VERN’S VIEW: The real Romney

Most political pundits are writing their summaries of the recent carnival known as the Republican National Convention, but not me. The Democrat’s are now trotting out all their surrogates and candidates to refute the GOP lies and probably making a few stretched facts of their own. Such is the convention environment.

I’m focusing on the Republican presidential candidate and what passes for his experience in business as well as what might explain his behaviors. Much of the following material comes from an article written for Rolling Stone magazine by Matt Taibbi.

Taibbi begins by refuting the supposition of Mitt Romney being a bumbling liar. Instead, he says, “ … they’re … confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal.” In other words, Romney has adjusted his message to get elected president. Truth or facts are not at issue here.

Romney said, “Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican party.” After watching and listening to incredible lies and hypocrisies from the vice presidential candidate during the convention, Romney must not have much respect for the Republican Party. No, it’s about Romney picking someone else to prevaricate and preserve the fiction.

Here’s the scary part: Romney is campaigning by frightening everyone about debt. Typical of all Republicans, though, he blames President Barack Obama for the current debt of almost $16 trillion even though two-thirds of it occurred during the Bush administration. Taibbi speculates that Romney is making a calculated bluff about voters believing the Democrats are responsible for the debt, but also that he knows how to fix it.

The truth is, Romney was one of the leading stars of the leveraged buy-out business. When he was handed the reins to Bain Capital, he loaded up companies with debt by using small amounts of Bain money to obtain huge loans from huge banks to acquire the controlling interest in a targeted company. He then charged consultant fees to tell those companies how to cut budgets to make loan and interest payments on the debt Bain loaded on in the first place. When a company went bankrupt, Bain sold everything and pocketed the profits while the company was stuck with the debt.

Taibbi adds that this hypocrisy is “… simply a reflection of his own artlessly unapologetic mindset — it stands as an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set he represents.” Mitt Romney was one of the early players in using debt as a lever for personal profit at the expense of companies and workers across the country and the world.

The real Romney was a major player in the take-stuff-and-trash-it crowd that led to the crash of 2008. Instead of building new companies, these people sucked the money out of those companies and then sold off their assets while pocketing management fees. This destruction makes a few people rich while destroying America’s ability to manufacture.

It’s no great leap to compare Romney to Gordon Gecko, the infamous villain in the movie "Wall Street."

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. His books are available on "Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status" and "A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools." He can be reached by email at

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