, Medicare, the war in Iraq, US troops in Afghanistan, policy towards al-Qaeda and any other issue that’s accompanied Mitt on his car elevator to the place where he hides his real beliefs – should any actually exist?

I think we’re all ready for this thing to be over, even though I gotta say, I’ll sure miss seeing Meatloaf sing his endorsement to Mitt Romney (I’ll let the obvious auto bailout/”Paradise by the Dashboard Light” jokes go unmade) and hearing PhD-level theorising on rape and abortion rights from the self-identified witches and temperamental face-eating monkeys the Republican Party likes to call its “Senate candidates”.

But even though this process is a long one, too long if you ask me – there’s some good that comes from it. By the time we vote for the president of these United States, we know the candidates pretty well. It’s like they’ve sat in a sweat lodge for two years being peppered with questions, and we know what a lot about the men or women we’d be ready to make Commander-in-Chief.

That has led, in this case, to one thing being abundantly clear: Mitt Romney lacks the basic integrity to be entrusted with the position. It’s like in the movie Gladiator, when Marcus Aurelius asks Maximus to take his place leading Rome after his death, because as Aurelius says of his son Commodus, he can never rule, as he is “not a moral man”.

Romney’s had many opportunities in his life to weigh his interests against those of the public, and not only did he always come down on the side of whatever was good for Mitt, he never thought twice about the damage he would in inflict on his fellow countrymen.

As a corporate raider, or vulture capitalist according to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney became filthy rich by preying on companies that were doing just fine, but vulnerable to his predatory ambition. He chose to load them up with debt, extract whatever was not nailed to the floor and cost hardworking Americans their livelihoods in places like Marion, Indiana and Kansas City.

What’s most striking, is not only did Romney not lose an ounce of sleep over swooping in with his perma-polo shirt to destroy the financial stability of thousands of working families, but nothing was ever enough. As Bud Fox asks Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, “how many boats can you waterski behind?”

No matter to Mitt, with each house seemingly another prized possession, however you got it. Let’s be clear here too, we still have no idea whether Romney even paid much of the taxes he owed, but we do know that almost daily a new loophole’s exposed that he used to skirt his financial responsibility to Uncle Sam, while making millions upon millions of dollars.

What a guy.

During this campaign, this quality has been the defining one. When Americans were still being killed in Benghazi, Romney’s immediate response was not to worry about those in harm’s way, but attack the president of the United States.

More recently, to defend himself from his foolish opposition to the auto bailout, Romney aired a series of false advertisements claiming Chrysler and GM were moving jobs to China. These were such blatant lies that company executives took the almost unheard of step of calling Romney dishonest and “cynical”, torpedoing his campaign in Ohio. Did Romney think about the jobs he might cost Americans if consumers believed his tripe and decided not to buy Chrysler or GM based on untruths? Of course not, Mitt Romney might benefit from this confusion, and that’s all that’s ever mattered to Mitt Romney.

One often hears soldiers talk about who they’d want in a foxhole with them. This job really isn’t much different. When it comes to basic character, Mitt Romney is simply unfit to be president of the United States.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

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