By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
It's your last chance to not vote for Nazi Germany! All right, I got your attention there, didn't I? Well, yes, I know it was a cheap trick, and I'm deeply ashamed of myself for it. I mean, I used a split infitive!
What's more, I'm aware that any such mention of Nazism trivializes an unspeakable horror and that as of press time, Mitt Romney has no actual plans to send Jews, gays, gypsies, or even Big Bird to their death. I know full well that I'm being offensive and tawdry and sensational, blah blah blah. But it's your last chance to vote against Nazi Germany!
People, do you want a man running the country who doesn't stand for anything—he's only against things? Can you stomach a guy who will slash your income, especially as you age, in favor of giving tax breaks to himself? Can you tolerate a smug car salesman who will set back human rights to the 1950s, all while praising God and family and lying up a shitstorm? (No, wait, Mitt all of a sudden no longer supports the Federal Marriage Amendment, said an adviser. No, wait, she clarified, he still does. Got that? Yikes.)
The fact that Mitt boasted on TV about wanting to pull funding from PBS—something that actually elevates the landscape—gave me chills because it made clear what an insensitive boor this man really is. Only a true bully thinks of culture as something you gain points for deriding and also that the deficit can be saved by withdrawing pocket change from a kiddie show. At least he didn't declare a ban on "degenerate" art.
And can we respect a man who looked through "whole binders full of women"—or claims to have done so in his alleged quest to promote equal opportunities, which, as the Times noted, he made sound like a Herculean task? Did he not get the memo that plenty of qualified women have long been in the workplace and are pretty easy to locate without a whole lot of outside help?
"Oh, you're just preaching to the perverted," is the familiar cry, but you'd be surprised how many enlightened people I've known for years who are suddenly looking all glazed while chirping, "Who cares about Mitt's social politics? We need someone to fix the economy." I've even seen some gays turn into Romney apologists because they feel he will somehow magically get everyone jobs, a lunatic fantasy that has appeared in a puff of toxic smoke and managed to override all other concerns, leaving me choking and gagging.
But let's be serious. Has anything Romney said convinced you that he'll actually make the economy better, or that he even understands how to do so? And can we at least give Obama three points in his defense? A. Our country's plight is hardly an isolated situation. This recession thing is connected to a worldwide crisis. We're a part of an international chain of falling dominoes. B. Obama inherited the situation from eight years of a Republican presidency. By the time he stepped into the White House, all anyone cared about was mending the disaster zone created by various Repubs, banks, CEOS, and other corrupt parties. There has been some progress, but, naturally, you don't pull a country out of the wreckage overnight. C. Obama has tried to do all sorts of things—not just with the economy—and has often been stymied by the Republican presence in Congress, which has obstinately scuttled his attempts at change. And then he gets the blame!
One friend had the nerve to tell me he thinks Romney's opinions on rights issues don't matter at all because Republican presidents end up being the most agreeable ones on those topics. "After all," he argued, "George W. Bush did the most any President ever did for AIDS." Well, yes, he did more than Reagan, but Dubya's monumental paycheck for Africa (where most people with HIV are hetero) didn't convince me that he cared much about gays in our own courtyard. While he fought for "equal rights" for whole binders full of gays, he vigorously opposed same-sex marriage and adoption, sending out mixed messages with every conflicted utterance. And Romney's "the states can maybe grant gays certain benefits" routine is every bit as halfhearted, especially because he keeps drowning that out with the "man and woman equals marriage" message as if mere repetition will give it credence.
Yes, Mitt might be slick, but it's only to cover up a lack of purpose and strangely evasive intent. At first, he seemed like a better debater, but we soon realized it was only because he has the bravado that goes hand in (glad-) hand with a campaign based on spinning and flip-flopping. The guy alternates between avoiding details and making them up, convenient bouts of what Obama dubbed "Romnesia" allowing him to start anew with every sound bite.
"I don't want the reality contestant. I want the boring one," a friend of mine wisely remarked during the third and last debate. "They're both boring!" exclaimed someone else in the room, emphatically. "Yeah," replied my friend, "but Romney's sleazy boring."