Bob Franken

King Features Column

As always, this column is delayed a week after newspaper release to keep the syndicator happy. The newest one appears in your paper.)

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One has to wonder why President Barack Obama would even bother to meet with Mitt Romney. Yes, he promised to, and yes, it is the polite thing to do in the name of soliciting his ideas, but Romney’s ideas are so repulsive that he needs to be removed from the conversation.
He demonstrated it again in his post-election conference call with donors, in which he contended that he lost because, “The president’s campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift.” Will somebody please remind Mitt, if you will, that Obama won more than 47 percent of the vote? That’s relevant, of course, because Mitt inadvertently revealed himself with his original spewing of contempt for the “47 percent,” those he dismissed as “dependent on government, who believe they are victims,” meaning those who have the audacity to seek government services for health and protection. What nerve!
Actually, Romney speaks for too many of his fellow 1 percenters. He and the others of their ilk have concluded that since they hoard 35 percent of the nation’s wealth (according to the Economic Policy Institute), they are part of a ruling class. They consider themselves above the normal responsibilities of citizenship. That, of course, would include paying their fair share of taxes, which they decidedly do not.
Their GOP handmaidens continue to bow and scrape to the selfish richlings with their obstinate rejection of increased taxation on the wealthy, even as part of a deal to stop the U.S. from hurtling over the “cliff” to recession. House Speaker John Boehner remains adamant that higher rates cannot be part of any bargain, still clinging to the discredited argument that they stifle job creation. Shame on him.

Romney’s latest remarks reflect not only his world-class verbal awkwardness, but the insidious belief that money justifies anything. It is not hyperbole to say that he and others like him are among America’s worst. Politicians, particularly Republicans, have been their enablers.
Now, of course, the GOP is embarked on image repair, focusing on the hateful disconnect with everyone but angry white guys and fat cats. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour calls it “a very serious proctology exam.” This is a family newspaper, so we can dispense with a description of why a “proctology exam” is particularly appropriate when we are discussing those who share the outlook of Mitt Romney. Suddenly, his party leaders feel obligated to tee off on him for his latest remarks. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal snapped, “We need to stop being a dumb party, and that means more than stop making dumb comments.”
This goes far beyond exorcising Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, those “dumb comments” represent a common mind-set among those whose good fortune or lack of scruples has allowed them to achieve financial success. Even though they failed in their attempt to buy this election, we remain in their grip. They are ever ready to stifle the democratic process with money from petty cash in order to keep the lawmakers and authorities from subjecting them to the same rules that everyone else must obey. That way, they can continue to get the favored treatment they apparently feel they deserve. It is important to them that we have responsibility to each other. As a nation, we have to put these fat cats in their place, which is down here with the rest of us riffraff. They need to pay their fair share, just like everyone else, and our laws need to make sure we all toe the same line.
They need to replace their sense of entitlement with enlightenment, and fully participate in the repair of our society. As for Mitt, we should stop paying attention to what he says. Or what he thinks. Let him retire to his mansion with elevators. And cancel that stop at the White House.

© 2012 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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