Thirty-six hours out from the third and final 2012 presidential debate, this one on foreign policy although it turned back to the economy and other issues, I find myself concluding that the biggest threat to America may well be Mitt Romney himself.
For Romney is a classic puer eternus, eternal boy, a Peter Pan, the child who is not yet father to his own inner man, and we do not need an adolescent at the helm of the United States.
How is this possible? Perhaps, in taking a closer look at the anomalous, disturbing strangeness of Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch not-so-macho- McConnell, and Paul Marathon Man Ryan, not to mention our self-caricaturing GOP presidential candidate himself, we witness what happens when infantilism and narcissism merge, creating cases of arrogant arrested development.
Mitt Romney and his ilk in fact exemplify the hybrid archetype of an eternal boy Narcissus. They see their own images in the water and imagine grown-ups look back when that is not the case. To wit: Romney’s unfathomably gauche move during Debate Three when he spouted that Syria is Iran’s route to the sea.
It astounded some of us to hear him make that claim for something like the third time. Obama was right to ridicule Romney’s statement about building the Navy back up with the riposte of the hour, the now infamous bayonets and horses comment, pointing out that protecting the country is not the “game of battleship” Romney seems to favor.
Romney’s immaturity dovetails nicely with the magical thinking entrenched in cult-prone Mormonism, whose extremists continue to reenact a dastardly version of Little House on the Prairie wherever they can pitch a compound.. And what a stretch to even pair religion and thinking in his case.
It not only strains but detonates credulity that Ann Romney, in April of this year, spoke to that dynamo organization Moms for Mitt iterating that women don’t deserve equal pay because their men have been in the workforce longer, and that we should all just shut up, “quit complaining,” and be about our housework and child-rearing.
The Romneys and their friends do not, in fact, possess the saving grace of many other people with money of being noblesse oblige; they lack the breeding, sophistication and class. They are genetic mutants, in point of fact walking backwards in time as if they have contracted some strange viral delusion eclipsing their awareness that they live in 2012, in a post-millenium era in which very smart people are getting smarter by the hour.
Conservative values are one thing but putting a teenager in the White House is another matter altogether. Boys cannot think like men, even if they have in turn sired more boys who, Ann Romney contends, spent their adolescences selling the Mormon version of Jesus to unbelievers and in her words, “coming back men” themselves.
The last thing Romney is: a statesman. Remember the legendary gaffes that other conservatives have pretended never happened: that Romney went to London and offended the Brits, including the glaring misstep of mentioning that he met the head of British Intelligence, that he made irresponsibly dense and stupid comments about Palestine relative to Israel, that last month he sent out a press release accusing Obama of pandering to terrorists in the middle of a crisis, and continues to parrot what the other neocons are saying about a complicated scenario that remains unclear still to the best minds that have parsed it, i.e. Benghazi, what went down, who attacked us, who dropped the ball.
His naïveté was glaring relative to who our enemies actually are in the post Cold War world, and what to do about Israel and Iran regarding red lines and 3 a.m. crisis calls. Despite his lip service to these issues what real policy beyond pie in the sky fantasies does he have?
With all the maturity of a perennial victim, and with a wounded air, this manchild has repeatedly stated that he has refrained from giving specifics of his income tax returns and even of his policies and plans for the country because he doesn’t want to be attacked. It is true that boys have thin skin.
It also seems to be a greater hallmark of immaturity than anything else around the third debate’s third costume change in which Romney put on yet another identity, this time as Mr. Reasonable, to the laughable extent that the LA Times had this headline Tuesday: Romney Endorses Obama for President.
It is not Obama who should be referred to as “Other” and not one of us. It is Mitt Romney, the miscreant Peter Pan with the terrifying array of personalities he is able to put on display at will, who would have us line up behind him with his penchant for glad-handing rather than negotiating, his failure of imagination and fundamental inability to portray himself as a leader of anything; this is someone we must–we should–worry about.
Barack Obama is an adult with now four years of running the country under his belt. Despite the outrageous behavior of Congressional Republicans, in spite of their filibustering and relentless ad hominem attacks and obstinacy, he has saved the country from depression, rescued a million auto industry jobs and the industry itself, repaired broken foreign relations around the world, taken out Bin Laden and other key Al Qaeda operatives, and effected health care reform so that 5 million people have insurance that didn’t and won’t if so-called Obamacare is repealed.
He appointed Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and signed the Lily Ledbetter Pay Act on day one. He ended the war in Iraq and began draw down in Afghanistan. We have seen the creation of five million private sector jobs and a drop, albeit a small one, in the unemployment numbers. The economy, friends, is recovering.
A fair criticism is that Obama has been slow to produce a hard-copy plan for the next four years in a “binder” until today—something people could hold in their hands although it has been put forward on the stump and posted online.
But Barack Obama has been pretty damn busy being president, and dealing with the outright petulance of a Republican Party of adolescents marked by nothing as much as a dangerous naivete with no place in government, awash in an undeserved self-admiration and cro-magnon breast-beating. God help us if we put Romney into the White House or continue to permit the holding of office any other Narcissus in the GOP—-most of the men in the party are in love with themselves.
Romney may have a knack for numbers, and how to buy out and cash out of failing businesses at a huge profit, but consider that millions of kids have figured out the internal workings of the i-pad. Turning around the Olympics doesn’t qualify someone to run a country, much less put him in charge as commander in chief, nor does it excuse his inability to conduct nuanced foreign policy and that he has made extreme statements indicative of a rash mentality that could take us to the brink.