The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

William Masters

June 26, 2012

Romney sees his way as the right way

Meet Mitt Romney, seeking the power of the presidency. He seeks to convince us that his conservative economic theories will save us from ourselves.

For him, there is magical power in the market. For him the pain of unemployment is actually the incentive for finding work, because responsibility is a personal, not social matter. He chides those who would address unemployment with charity. That encourages dependency.

He is a self-proclaimed conservative, who actually says that the discipline of the market (suffering and poverty) redeems people. Social rescue has to be fought "like the poison it is ... (causing) death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity." (Jan. 7, 2008, at a Conservative Political Action Conference.)

Does the right wing observe any limitation on its efforts to subject all of us to its hard-line agenda? Some suspect that its target is democracy itself. No? What about Citizens United, or free speech for money, without limit? That disenfranchises most people, but enfranchises accumulations of wealth.

Supposedly we are a country of checks and balances. But where have the checks and balances on congressional lobbying and fundraising gone?

Ask John McCain, who tried to construct some. The Supreme Court's free speech for money buried his rules under cash, which led the senator to say that the court had been "undisciplined, arrogant and naive."

In right-wing ideology, responsibility is on the individual, not social factors. But for them, freedom gives license to serve self-interest with little regard for social consequences. It is hard to reason with the right wing, because they already "know" you are wrong before you start.

For Romney, civil rights takes second place to police surveillance of "potential terrorists." But just how are such dangerous people to be identified?

He plays the (divisive) fear card, saying: "If people are coming to this country terrorizing or talking about terror in such a way that it could lead to the violent death of Americans, we need to know about that, track them, follow them and make sure that in every way we can we know what they're doing and where they're doing it. And if it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that's exactly where we're going to go because we're going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people." (Feb. 5, 2007, GOP presidential debate.)

In effect, he says that on his watch public safety would trump civil rights. (Feb. 20, 2010, Conservative Political Action Conference.) He is known to be quite pragmatic in his policies. What he opposes is interesting. It starts with his own health care bill in Massachusetts, which he renounced when campaigning for president. He opposes the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming. He tends to pander to large companies on environmental issues.

He blew kisses to the NRA, extolling gun rights as among the most basic to our functioning as a free society. Stand your ground, with guns, for example. If you feel scared, shoot first and ask questions later. It seems to be a killer argument. I guess guns serve as individual safety nets in his world.

But he is against social and economic safety nets as leading to dependency. Many would say that such benefits actually promote private initiative and risk-taking.

Romney became increasingly conservative as he moved into presidential politics: Pro-NRA, less pro-health care, converted to anti-tax pledging, and backed off corporate tax reform. Flexibility as a manager may show strength, but in policy debates it comes across like opportunism.

When Romney was a youth, he led peers in subduing a long haired-teenage boy whose long hair offended him. The others all recalled the event vividly but with regret. Not Romney. He could not remember. He wielded the shears. The victim was in tears.

Righteous Romney knew what was right even then. Bullies do. He grew up in rooms of wealth and corridors of power.

He feels clear on right and wrong, but making someone cry was not even a memorable event. How sensitive is he to the dignity of others, less fortunate than himself?

Mitt Romney is certain he knows what is right for this country. But we need leadership that is able to see what feels right to all the rest of us.

William Masters can be reached at wmasters@thedailystar.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board.

1
Text Only
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

  • Health care should be seen as way to help others

    What is health care? Well, first and foremost it is having care, or empathy, for the distress of others. Health care is extending efforts to alleviate the distress for a person who is ill. The opposite, if you think about it, would be torture — using the power to harm to win your own way.

    July 13, 2012

  • Romney sees his way as the right way

    Meet Mitt Romney, seeking the power of the presidency. He seeks to convince us that his conservative economic theories will save us from ourselves.

    June 26, 2012

  • Congressional candidate offers sound solutions

    Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination for president. If he can lick Barack, he will be the president of all of us. He must be taken seriously, but for me, up to now, he has been like a big bell being hit with a cooking spoon.

    June 12, 2012

  • It's refreshing to hear our president dismiss prejudice

    Race and sexual identity both sponsor problems of social discomfort. Abstractly, such traits are fixed, but in life they are roads on the map of our cultural values, which change.

    May 29, 2012

  • Time for lawmakers who put needs of society first

    Richard Lugar, after six terms as a Republican senator -- known for his middle of the road rationality and his foreign policy finesse -- has been ousted by a Tea Party extremist backed by outside right-wing funding.

    May 15, 2012

  • War not worth gambling with lives of soldiers

    Are you not tired of our war in Afghanistan? It had a point, once, after 9/11. Bush couldn't distinguish his myopic personal agendas from the nation's needs and let Osama escape, dropping the ball entirely, causing many deaths.

    May 1, 2012

  • Titanic was a microcosm of U.S. economic disparity

    Haunting reminders of the Titanic tragedy have wafted over us with the centenary of its sinking. The maiden voyage of an impressive, state of the art vessel, was a little like that of the Challenger space shuttle, at the cutting edge of developing technology. But the shuttle carried our pride in science and space exploration, not hundreds and hundreds of people.

    April 17, 2012

  • William Masters: Nation stands divided between 'us' and 'them'

    In February, Trayvon Martin was shot dead as "suspicious" by a volunteer neighborhood watch man. The case has aroused community reaction in Sanford, Fla., and is still echoing across the country.

    April 3, 2012

  • A quarterback can't win the game alone

    What is the relationship between democracy and wealth? Democracy is a political system, while wealth relates to economics. We have equal political rights, but we don't all have money. Extreme differences destroy the continuity of community solidarity.

    March 20, 2012

  • CSSEE36.jpg Playing Left Field: Some blur lines between laws of church and state

    We have freedom of religion in this country. A clear separation between churches and governmental agencies is constitutionally mandated. Government power may not favor or advance a particular religion.

    March 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • Humans need to look at long-term impact on Earth

    Global warming is real and we are smugly oblivious. I recall the USS Nautilus making a journey to the North Pole decades ago, and poking its conning tower dramatically up through the ice right at the pole itself, an arrival theretofore possible only by dog sled and arduous effort.

    February 21, 2012

  • CSS6284.jpg Playing Left Field: Meaning of 'liberty' lost in GOP's translation

    COLUMN BY WILLIAM MASTERS .... Now, during the Republican presidential primaries, we hear a lot about liberty. It is a leave-me-alone type of liberty, suggesting the license to do what one may choose in the sacred call of business activity. Much is sought in the name of freedom.

    February 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Government no longer about power of people

    In my time, the idea of conservatism has been turned upside down. Men in my family wore neckties even when just reading the paper at home.

    January 24, 2012

  • Americans should respect right to bear arms

    Early one morning a while back, I answered a phone call from Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, warning that the sky is falling _ no worse: that the U.S. is participating in a U.N. treaty effort to deal with the irresponsible international transfers of small arms.

    January 10, 2012

  • Inequalities breed social dysfunction

    In my most-recent column, I presented recent epidemiological evidence that the inequality built into a society underlies the sense many of us have that the country is going in the wrong direction.

    December 27, 2011

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Helium
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service
Poll

Do you plan to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results