We aren't looking for a fearless leader. We just need a president to sign this stuff.
-- Grover Norquist
You wouldn't think that if you were worth a quarter billion dollars that anyone could own you; think again. I woke up this morning to the news that Mitt Romney has chosen Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
This is the same Mitt Romney who, along with the Heritage Foundation, came up with the idea for mandatory healthcare insurance and once said, "I'll be better than Ted Kennedy" on gay rights. That Mitt Romney has been working hard to convince the conservative base of the Republican Party that he is now the most conservative man in the world.
In the weeks leading up to his decision many other, more moderate, people were in contention for the vice president position, but the word was that the conservative supporters, the ones with all the money, the 1 percent, wanted Ryan. The 1 percent doesn't particularly care much for, or trust, Mitt Romney. They just want someone who "will sign this stuff;" this stuff being more tax cuts for the rich and less government services for people.
They are simply looking for a president who wants to be president so badly that he'd sell his soul (provided he had one) for the job. They want someone who will do as he's told. They want someone who will gut programs like Medicare and Social Security, while simultaneously giving them tax cuts. They also appear to want/need unlimited military spending.
The man who was once governor of Massachusetts would never have chosen a running mate so out of sync with his core values, or at least what were perceived as his core values at that time. Money is a powerful tool/weapon and when those who have a lot of money want something they know they can buy what they need to get what they want.
Romney's no fool. He knows that the only way he can win is by outspending President Obama and the only way he can do that is to do the bidding of the top 1 percent of the wealthiest people in this country. Interestingly enough, a scant two days later, Romney is now backing away from Ryan's draconian budget and declaring that he, Romney, is his own man with his own budget.
Is there anyone alive who would believe these words, especially in light of the fact that Romney can change his position on any given issue in mid-sentence?
By now you have probably heard of "The Hunger Games." It's a book, now movie, about a fictitious country, Panem, that evolved apparently after we destroyed North America. The storyline shows how the 1 percent of the future manages the 99 percent .
Each year the 12 isolated districts are forced to send two kids, chosen by The Capital (the 1 percent) to fight to the death. Only one can survive. The 99 percent are forced to watch "The Games" on TV to remind them who's in control. The 99 percent are kept poor thanks to a strong military. It's a perfect life for the 1 percent, not so perfect life for the 99 percent.
It seems like no matter how much things change the more they stay the same. A couple of thousand years ago the 1 percent enjoyed tossing selected members of the 99 percent into an arena with either trained, armed military men or lions. The 1 percent would cheer as the poor were slaughtered.
Today, at least not yet, we may not have the poor fighting each other for survival while the wealthy cheer the victor, but there is little doubt of who is in control and what they want. The handful of very rich people in this country wants to be richer. For them enough will never be enough.
If increased wealth for them results in the destruction of the middle class, then so be it. If the poor become poorer and end up fighting each for survival, that's OK too, because we will have the finest military on earth to protect the 1 percent .
For the 1 percent the time has come to capture the flag. They have had enough of programs that benefit the masses. They can't stand the idea of a national healthcare program.
Their candidate once did believe in healthcare for all, but once the bucks started flowing his way those beliefs disappeared. The once moderate Mitt Romney has morphed into the faux conservative that he thinks he needs to become our next president.
Romney didn't pick Paul Ryan. He was told to pick Paul Ryan by Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and a few others. By choosing Paul Ryan Mitt Romney has shown that he is no longer (if he ever was) his own man. He is the man who the 1 percent believes will "sign stuff."
He is the man who will do their bidding, and he'll be fine with that, because what's good for the 1 percent is also good for Mitt Romney.
Perhaps he should be running for president of Panem. We know how that story ends.
Bob Stannard lives in Manchester.