The Universal Notebook: Mitt Romney, president of Corporate America

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We expect differences of opinion from presidential opponents, but the 2012 election is shaping up to be the clearest delineation of the political divide in America since the Civil War. It’s not so much Republican versus Democrat as it is corporations versus citizens. And Willard Mitt Romney is clearly running to be the president of Corporate America.

Romney is the ideal corporate candidate: the spoiled rich son of a former president of American Motors Corp. and former governor of Michigan, himself a former governor of Massachusetts, handsome, Harvard-educated, privileged, a man who makes a fortune on unearned income. The suits look at Romney and see PLU, People Like Us. He’s George W. all over again.

Romney is man who believes he is entitled to be president of the United States simply because he is rich and successful.

In his book “Death of the Liberal Class,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges quotes Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein distilling the very essence of the culture wars in America:

“There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice, it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice.”

Mitt Romney is the apotheosis of everything that is wrong with America. To begin with he is a liar. He will say anything to get elected. He will look into the TV cameras and say the economy is getting worse when every indication is that it is getting better. President Obama has his faults, but he has done a masterful job of cleaning up the economic mess left by eight years of Bush asleep at the wheel. Romney just doesn’t want the economy to get better, because then President Obama will whip his permanent-press butt.

Romney believes in power and privilege. He expects to be congratulated for being rich and successful. But wealth is often moral failure beyond bucks. Romney made his money buying and selling businesses and putting people out of work. Now he wants to buy the presidency of the United States so he can hire and fire people on the biggest stage. He is the Donald Trump of presidential candidates (now that Trump himself has decided not to be).

Personally, I don’t see how Romney wins in November. Everything his GOP primary opponents said about him is true. He is a liar. He is a flip-flopper. He is not a conservative. He has an Etch-a-Sketch value system. Obamacare, the biggest knock against Obama, is essentially Romneycare gone national. He is out of touch with average Americans. He’s boring. He can’t win.

Amazingly, however, the political pundits and election odds makers seem to think it’s shaping up to be a close race in November, 49 percent-43 percent Obama in the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Frankly, I find that hard to believe. Who other than corporate CEOs, the country club elite, and trust fund kids could possibly take Mitt Romney seriously? I mean certainly the tea party conservatives who now form the base of the Republican Party have to realize that he is not one of them, that what he stands for is antithetical to what they say they believe. He’s about money buying elections, corporations having more rights than citizens, redistribution of wealth upwards.

If this country is about power and privilege then it will be a close election. If it’s about truth and justice, Romney will go down in flames, no doubt trailing a golden parachute as he crashes and burns.

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Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Yarmouth. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.