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The Rant

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With zero precincts reporting, we can now accurately predict that the next president of the United States will be Barack Obama. Now that Mitt Romney is un beignet français, or French toast, as we call it in the lower 47 percent, his bilingual supporters might say his pâté de foie gras is cooked.

I mean, who's left that he hasn't insulted except the Obama haters? And there aren't enough of those to elect him president. Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot the "principled conservatives" and the anti-tax zealots who are prepared to vote for the architect of the despised Obamacare and his running-mate, the champion of small government who co-sponsored an anti-abortion bill with Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin, who introduced the term "legitimate rape" to the nation. The slapstick campaign of Romney and Ryan is like watching the Watergate hearings. Every day there's a new revelation that is damaging to Republicans nationwide. By choosing these two escapees from Ringling Bros. as their candidates, the GOP didn't just shoot themselves in the foot, they blew their brains out. It was bad enough that Lord Mitt was surreptitiously taped saying out loud to his wealthy donors what everyone thought he believed anyway, but there's a sweet irony that he was done in by a bartender in league with James Earl Carter IV. The tape made great reality television and opened the eyes of working people everywhere, as well as the elderly, members of the armed services, and the poor.

Romney violated the unspoken alliance between the privileged and the peasants, the filthy rich and the unwashed rubes, the pampered and the propagandized. Not even that 24-hour Mitt Romney infomercial called Fox News could save this sinking ship from Titanic disaster — that is, everywhere except the South. In our blue corner of this red-state wasteland, Romney can still depend on the votes of the resentful Caucasoids, regardless of their economic status. The deceitful have succeeded in fooling the delusional, who will vote against their own well-being before voting for a Marxist, Kenyan Muslim with a secret agenda to turn the U.S. into a European-style socialist state where everyone gives according to their ability and receives according to their need. 

As Mitt Romney said to his donors in Boca Raton, imagine the chutzpah of the rabble demanding everything from health care to food to shelter. Next, they'll be insisting on clean water from the tap when bottled water is sold in every 7-Eleven. The wealthy have convinced the middle class — or what's left of it — that Obama wants to take money from hard-working taxpayers and give it to Romney's gangs of loafers and moochers. A lot of people receive government benefits — Social Security and Medicare recipients, those with disabilities, the working poor, and those in poverty who receive some sort of welfare benefit.

This is where the real class warfare begins — wealthy Republicans ginning up resentment against the most vulnerable among us by portraying them as lazy, black, able-bodied schemers who live lives of leisure by gaming the system. They've been doing it since Ronald Reagan's "Welfare Queen," and the myth of the "Welfare Cadillac" still lingers on. Seniors and soldiers have earned their retirement benefits, and if you've ever known anyone on welfare, then you know that it's a wretched existence. Although there will always be someone looking for an illegal advantage, it's a lie to claim there is rampant abuse of the system, just as it's a lie to divide the nation between "makers and takers," as Ryan has done. His adopted Ayn Rand philosophy may make rich people feel special, but it's no way to govern. It does fit perfectly, however, with the notion that half the populace are mendicants, undeserving of compassion from their government.

I was introduced to Ayn Rand during a vulnerable period in my life by a conservative intellectual who used to work for segregationist Georgia governor Lester Maddox. He was the accountant for a music producer I was working with while living in a makeshift, hippie-band commune south of Nashville. He gave me a copy of Atlas Shrugged to read while the band guys were constantly borrowing my car. The idea that the "makers" could just take their ball and go home, leaving the "takers" to fend for themselves, was an appealing idea when I was 21 and chafing at the communal experience. But I outgrew it when I realized the world is not so simple and we humans are interdependent in every way. Ryan has never outgrown his Ayn Rand obsession and sticks by the old slogan that everyone should "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Unfortunately, after the Bush recession, there are scores of people without any boots, but in Ryan's world, "a strong back is a terrible thing to waste." Thus, the easily disprovable canard that Obama has removed the Clinton era "welfare to work" requirement that is repeated ad nauseum by the GOP. The irate Tea Party knuckleheads believe that entitlements are socialism rather than part of the social contract, but even Ayn Rand ended up claiming her Medicare and Social Security benefits when she got old and sick.

In 1988, the Democrats nominated another governor from Massachusetts who had difficulty with the personality he projected: Michael Dukakis. He lost in a landslide. So it will be for Romney, and richly deserved. For four years, we have witnessed the Republican Party refuse to lift a finger to help the president, unless it's the middle finger. In colonial days, the GOP's obstruction might well be regarded as treason and its perpetrators pilloried. Now, according to conservative former Congressman Joe Scarborough, the Republicans have become "the party of stupid." It would seem that if an eager student has to take the SAT test to get into college, an aspiring politician should have to pass a civics exam. This is the point where everything falls apart for them. The Senate Republicans' rejection of the Veterans Jobs Act is only the latest example of a party so desperate to make this president look bad that they would refuse to care for the volunteer soldiers who fight our wars.

This will be a washout election where the voters rectify the terrible mistake of 2010 and oust the Tea Party extremists. Then we'll salt the earth from whence they came so that we'll see them no more. When the election is over, Romney can return to doing what he does best — making money off the misery of others and firing people who provide him services. Au revoir, Mitt.

Randy Haspel writes the Born-Again Hippies blog, where a version of this column first appeared.

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