Mitt Romney, Playing the Demagogue, Tells an Occupy Protester to Love America or Leave It

In the below video is some shameless demagogic grandstanding on the part of Mitt Romney. In it, he tells an Occupy protester that his concerns are not American.

The exchange says a lot about Romney.

The Occupy protester asks him about the genuineness of Romney’s public spiritedness: what did he ever really do throughout his business career that benefited the 99%? This clearly hits a nerve with Romney, and he replies by changing the subject to an obfuscating false alternative: America, love it or leave it.

This ignores the middle ground (and the middle class). Romney implies that his business dealings are simply beyond question, and that the protester—if he doesn’t like the rules of the economic game as they are currently set in America—should move to North Korea, Cuba, Russia, or China and then “I’m glad to hear all about it”—how great one of those places is and how well its model works (presumably from a distance of thousands of miles).

This is how low Romney will go to win the Republican nomination—aping Newt Gingrich’s flippant and alienating style, and thereby giving sanction to the worst knee-jerk, anti-dialogue, and anti-intellectual impulses of the far right. It’s why Romney may well find his hold on the Republican nomination slip away from him.

To echo Harry Truman from another context, if you give Republican voters a choice between a demagogue and a demagogue, they’ll pick the demagogue every time. Romney is the fake demagogue; Gingrich the real thing.

Score Republican votes to the Gingrich column here.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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