Clueless In Carolina

Willard, in another unscripted moment, digs himself a deeper hole

If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day,
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning

For Willard Mitt Romney, this morning in South Carolina was not such a fine one.   A little over a week ago in a post titled WILLARD, I made some observations about Willard’s personal wealth, estimated to be some $200-250,000,000, concluding:

Though Willard formally left Bain Capital in 1999, he still receives millions of dollars in residuals, as well as income from new ventures. But because such income is given special tax treatment as “carried interest,” aka the hedge fund loophole, it is taxed at 15% and not the 35% rate paid by mere mortals and working stiffs. (Though they are taxed at the same rate of 15%, capital gains require that one’s own capital be at risk. With leveraged buyouts like the KB Toys transaction, most of the money is borrowed. Hence the need for a loophole.)

No wonder Willard won’t release his tax returns.

How time flies. As late as last night’s GOP presidential debate in South Carolina, Romney was still trying to deflect calls from his fellow candidates and the national media to release his tax returns. In sum, he said “Maybe”  stating that April would be a more appropriate time.

Why April? And for which years, exactly? There’s no reason why he couldn’t release his  pre-2011 returns now.  By emphasizing April, perhaps he means to release his 2011 return only, which would enable him to massage it with an eye to the primary and election.

During a press availability this morning, he tried to defuse the issue of what rate he pays. Huffpo reports:

In Greenville, S.C., Romney was asked directly what his effective tax rate is. It was a hot topic of discussion at Monday night’s debate, at which Romney repeatedly declined to fully commit to release his tax returns.

“It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” said Romney on Tuesday. “For the past 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income or earned annual income.

Okay, so now we know why Willard didn’t want to release his tax returns during the GOP primary– he pays less than people serving in the military, and less than half the rate that working stiffs pay. I’m sure the Teabaggers will be impressed by his ‘success’ as a Wall Street banksta.

But it gets worse. Willard continued:

“I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. Then, I get speakers fees from time to time, but not very much.”

“Not very much” turns out to $374,000, or about 9 ½ times the average annual US household income.  Truly Willard is a man in tune with the pain of the average Jo.

Now put those comments in context with remarks he made last June at a greasy spoon in Tampa, Florida:

“I wish I had a job for everybody. I may be unemployed for longer than I’d like.”

Would that the 99% be so gainfully unemployed.

Willard was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (just like the last Rethug president). He proves time and time again that he doesn’t have a clue about the financial plight of tens of millions of ordinary working men and women, many of whom are a single paycheck or medical illness away from financial ruin.

Willard the Man is the very embodiment of what should be the overarching narrative of the 2012 presidential election– wealth disparity, which  according to Willard is a topic best discussed in “quiet rooms.”

Willard is the candidate of the privileged 1%, President Obama (by default)  the champion of  everyone else. For the 99% who might question the growing gulf between themselves and the uber rich, Willard has a simple explanation–  they suffer from one of the seven deadly sins, envy.

Charlie Pierce, as usual, nails it:

One bad word, a single off-key phrase, can kill you as a candidate.

In case you missed it…Willard, had one of those moments yesterday, when Matt Lauer was chatting with him about the way he had made an additional fortune at the corporate chop-shop known as Bain Capital.

Willard’s initial response to criticism on this score was to paint everyone criticizing him as being jealous of Willard’s fabulous life. Lauer asked him:

 “Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?”

Willard thereupon dropped a bomb on himself.

 “You know I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms…. But the president has made this part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach.”

Those words, and the entitled attitude with which they are so luxuriously chandeliered, should kill any campaign being conducted in 2012. The country is still staggering, blinking, out of the rubble of an economy that was shattered by an industry full to its gunwales with Willard Romneys. He is campaigning in South Carolina, where unemployment is pushing up at 10 percent. Do those people want to leave their fates up to a bunch of fancy haircuts in “quiet rooms” where they discuss how much more flesh they can pick off the carcass of what is laughingly called the “middle class” of this country?

Quiet rooms?

You mean like the one where these wonderful conversations took place among our lords of the universe, and aren’t they so very cute as they sit there making their funnies and giggle like the Pep Club while the tectonic plates of the national economy crack under their feet?


“Quiet rooms” should be enough. Willard Romney, stripper of companies, looter of pension, career gombeen man for the most unproductive “industry” in the history of man, thinks that a discussion of the nation’s staggering gap in inequality, and of the steady decline of a functioning middle-class, should be conducted in private, and not in the streets, where those hippies and their drum circles might disturb the plush japery of their betters. This is because, for Willard Romney, the world is divided into two kinds of people: Willard Romney and The Help.


You know what else is a quiet room? A courtroom is a quiet room, and far too many of the people who wrecked the economy have not seen the inside of one, either criminal or civil, or both. You know what else is a quiet room?

A cell is a quiet room.

Amen to that.


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