Two Years ago, the country did what at the time seemed to be he unthinkable. It made Barack Obama, our first African American President a one term, lame duck and elected Mitt Romney. Despite a long and often times petty campaign, the country came together and rallied around the guy who made his career on Wall St. based on the promise of a new and brighter America, tired of empty soaring rhetoric. It was a similar promise George W. Bush made just one President ago. Romney vowed to be a different kind of Conservative. More moderate and someone who could reach across the aisle.
However only two short years in it’s becoming more and more tragically clear every day that this is George W. Bush’s third term.
The economy is on the verge of recession, again. He has yet to carry through on his campaign promise of overturning Obamacare but has passed out waivers and taken action to delay parts of the law that could benefit millions. Vladimir Putin, who at the time candidate Romney called America’s number one geopolitical foe, has gone ignored and unchecked, most recently with pro Putin rebels shooting a passenger airliner out of the sky killing 295 innocent people. Romney’s response was tepid at best. Just last week, Not President Bush announced new airstrikes in Iraq. Even though this is the President who blamed his predecessor for removing troops in the first place, Romney made it clear that this is not a new war and that there will be no ground troops. Experts disagree.
And now there’s Ferguson, Missouri.
A community was torn apart and racial tensions boiled over when an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown, about to start college, was shot by a police officer in an incident reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin’s shooting. It has all but erupted into a symbolic conflict of the current state of poverty,race and the militarization of local police forces. Shortly before the 2012 election, Barack Obama urged calm and unity surrounding the death of Martin, urging protesters to allow the system to work. The country rejected him for it. Now we have another Republican President and another dead youth of color and a national community angry and searching for answers.
This was the last thing a new President dealing with a world unraveling needed, especially after allegations of voter fraud and election rigging by the Koch Bros and the protests that followed, or “Kochtests”as they were referred to by former Majority Leader Harry Reid. President Romney is already running out of chances.
Most Presidents would realize the bad optics from a situation like election protests and apply them to the similar protests in Ferguson. Apparently, Mitt Romney hasn’t learned. While police officers were firing off tear gas canisters and arresting reporters (more on that later), Romney was not in the White House situation room, or meeting with Attorney General Portman or Vice President Ryan (Who is halfway across the world meeting with Netanyahu). No, the President who overcame his image as an out of touch one percenter was having dinner at a golf club on Martha’s Vineyard.
Let that sink in.
To make matters worse, as President Romney partied with the richest 1% and people marched under the threat of sniper rifles, a White House Deputy Press Secretary sent out a tweet about what a good time was ‘being had by all’. It was a staggering failure of juxtaposition for the White House still learning the ropes of social media savviness, something the Obama White House mastered.
Romney of all people should have realized how this might look. While he is busy dancing to every song and dining on lobster, businesses were being torched and innocent people being targeted.
This was the President we were told would not be the evil money burning Gordon Gecko clone he was made out to be by the Obama campaign, yet at almost every chance he gets he goes out of his way to prove that he is in fact looking out for Wall St. and not citizens who did not vote for him. Romney is a President who doesn’t understand how hanging out with celebrities like Jimmy Fallon or riding bikes around Nantucket looks to people struggling to find jobs, or in cases like Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, walk down the street without being shot.
But it’s not just unarmed black teenagers being targeted in Romney’s America.
Earlier in the day, as police geared up in Missouri, Fox News was more focused on the anticipated meeting at Martha’s Vineyard between Hillary Clinton and President Romney. Mrs. Clinton recently made remarks endorsing Romney’s strategy on Syria and the handling of ISIS in Iraq. Right Wing pundits however seemed perplexed wondering why Romney would be seen at what Sean Hannity dubbed a “Hug Summit”.
The President seemed to be calcifying his reputation as a liberal loving Massachusetts Moderate that can’t please his base, despite deporting 7 million immigrants and expanding the police state while preaching transparency.
But the euphoric mood the media had over the meeting of two people universally opposed to Barack Obama‘s policies quickly turned sour when the almost unthinkable happened in America in 2014. Two reporters were arrested and water boarded (allegedly) by police in Ferguson. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post were forcefully removed from a Ferguson McDonalds without the unnamed officer asking them to leave once.
Members of media, who already feel targeted by the Romney Administration took to Twitter to alert their followers of what was happening. What followed was a firestorm of journalists uniting unlike anything seen since Occupy Wall St. Reporters facing tear gas were somehow still miraculously able to tweet and some bravely blocked tear gas with their bodies.
Mic News editor Stefan Becket took it upon himself to remind Ferguson Police and the Romney Administration of special rights and protections journalists are provided under the Constitution that don’t apply to ‘average citizens’. A spokesperson for the DOJ hailed the loyalty of reporters (4th Estate anyone?) to the admin before being rudely chastised by hack puppet Jake Tapper.
Michael Brown’s tragic death and the circumstances surrounding it no longer matter. An increasingly hostile administration has clearly set their eyes on members of the media.
One thing is clear. The optics coming out of the Romney Administration are disastrous and arresting reporters certainly won’t help. They are bound to turn on the President. An American city up in flames from 3 days of rioting and looting while he golfs and parties. Another white Republican President who “Doesn’t care about black people”.
Remember why Mitt Romney was elected in the first place.
He promised to heal the country after seven long years of depression and division and just two years in already seems out of touch and exactly what critics warned about. He could cancel his vacation and board Air Force One tomorrow. He could be in St. Louis in a matter of hours. Instead, just as Bush opted, he chooses a flyby. A man who claims to be humble despite the size of his bank account could bring the country together and ask that we seek truth, not anger. But this is the kind of siutation that calls for the deft touch of someone familiar with organizing communities. A community organizer if you will. Someone with experience dealing with the harsh realities of being poor and black and afraid for your life in America. Someone who could empathize with African American communities dealing with Michael Browns every day. This is 2014 not 1965.
If only there was someone like that the country could have elected in 2012.
Instead, just like the last Republican President, Romney chooses to release cryptic statements in between rounds of golf and commenting on the tragic loss of Hollywood comedians. What is it going to take to get this President to interrupt his precious vacation schedule, a vacation schedule during his campaign he promised he would not take?
Perhaps media should have done more due diligence to find out who Mitt Romney really was. Perhaps a more down to earth candidate who understands real urban struggles will emerge in 2016. Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker come to mind. But for now, we’re stuck.
As the world and more importantly the country plunges deeper into chaos that seems to be above Mitt Romney’s pay grade, the recent tragedy in Ferguson only reinforces recent polls that suggest the country made a mistake in 2012. Hypotheticals and ‘what ifs’ are meaningless at this point.
It’s just too bad we can’t go back in time.
- SM -