So, this morning we predicted that the “weird” meme promised by Team Obama would get to Mormon by the very oblique angle of attacking Romney’s industriousness and success. I guess we are more “prescience” than first thought. This afternoon, a new piece in the anybody-but-Romney mode came to our attention. This one is from Kevin Williamson, Deputy Managing Editor of National Review! It goes to great length to spell out a number of fascinating Wall Street business practices promoted under the Obama administration and then concludes:
So there you have it: hedge-fund titans, i-bankers, congressional nabobs, committee chairmen, senators, swindlers, run-of-the-mill politicos, and a few outright thieves (these categories are not necessarily exclusive) all feeding at the same trough, and most of them betting that Mitt Romney won’t do anything more to stop it than Barack Obama did. If anything, the fact that Romney is having the least luck with the firm that knows him best speaks better of him than does the enthusiasm he apparently inspires in Goldman Sachs et al.
It shall be a struggle from this point forward to treat this seriously because it really is so much conspiratorial vapor. However, given the source and the national mood this thing needs to be dealt with, not merely dismissed. There are three levels on which to advance the refutation.
First, note the team of Romney supporters Williamson names, “…hedge-fund titans, i-bankers, congressional nabobs, committee chairmen, senators, swindlers, run-of-the-mill politicos….” Let’s just start with your humble team of bloggers here at Article VI. We are all Romney supporters. Two of the three of us have donated to the legal maximum to the Romney campaign. All three of us make a reasonable living, but none of us are exactly amongst the the kind of big money people Williamson seems to think constitutes the heart of Romney’s support. I have attended more than my fair share of Romney fundraisers, and sure, I have met a few hedge fund types, but far more frequently I have run into lawyers, doctors, and general business people. The type Williamson dismissively refers to as “…the Chamber of Commerce crowd, because those guys are used-car dealers and grocery-store owners and for the most part strictly from hick….“ At one recent fundraiser I ran into a general contractor I had not seen in 15 years but with whom I had served on the ruling board of my prior church. Having known his business in its current incarnation, and its prior when it was operated by his father, I can assure you he is not in the category that Williamson seems to see in ever corner of the Romney campaign.
The group of people supporting Mitt Romney are wide and varied on virtually any demographic factor you want to look into. Williamson acts as if all of us who are not “Wall Street Insiders” are just tools being picked up and used by the true “powers that be.” Please Mr. Williamson, to imply such is to imply that I am somehow stupid. I am a lot of things, not all of them good, but stupid I am not.
Second, all the connections Williamson attempts to make about Wall Street practices that might be considered unsavory are within the Obama administration and supporters, not Team Romney. He assaults everyone from Tim Geitner to Nancy Pelosi and then simply asserts that Romney is a pea in their pod?! Where in the world this assertion comes from, I have no idea. This smacks of the Bilderbergers – the assertion that governments and parties are just fronts through which the very select few exercise their enormous power.
What is really sad is that this is a meme borrowed straight from #Occupy, and perhaps in the mind of the most fevered of the Paulpods.
About a week before Christmas Rush Limbaugh took a huge shot at National Review for shooting at Gingrich, who had very much borrowed a meme from #Occupy – accusing NR of not being “true conservatives.” We felt obliged to shoot back. In our piece we pointed out how important pundits can be in shaping the national agenda, and how by doing such they prevent the pure politicians from leading (following?) the nation into any number of possible suicide scenarios. In discussing Gingrich’s intemperance we had made the point:
This is bloodlust in the political sense and threatens to make the revolt of this election the next step in the cycle of ever escalating revolt. Rather than the “peaceful transition of power” which has separated this nation from so many others, and is the basis for our freedom, we stand on the brink of wider and wider swings in our political transitions. Something that would make the base on which we all stand far less firm than we have come to enjoy.
As the sober grown-ups, the Republicans have been the damper on the pendulum and maintained the base for all of us. Neither the bigotry of anti-Mormonism nor the bloodlust expressed in support for Gingrich’s intemperance are pendulum dampening forces. If the first two years of Obama prove anything, they prove that as Republicans we must hold our sobriety and reason even tighter. The counter to a pendulum threatening to swing out of control is not to force it to swing more widely in the opposite direction, but to make it swing less in either direction.
I find myself wondering if Williamson felt the sting of Limbaugh’s feckless attack to the point that he felt he had no choice but to join the Limbaugh chorus – setting aside reason for the sake of expressing the obvious national anger at the numerous Obama jam downs we have had to suffer.
Third, the connections he does draw about the practices of Wall Street and Democrats-in-power are perfectly legal. It is capitalism at work, nothing more and nothing less. If it is the opinion of the nation that these practices represent unfair advantages, then pass a law and mandate a regulation, but you cannot condemn people for taking advantage of circumstances to profit. It is true, the Obama administration has done little to change the rules of the road that Williamson is concerned with, but back to the second point, there is no evidence that a Romney administration will do the same thing. In point of fact, Mr. Williamson would have a far better chance of bringing his concerns to the fore and getting things changed with a Romney administration than he would with a second Obama term.
Much that Mr Williamson accuses people of – again only Democrats – is a bit slimy, but in addition to being legal, it is not really even unethical. Capitalism, by its nature, will have its slimy practitioners. From small print in used car sales contracts to bait-and-switch sales tactics, such is the price we pay for the opportunities capitalism grants all of us. The cure to this sliminess is culture, not the government.
People of character will avoid sliminess in their capitalistic practices because such violates their own view of themselves. A man of the deep and real character of a Mitt Romney will give us a far better chance of promoting such culture than a candidate of demonstrably lesser character.
When examined carefully, Mr Williamson’s arguments are not only without basis, but they are self-defeating. It is a strange cycle indeed when such an inept case comes from a source as respected and time-honored as National Review.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt interviewed Williamson late in the afternoon after publication. The transcript is here. Williamson had little defense, only denial.