This doesn’t happen with the better candidates. Not because the better candidates are more guarded — they aren’t — but because the better candidates generally are honest about what they believe. They may slip and say something goofy or off-key, but it’s not revelatory, because it’s not something they’ve been trying to keep hidden.
Mitt Romney is not one of the better candidates. Indeed, he’s one of the worse ones. Guarded beyond all rational levels, his very political positions a mystery to all but him (and perhaps, all including him), Mitt has been running for various offices since tge 1990s on a “Whatever you’re for, I’m for” platform. And in all that time, he’s never expressed a coherent reason for running.
But I think yesterday morning, while discussing the envy and jealousy that we all feel about the über-rich — because we can’t be concerned about income inequality for any other reason than that — Mitt accidentally let slip his entire worldview, and the precise reason he’s running for office:
LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I’m curious about the word ‘envy.’ Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?
ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.
LAUER: Yeah but envy? Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as ‘envy,’ though?
ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.
Did you catch that? (Probably. I bolded it, after all.) Mitt thinks things like inequality are subjects for “quiet rooms.” Not a campaign. Not even in Congress. But in quiet rooms, away from the limelight, away from the prying eyes of the hoi polloi. That’s where the decisions get made, after all. Not by the plebes. But by rich men in sharp suits who discuss these things over a fine dinner, perhaps some drinks for one’s non-Mormon friends.
And that’s how Mitt sees things. He’s not running because he has any particular ideology — he doesn’t. He just wants to be in those quiet rooms, discussing things with his fellow Very Important Men. And he’s willing to change his positions like some people change underwear because his positions don’t matter. This is all a show for the rubes. Discussing actual policy positions? That’s unseemly. The public should have no voice in these matters. And the idea that they should — well, that’s just stoking envy and class warfare.
That’s Mitt’s worldview. That’s Mitt’s core. You don’t matter. Nobody matters except those select few who manage to trick people into giving them power. It would be best if all of us just shut up and elected Mitt so he can do what he thinks is best, which itself doesn’t really matter.
It is an interesting way to view the world, one far more consonant with 16th century England than 21st century America. But one that never went out of fashion with a certain subset of wealthy people, who really do believe that they are born to lead, and we are born to serve. He hid it well, but Mitt has finally come clean about what he honestly believes.