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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The importance of being Mitt

Not since Gary Hart told reporters to "follow me around" has a presidential candidate displayed such an amazing degree of arrogance, indifference and abject stupidity.

It may well be time to stick a fork in the candidacy of Mitt Romney after today's Boston Globe report that Romney continued to employ a lawn company that relied on undocumented workers. In fact, the day after Romney absorbed Rudy Giuliani's line about Romney's "sanctuary mansion" the Guatemalan lawn care crew pulled up to rake leaves on the lawns of both Mitt and Tagg Romney.

What is this guy smoking?

First things first -- I think the Republican focus on immigration is overblown. Yes, we should be concerned about our borders after the ease with which 19 Saudis made it in here and moved around freely while plotting to destroy the Twin Towers.

But those Saudis did not enter the United States on foot or in the back of a coyote's pickup looking to make a better life for themselves. The focus on Latin American immigration is a misplaced priority, perhaps made even more striking by the one terror plot that was foiled at the Canadian border.

No, the true importance of the fact that Myth Romney got caught, again, employing undocumented gardeners, is the cavalier response from the man who holds himself up as the model of the perfect American family:
"After this same issue arose last year, I gave the company a second chance with very specific conditions," Romney said in the statement. "They were instructed to make sure people working for the company were of legal status. We personally met with the company in order to inform them about the importance of this matter. The owner of the company guaranteed us, in very certain terms, that the company would be in total compliance with the law going forward.
The fault, therefore, rests with the company deceiving him. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan's "trust but verify" motto?

But, wait, there's a back story.

In a telephone interview last night, Tagg Romney confirmed that he met with Saenz on a warm March day on his front yard, with his brother, Craig, a fluent Spanish speaker, translating over a cellphone. The Romney brothers said they told Saenz they would no longer use his service because of the prior Globe story, but Saenz urged them to reconsider. He vowed there would be no undocumented workers on the property.

"He came over and he was very apologetic for what had happened and asked if he could continue with us," he said. "He asked for a second chance."

Asked if he was reluctant to rehire Saenz's company, Tagg Romney said he was not.

Compassionate conservative to the rescue.

And as for company owner Ricardo Saenz:

Saenz said Romney took no action against his company after the Globe reported last December that he had employed three illegal immigrants to work on Romney's lawn. Saenz repeatedly denied having illegal workers at Romney's property at the time.

Saenz said he contacted the Romney family in the early spring and offered them his services, and they accepted. In May, he began the landscaping work.

He said he usually spoke about the work with Romney's wife, Ann, or one of his children, and that no one asked for papers for his workers. "What papers, if I'm a company?" Saenz asked. "I don't understand why they have to verify anything. Their job is not to check up on my company."

He said he pays his workers $10 an hour and would hire them periodically for one or two days. He said he paid them by check using a computer system to ensure that he deducted taxes.

"I do everything legal," he said.

In a technical sense, the stories match, so there's no lying here. And there's something vaguely laudable in the notion of the Romney clan giving him a second chance.

Except in the context of Romney the candidate not believing in first chances, let alone second ones, for people trying to make a better life for themselves.

The unfortunate victims here are the workers caught up in the national politics.

But the incident shows, as with virtually every other issue Myth Romney touches, there's always multiple angles. Romney believes that he can say or do anything to close a sale -- in this case one with the American voters.

I somehow suspect tomorrow's speech about his faith will take on a new meaning. The question of religious faith revolves around a belief system after all.

And Myth Romney has proven, perhaps with clear cut finality -- that no one should believe a word that comes out of his mouth. And he believes in only one thing -- himself. Everything else, including the truth, is negotiable.

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Blogger massmarrier said...

Excellent analysis -- particularly the inclusion of arrogance. Romney certainly epitomizes the worst of that American aristocracy in the Wellesley-Dover-Belmont-Winchester arc of the privileged. They have service people on hourly wages do the work, while expecting praise for employing them. The disdain for those who must earn their living from day work or even (ugh) salaries is palpable.

That translates into the kind of campaigning attitude you cite. What, we petty wage slaves dare to question his judgment and actions?

Damned right1

December 05, 2007 9:17 AM  

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