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We need more than Romney's snazzy suit and trendy haircut to lead our citizenry

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor
June 20, 2011
The following is an exchange between CNN's John King, the moderator for the recent Republican presidential candidate debate, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:
"King: Governor Romney? You've been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Mo. I've been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it's the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
"Romney: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.
"Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. We cannot…"
"King: Including disaster relief, though?
"Romney: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."
Spoken like a multimillionaire who has his and could care less about you. Spoken like a man whose time in office in Massachusetts was marked by his frequent trips out of state to try to fulfill his political ambitions. Spoken like a guy who barely visited Western Massachusetts when he was in office.
Gee, has Romney spoken about the tornado that affected the state that supposedly he cared about? Offered any aid or made a contribution? Does Romney understand how disaster response works? Does he understand that local, state and federal funds have been combined as a response to the disaster? That non-profits and private businesses have helped tremendously? That ordinary people are giving their time and money to help people they may not know?
Where are you, Mitt? What have you done? Well, you've spun some nice Tea Party talking points. Drink more of that Kool-Aid, my friend.
If Romney was really interested in reining in federal spending where was he when President Bush started a war against a country that was totally wrong and was off the budget, propelling our debt even higher?
Is he interested in revising the tax code so all Americans pay their fair share? Does he support examining the privatization of government services — as used in the current Middle Eastern wars — and whether it has saved the nation money?
How is he going to preserve jobs, which would grow the tax base? He didn't do much for jobs for us here when he was governor.
I voted for Romney for governor because I thought he actually might bring some common sense to Massachusetts politics. I was wrong. What a sap.
He is merely a good suit and a great haircut and we need a lot more than that to lead this country.
***

A dividend provided by the tornado: I've been watching more DVDs lately because we haven't been reconnected to the almighty cable. I've still got to clear a lot of fallen timber so the technicians can reach the pole in the back of the house.
I've been able to start going through the pile of the unwatched DVDs that has grown steadily in my office at home.
I have to admit I'm actually getting used to not having TV. I've watched a disc of Buster Keaton material — a sort of cinematic scrapbook — as well as a 1960 promotional film for the Western town built by cowboy star Ray Corrigan that was the setting for many movie and television Westerns 40 and 50 years ago.
Then I bit my nails through the 1941 "Green Hornet Strikes Back" movie serial. Would Britt Reid escape the traps set by the criminal syndicate? I relieved the tension by pressing the fast forward button.
Oh, yes and how about two "Three Mesquiteers" Westerns from 1941 with my favorite cowboy star Tom Tyler.
Yes, it's odd stuff. For more details, head to Google.
That's what I like to watch when I don't have to see something for the DVD review column. I then watch local news on a TV set with an antennae so I can curse at the weather people.
Maybe for me this is the single good thing to come out of this mess.
Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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