Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This is not a Political Post.

My grandmother had an old country expression, “That man don’t have a lick of sense.” Now we all have slips of the tongue or say things without thinking, but if you are running for President and making public statements you need to have a good editor up in your brain.

Mitt Romney looks good. He cleans up real nice, don’t he? Has that little touch of gray at the temples, his tie on straight. He “looks Presidential” as they say. But he don’t talk good. (Yes, it is ungrammatical, but I’m not running for anything.) Romney is leading in the GOP circus right now, but his handlers better get him into Poli-Speak College for the course 101 - How Not to Give Your Opponents Negative Sound Bites.

This wouldn’t make no never mind (another old country saying) if we had an honest and decent Press in this country. We don’t. We have a bunch of vultures more interested in the gotcha moment than reporting fact or explaining anything fairly and at depth. If a candidate can’t grasp the need for caution when speaking to the Press, he is a fool.

Last week in the debates Romney made two comments about his tax statements that showed he is out of touch with the everyday working person in this country.

First he stated his 2010 tax return would “show he paid all the taxes he was obligated to pay.” Well, so do I. Of course, to do otherwise would be illegal and the IRS would be coming after me. I mean, what the heck is that? It sounds like every politician or business executive ever charged with cooking the books or fraudulent activity. “I have done nothing illegal. It was all within the law as it is written.”

In other words it sounds as if he is exploiting a bunch of loopholes to avoid paying tax. It may be legal, but it doesn’t look good and the average guy can’t do it. You know, like having a secret Swiss bank account or money stashed in the Cayman Islands.

Not realizing how such a statement would play in the press, he went up and compounded it with this quote, “I don't think the voters want a president who pays more than he owes." That quote just triggers people to be suspicious and look for something hidden.

Well, I suppose we don’t want anyone paying more than they owe, but why in the world would you make such a remark? It just reinforced the idea you pulled some shenanigans to avoid paying tax.  It also indicates a person knowing his returns are going to show something he wants to prepare people for because he knows it will look like he got off cheap.  It also says he is out of touch with the common man. It ranks up there with Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake," when people were asking for bread. As an old Credence Clearwater song goes, "I ain't no privileged son." Mitt is a privileged son.

Now a week later he opens his mouth and stupidity spews out. You would think he would have learned how the press, TV comedians and his opposition work from his previously and famously misquoted, “I love firing people.” You may be saying a perfectly reasonable and logical thing, but if you don’t frame it correctly, no one will hear the real message.

His “I love firing people” was only part of the statement, because he was referring to getting rid of service people who failed to provide the service promised. We all have done this at times. I switched phone companies some years back for service issues. It was the correct thing to do. But it was stupid to frame this very sensible and commonsense practice using the words “love” and “firing”.  And the predictable happened. Only that part of his comment was used in a totally different way than he used it to make him look like Ebenezer Scrooge rubbing his hands in glee because he loved firing poor Bob Cratchet. Unfair, untrue, but today’s reality.

Yet he made the same structural gaff again. He explained how he was concentrating on the vast majority of Americans, strengthening the middle class, an absolute necessity if we are to bring this country back to economic strength. He also said he would help fix any “holes in the safety net” for the poor. 

Unfortunately he again framed his statement stupidly. He began it by saying, “I don’t care about the poor…” That is all the reporter heard, not what he really said. Now that bad phrasing is going to show up on the lips of Colbert and Leno and Letterman and Fallon. Now those out of context words will become a nice sound bite for his opponents’ negative ads. I can hear the spots now: “Here is what Mitt Romney says, “I love firing people…I don’t care about the poor…”

Now this is not a political post. I am neither endorsing or non-endorsing any candidate of either party. I am angry that the press in this country does not bother to explain and illuminate rather than glory in “gotchas” and even will distort things in order to create one. But it is what it is and the fact Romney can’t seem to get a grasp on that fact bothers me. He manages to get his ties properly tied, but he needs to find a way to tie down his tongue.

Of course this constant distortion by the Press and others of what people actually say is what keeps good people from running for office. And look what we get stuck with.


Ron said...

Romney wants to be president to atone for his father blowing up his campaign for president by saying he was "brainwashed" by the generals in Veitnam. How ironic that now Romney is going to blow up his campaign for president by the same Foot-in-the-Mouth problem. How poetic because this man stands for nothing. He is an empty suit. He is out of touch with the common man (and woman). He doesn't get it and never will. He does have some cute sons though. Not a total loss.

Tamela's Place said...

Amen Lar and Write On! get it right on! okay enough with the play on words.. This was a great write Larry

Tammy :)