Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Parade Magazine’s Romney Interview

Parade Magazine, that little insert that often comes in the Sunday paper that I’ve been reading probably since I could read, had an interview with the Romneys on August 26, 2012.  The mag has always struck me as rather conservative and simplistic which can explain the questions asked and the lack of any follow up to them.  Some of the questions caught my eye. (and incidentally, I’d be just as happy to consider any other interviews by any other candidate. Parade will have an interview with President and Mrs. Obama on Sept. 2).

So on to “Mr and Mrs. Romney, some follow up to your pat answers?”  (not all of the interview is addressed, only the parts I found interesting. Use the link above if you think I may be missing any context.)

Governor, your campaign speeches talk about the middle class, but the vast majority of the questions we received from readers asked about your ability to relate to their struggles. In essence, how do you know what it’s like to be someone without means, someone, as one reader puts it, trying to scrape by, living on food stamps?
Governor Mitt Romney:
Each of us faces struggles of one kind or another. Our life was not characterized by financial stress as much as it was by health issues. I served as a pastor of a congregation and saw people with various challenges and did my best to help them. I believe my experience in the private sector, the voluntary sector, and government has helped teach me what it takes to help people with different types of challenges.

Politicians are always notorious for ignoring the question and trying only to speak in the sound bites given them by their handlers.  Note that Romney doesn’t answer the question at all.  He has no idea how people live who are poor.  He wants to turn the story back to himself, how hard *he* and Ann have had it, claiming that Ann’s MS is just as bad as being poor.  He of course can’t think about how hard it is for people who are poor *and* who have some debilitating disease.  People can have struggles of many kinds, not one *or* another.  Ann can go ride her horses for therapy.  What therapy does a working mother who has no insurance have?   Romney has no idea and from his actions, does not care. The Multiple Sclerosis Society does not support Romney’s desire to abandon the Affordable Care Act. 

There were a number of questions about your financial wealth. New Jersey resident Harry H. asked if you would make this pledge: If elected, do you promise to bank in the United States?
My investments have been managed for almost the last 10 years by a blind trust. A trustee decides where to put our money. If I am president, my understanding is the same principle applies, that I may not direct any of my investments. I can’t tell you what my investments might be because I won’t make them. But I am happy to have every investment in the United States.

 This has been shown to be a lie per Romney’s own words.    Was he lying then or now? 

On the topic of respect, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu has said that President Obama needs to learn to be American. You’ve referred to his policies as ‘foreign.’ Do you believe that President Obama is un-American in any way?
Governor Sununu was not suggesting he was’t American, nor do I. I believe he’s making us far more like Europe, with a larger, more dominant, more intrusive government. I believe if we keep going on that path, we will end up like Europe, with chronic high unemployment, no wage growth, and economic calamity at the doorstep. I think you have to return to celebrating success, encouraging entrepreneurship, and finding ways to get government out of the way.

Romney is very sure that President Obama wants to make a “more intrusive” government.  Well, I can’t think of much more intrusive than a government that decides that women can’t make their own decisions about their health care, that adults can’t make their own decisions on who they want to marry, etc.  Mr. Romney and Mr. Sununu are also trying to rewrite their own words.  If they had meant that Obama was making the US more like Europe, they could have said *exactly* that; but they didn’t.  That would not have been the dog whistles expected by their “base”.   They said that the president needs to learn how be an American.  If he has to learn, then by this claim, he is not an American.  They make baseless claims that his policies are “extraordinarily foreign” when they are not in the slightest.  Again, Mr. Romney tries to make vague claims to frighten people but when it comes down to facts, there are none to support his claims.  What are these “extraordinarily foreign” things that the Obama administration has done?  The Affordable Care Act?  Funny, Romney already did that himself. Enforcing environmental regulations?  Well, we here in the US don’t have to worry about our rivers catching fire anymore or our children dealing with lead.  In China, where they don’t have such strong environmental regs, they’re back where we were before the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.  Does Romney want us to go back to that? 

Also from a reader, Nancy B., of Winter Springs, Fla.: ‘I trust your acumen to assemble a great turnaround team for the economy. But who do you have in mind for advice on foreign affairs?’
I don’t have a secretary of state or national security adviser in mind at this point‚ it might be a little presumptuous. That being said, I speak with a number of the former secretaries of state and [other] leaders‚ Condoleezza Rice, Jim Baker, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton, as well as people less well known. My leadership style is to have people of differing viewpoints express them openly and [then I] select among them myself.

So 73 days left until the election and Romney has decided it would be “presumptuous” to actually have someone in mind for the very important position of Secretary of State.  He then says that he is consulting with people who were served with George W. Bush, getting us into wars by lying.  Taking a liar’s advice doesn’t seem the best idea.

Let’s talk for a moment about your faith. How has tithing [the Mormon practice of giving 10 percent of one’s income to the church] shaped your view of how we treat each other?
I love tithing. When Mitt and I give that check, I actually cry.

MR: So do I, but for a different reason.
AR: I know this money is an indication of how much we trust God and love the principle of sacrifice. And it teaches us not to be too, too tied to the things of the world. And it is a very good reminder of how blessed we really are, and most of those blessings do not come from a financial source, but from the power above.
MR: Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given. This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.

My husband suggested that one of the reasons that the Romneys don’t want to release their tax records is that they haven’t tithed as much as they claim.  If so, I can understand that could be quite embarrassing.  Ann is quite the hypocrite when she so piously claims that the tithe is to teach people how not to be so attached to the “things of this world”.  Hmmm, she and Mitt are worth how much?  How much did Rafalca cost and costs now?  There are plenty of horses who people have had to give up because they couldn’t support them that could be supported quite nicely for what Rafalca costs per year.  There’s a place right here in PA that does horse therapy and they could use the money.   

Tithing sounds like a form of it takes a village.You’re helping the community.
MR:  I think you’ll find that conservatives are more generous philanthropically than people who are not conservatives. People who are in favor of small government are very much in favor of personal action to help other people in need.

Bwaaahaaaaahaaaa! 🙂  Only if you consider a church a charity, which it certainly is, technically.  Amazing what a church can do with lots of money. Cathedrals, multi thousand seat mega churches, hmmm, the LDS temple……  Indeed, where does it say in any holy book that buildings like this are needed?

St. Pat’s in NYC

Salt Lake Temple – LDS

 If you’re interested, the church I grew up in:

Leatherwood Church

And people who are in favor of small government are in favor of personal action to help people?  Ah, no, not if Paul Ryan is any example, with his Randian selfishness.  And not if the LDS actions against gay marriage are any example. Nope, they want big government into everyone’s bedrooms and into their private lives as long as those “other” people aren’t just like them.  They’ll do all they can to harm others as long as they decide they aren’t “in need”. If people like the Romneys actually helped people rather than their church, they could do quite a lot, perhaps like Bill and Melinda Gates.  But they don’t.  Churches are not the philanthropic engines that theists would claim, certainly not here in central PA where missions go begging and ten pages of churches in the yellow pages seem unwilling to care.

That’s it, just a few things to get out of my craw.  Soon more food and beer!