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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/19/12

USS Romney goes Titanic

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Cross-posted from Asia Times

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Willard "Mitt" Romney comfortably sees himself as the chief executive officer of a US$1 billion enterprise -- the Republican Party election campaign that should place him as the next President of the United States (POTUS). Meanwhile, current POTUS Barack Obama is increasingly convinced he just needs to deploy a secret weapon to clinch re-election. 

That weapon is Mitt Romney. 

USS Romney is like one of those state-of-the art aircraft carriers parked somewhere between the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The problem is, as winter and the November presidential election approaches Washington, it has hit not only one iceberg, but a climate changeful of icebergs. And this while the orchestra on board merrily keeps playing  Baby, It's Cold Outside to the $50,000-a-plate plutocrats who have not yet abandoned the sinking ship. 

To think that the latest iceberg inflation developed over only two news cycles; there will be plenty more before the week -- not to mention month -- is over. That's even before the first presidential debate in early October. 

Let them eat whoppers

It all started with a detailed mosaic sketched by Politico on how USS Romney started sinking. Notorious episodes in the soap include Mitt's Olympic fiasco in London; his Tampa, Florida, consecration obscured by Clint Eastwood's empty chair; and his cynical appropriation of the Benghazi killing of the US ambassador to Libya. Blame is widely attributed by Mitt's "aides, advisers and friends" to the designated staff scapegoat, Mitt's top strategist/manager/ad director Stuart Stevens. 

This from a self-described successful CEO who in his stump speech insists all the US needs is -- a CEO. If his leadership of the billion-dollar USS Romney is any indication, people had better start fighting now for the remaining lifeboats. 

Then came the "47% incident" -- at the core of the fundraiser video released by Mother Jones detailing what Mitt really thinks about Obama's voters, as told to a roomful of plutocrat donors. 

Once again, the money quote:
"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what ... These are people who pay no income tax."
He'll never have the guts to say it in prime time, but for Mitt nearly half of the US is a nation of hopeless, immoral moochers (that's what his $50,000-a-plate fellow plutocrats wanted to hear anyway). Even The New York Times had to admit that at least as a deployer of class warfare, Mitt may be a force to reckon with. 

Predictably, Mitt's not "elegant" -- his own word -- candid-camera moment unleashed a deluge of excruciatingly detailed fact checking, as this sample attests. 

But nobody pointed out that whether or not Mitt's 47% stand the test of reality, there are at least 46% of US voters who will vote Republican no matter what. The candidate may be "Dubya" or the billionaire tax-dodging USS Romney; it doesn't matter. Just ask Karl Rove. Or read Craig Unger's recently published Boss Rove (Scribner). 

The US is bitterly polarized -- beyond repair. That leaves roughly 7% of independents, or undecided, or swing voters, to be courted by both parties. To believe that USS Romney has managed to seduce this crowd after his latest utterances and the surfacing of the fundraiser-video tell-all is to believe in Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (wait; make it Iran's weapons of mass destruction). 

As for POTUS, he played it cool. It took him just a visit to David Letterman to finish off USS Romney with some strategically placed rhetorical Hellfires. 

Is there life on Mars?

The $1 billion USS Romney operation is based on a set of premises infested with Martian craters -- amplified from cyberspace to outer space by the right-wing echo chambers. It boils down to Obama can't win because he's too black, too "liberal," too "socialist," too detached, too intellectual and too unpopular. People don't want his "socialism". He will be defeated by the economy. And moreover his US foreign policy is wimpy. 

Imagine USS Romney setting US foreign policy. Mitt's neocon advisers' prescription is give hell to both Russia and China, and bomb Iran; that will restore America's superpower status. 

Arguably quite a few plutocrats and a significant portion of the industrial-military-security-media complex want war on Iran; USS Romney enthusiast Bibi Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, knows it better than most. And that's why Bibi is  actually more driven to unleash regime change in Washington than in Tehran. 

In the event of an Obama 2.0 though, war may be finally off the table. There's always the possibility of an Obama "Nixon moment"; a momentous trip, an overall deal with Tehran. What won't change is that Baghdad will continue to solidify its ties with Tehran. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) will continue to expertly juggle the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to extract benefits and at least be able to feed its people. The MB may even take over Jordan. 

Having learned the lesson of being in bed with Salafi-jihadis in Libya, Obama 2.0 may have to find a modus vivendi  with a surviving Bashar al-Assad regime. Syria won't be balkanized. Turkey won't invade. Ankara will have to be more inclusive vis-a-vis its own Kurds; it will have been alarmed by the recent autonomy of Syrian Kurds. Meanwhile, in Libya, Western energy majors will consolidate their plunder of oil and gas -- as long as militia hell does not interfere. 

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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