Romney rides into the sunset as US hopes spring eternal

STEPHEN OLIVER
Last updated 07:35 19/11/2012
Mitt Romney gives his concession speech in Massachusetts as Barack Obama addresses his supporters in Chicago after the election.
REUTERS

Mitt Romney gives his concession speech in Massachusetts as Barack Obama addresses his supporters in Chicago after the election.

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Stephen Oliver

Nun's soapy penance offset by cream buns What became of the cowboy builders and the shonky jobs? Romney rides into the sunset as US hopes spring eternal Down in the lowlands where the rivers run a dirty brown Skullduggery in high places fodder for feisty gossip Vatican scandal is just another in a long sordid list Another cathedral much admired and beloved Marching to the beat of freedom again A landscape littered with haunted faces of humanity Behind the facades, shaken city's identity still in ruins

Another four years of Barrack Obama can only be a good thing. The alternative was too depressing to contemplate - Romney Land where the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. Under Romney and sidekick Paul Ryan, social security, Medicare and Medicaid would disappear. There would be a plethora of tax brakes for Mitt and his mates.

One of the most entertaining writers on the recently concluded presidential race is Eliot Weinberger, a celebrated American essayist and political commentator. He made many incisive observations concerning both the incumbent and the contender. The Republican billionaire and the Democrat Good Guy.

As Weinberger says, Romney is now relegated to political oblivion. He can return to wearing his funny underwear (Mormon's wear "funny" underwear as part of the deal). Mitt "has nowhere to go except to his vacation homes and his tax shelters. He'll have a milkshake and count his money, and Ann will ride her dancing horses".

Ryan was seen as a "locker-room braggart" boasting of his athletic prowess and lying about his marathon times - that doesn't go down well in the US - and his mountain-climbing feats.

The guy, to put it mildly, was economic with the truth. Imagine what he would have done real time with his proposed fiscal budget. The final dismantling of the so-called welfare system. Same thing is happening at an accelerating rate in both New Zealand and Australia.

The poor are always seen as necessary cannon fodder when an economy falters. There are few benefits for the wage earner these days any way you cut it. Employment is subject to strict contractual conditions that favour the employer over the employee. A 90-day probation period applies to the employee once signed up and the employer can dismiss with impunity. Corporates pre-dominate regardless of whether you wear funny underwear or not.

According to Weinberger, Mitt "lied 82 times in the three debates, the speeches to the party faithful had many more". For instance, he claimed categorically that "Chrysler was moving its Jeep factories to China". The CEO of that corporation actually called him a liar. Then Chrysler slammed a ball into Mitt's corner by giving all the Chrysler employees a day off to vote. Take that! The campaign and voting over, and Obama picked up the "African American, Latinos and Asian-Americans". Voters in the Rust Belt abandoned Romney in droves and went over to Obama.

The yeehaw voters in the Corn Belt states climbed aboard Mitt's bucking party machine for better or worse. Weinberger sums it up this way: "Republicans, in short, have become the party of the ageing descendants of cowboys and slave-owners." That sounds to me like a very tidy obituary notice, at least for this campaign.

Big-time money makes a man mean. Head 'em off at box canyon, pardner. Puerto Rico, whose voters are essential these days in deciding the outcome for each party, has now voted for statehood. Does this mean the 51st state for America is in the offing; maybe a whole new chapter is about to be written into the American constitution?

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The campaign trail is surely a re-enactment of the "Go West, young man" ethos with intermittent stops along the way, passing through the prairies of the disenfranchised, skirting the badlands of the blue-collar domains and, depending upon the colours you fly, given temporary shelter in the Bible Belt and red-neck swamplands of the South.

Each day as the Sun comes up by the grace of God over the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, that land was made for every man, woman and child in "the greatest nation on Earth" where times might be tough (but the tough get going) and all you have to do is put your wagons in a circle and wait it out for the good times to come round again. God may not wear funny underwear but he does live in America and calls the White House his home.

And right here in good old Kiwiland we too have our socio-economic divisions and maybe these, too, can be broken down not so much into brands but a landscape banded. We do have the Bible Belt and that runs right through the King Country, along with the Maize Belts in varying geographical sectors. We can add to these at will. The Udder Belt, the Poly Belt, the Dole Belt, the Gangsta Belt - the list is incremental.

Stephen Oliver has published several volumes of poetry including Harmonic and more recently Apocrypha. Travelled widely. Freelances as Voice Artist/Writer. He resides in the north King Country.

- Waikato Times

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