American Elephants


If Politics Is A Game, Are There Any Rules About Lies? by The Elephant's Child

Politics is a funny business. How many of us would like to or be able to go out in public, brag about our accomplishments, in a way that hopefully didn’t seem too much like bragging, expose all our past failures and foibles, stand up under the insults and lies from our opponents team, and try to prove to the public that we are the better person to handle an important job? Not me! The connection between my brain and my keyboard comes easily, but I’m often a slow thinker. I have to ponder stuff, and the right answer doesn’t pop out of my mouth until much later, and all too often becomes just “I wish I’d said that.”

That said, it is not really surprising that much of a campaign’s advertising is based on an emotional appeal. The Obama campaign’s “Joe Soptic ad,” where Soptic tried to blame his unemployment and his wife’s death on Mitt Romney —was a charge that was shown not only to be false, but chronologically impossible. Nevertheless, it is still running. I see a far greater cynicism from the Democrats — an expectation that people will believe falsehoods and don’t know how to discover the truth. But perhaps that’s just because I’m on the other side.

Mitt Romney is in a difficult position for the opposing campaign. He has been an honest and spectacular success in business, helping to nurture many startups to success, and salvage others. His education prepared him for a successful career in business and his work ethic, leadership, and intelligence made it a sterling career. He turned those skills to saving the Salt Lake Winter Olympics from disaster, and went on to win the Governor’s office in Massachusetts. With a Legislature that was 93% Democrat, he managed to get rid of the deficit and restore the State to a surplus. This is not the stuff of easy attacks. We have a genuinely supremely skilled candidate who is that rare thing in politics at any time — a genuinely good and compassionate man. Makes the attack thing hard. It is well known that Mitt is rich, and people always hate the rich, because they have no conception of the common man. Out-of-touch, uncaring, and filthy rich!

Enter the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who recruited Mitt Romney’s garbageman — embarrassing, but true — for a new ad, published Oct, 1, 2012. Richard Hayes is a City of San Diego sanitation worker whose route includes Mitt Romney’s $12 million oceanfront villa in La Jolla, California. This is his story.

Note the sledgehammer message? (h/t: Charles Cooke) It isn’t Mitt Romney’s house — it’s his “$12  million oceanfront villa.” Mr. Romney’s wealth and detachment prevent him from having to know what life is like for blue-collar workers like Mr. Hayes.

One problem, if the AFSCME folks had done their homework, they might have encountered page 251 of Mitt Romney’s book No Apology:

During my campaign for governor, I decided to spend a day every few weeks doing the jobs of other people in Massachusetts. Among other jobs, I cooked sausages at Fenway Park, worked on asphalt paving crew, stacked bales of hay on a farm, volunteered in an emergency room, served food at a nursing home, and worked as a child-care assistant. I’m often asked which was the hardest job – it’s child care, by a mile.

One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did: “Nice job, Mitt,” they called. “Why don’t you find an easier job?” And then they good-naturedly came down and helped me pick up my mess.

And here’s Mitt working as a garbage collector:




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