It’s Friday – let’s go to Paris for breakfast.
I must have missed the memo. Apparently “serving your country” now means both military service (where you risk your life) and pedaling around Paris on a bicycle, trying to sell Moroni and the planet Kolob to to unsuspecting people in Paris who answer their doors.
Raw Story reports on an exchange between Whoopi Goldberg and Lady Ann Romney when she appeared on The View yesterday. “The wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday said that her husband and sons had not joined the U.S. military but had found “different ways of serving” by going on religious missions in France, England, Australia and Chile as part of their obligation to the Mormon church.”
Whoopie Goldberg: “When I read about your husband, what I had read — and maybe you can correct this — is that the reason he didn’t serve in Vietnam was because it was against the religion.”
Ann Romney: “That’s not correct. He was serving his mission, and my five sons have also served missions. None served in the military, but I do have one son that feels that he’s giving back to his country in a significant way where he is now a doctor and he is taking care of veterans. So, you know, we find different ways of serving. And my husband and my five boys did serve missions, did not serve in the military.”
Goldberg: “So, when you’re facing these mothers whose children have not come back, how will you explain to them that your sons haven’t gone? Will you talk about the missions they’ve gone on?”
Romney: “I would say it’s probably the hardest thing that a president and a first lady probably do is to comfort those that have lost a love one and have gone in harm’s way. It is an amazing country, we have the most extraordinary fighting men and women, and we have to be so grateful for them. Of course, it’s hard, and I don’t think that any of us can understand the sacrifice [sic] that are being made by families.”
Oh, you people and your amazing sacrifices… got that, patriots? There’s absolutely no need to volunteer for military service — especially for that new Iran war that Romney and his neocon advisers are so excited about — just to say you served your country. Just sell Kolob door to door. It’s the same thing, it’s just a different way of “serving.”
Romney received a draft exemption – a deferment from the Vietnam draft — based upon his status as a “minister of religion” – basically, an exemption for having been a Mormon missionary. He received numerous deferments after that for educational reasons. Romney portrays his mission in Paris as a time of humbling poverty, but The Daily Telegraph has a different story…
Mitt Romney, August 8 2007 in Iowa: “The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
The Daily Mail: “A newly-unearthed photograph showing Mitt Romney demonstrating in favour of the Vietnam War draft might leave the presidential candidate feeling somewhat embarrassed. The veteran Republican, then 19, can be seen picketing an anti-war sit-in at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in 1966.”
Roll Call: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) joined President Barack Obama in Virginia Beach today and issued a stinging attack on Mitt Romney’s failure to mention veterans during his presidential nomination acceptance speech, while also noting that Romney did not serve in the military.
“They will not say this, so I will say it for them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief,” Webb said, according to his prepared remarks. “And they are owed much more than that – a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.”
The former Marine and Navy secretary appeared to poke at Romney for receiving draft deferments during the Vietnam War.
“Gov. Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War,” Webb said, adding that he didn’t envy or resent choices people made about how to handle the draft as a long as they did so under the law.
“But those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their service would be honored and that our leaders would, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and for their widows and their children.”
The veterans of that war “are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: ‘All gave some, some gave all.’ This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence.”
Photos: 1) Jason Reed / Reuters 2) Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP 3) Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images / September 27, 2012
Romney’s immigration plan: If you go into military service, and presumably, come out alive, you can stay. You won’t get actual “citizenship” — you’d earn “permanent residency” — but, hey, you won’t have to leave.
Other thoughts on Mitt Romney and the wars and military service he champions:
“The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.” — Mitt Romney, August 8 2007 in Iowa
The Republican Party either needs to get itself some warmongers who aren’t chickenhawks, or it should stop relying on war profiteering to line the pockets of its benefactors. It’s an ugly business when certain men want to send other people’s children to war and call it patriotic. It’s uglier that ordinary people approve.
Mitt Romney’s lovely mother, Lenore LaFount Romney, talking about how his father George was on welfare relief as a child, after he came to America as a refugee from Mexico.
[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Mitt Romney isn’t just detached from half of America, he’s detached from his own heritage. George and Lenore might have been better served if they’d loaded that silver spoon they placed in li’l Willard’s mouth (as most parents who can, will do) with some grace, empathy, and appreciation.
For their troubles, they received a kid who felt entitled, who spent his childhood bullying others: a blind teacher, an unpopular gay classmate, or pranking friends and strangers while dressed like a police officer. A son who spent his young adulthood living in a mansion in France, avoiding the Vietnam draft, and then felt that selling some stock to live on while attending Harvard was the true measure of suffering. A man who went on to become the “King of Bain,” the real-life basis of Hollywood’s Gordon Gekko character, leveraging businesses for personal profit, wiping out American jobs that once paid living wages with benefits, shuttering factories and halting manufacturing across the land. A man who took the fortune he made in all that destruction, and put it in bank accounts all over the world — ensuring the United States government would never see a penny of tax. A man who then decided he had so much, he also deserved to be President. A man who refuses to reveal his tax returns to voters — completely contrary to what his own father practiced and believed.
OR Mitt Romney would consider his own father’s family to be among ‘those people’ who it’s his job not to worry about — those people 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… people who pay no income tax.”
Fox’s Bret Baier queries Romney on why he didn’t mention the troops or the war in his speech at the Republican National Convention.
BAIER: A few more things, Governor. To hear several speakers in Charlotte – and I don’t think this is jump (?) – they were essentially saying you don’t care about the U.S. military because you didn’t mention U.S. troops and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. (….) Do you regret opening up this line of attack, now a recurring attack, by leaving out that issue in the speech?
ROMNEY: I only regret you repeating it day in and day out. (LAUGHS)
BAIER: Well I mean, what just came from Charlotte -
ROMNEY: Because when you give a speech, you don’t give a laundry list. You talk about the things that uh you think are important.
I’ve cut him off right there, deliberately. Romney would go on to give the lamest of excuses, that he had indeed mentioned the military in his speech, that he’d visited an American Legion the day before, and that he absolutely opposed cuts in military spending, and so on. A better answer — and a better man– would have just owned up to this error, admitted it, and perhaps gotten some props for honesty. But that man wouldn’t be Willard Mitt Romney.
There are two potentially accidental revelations there: 1) that he regrets the media has picked up on this rather embarrassing (I would think) omission of his not mentioning the troops — INSTEAD of regretting he didn’t mention them! And 2) Romney thinks mentioning the troops would be like reading a laundry list instead of talking about important things.
Remember if you elect this guy, he’ll be more than happy to send the laundry list (i.e. YOUR sons and daughters) overseas to fight the GOP’s Forever Wars: Next Stop, Iran!
But honestly, if you support Romney, would you really expect anything less from a “fortunate son” who received years worth of deferments from the Vietnam draft to hide out in a mansion in France? You’ve picked yourselves a real winner there, Republicans.
It’s a pretty interesting omission by a Fortunate Son. It’s extra interesting when you consider that Romney-Ryan are ready to start a new war in Iran, shipping off another generation of other people’s loved ones to fight and die in the newest chapter of the GOP’s Glorious Forever War.
Huffington Post: With America embroiled in its longest armed conflict, Mitt Romney became the first Republican since 1952 to accept his party’s nomination without mentioning war. Three election cycles after the 2001 terrorist attacks, neither Romney nor his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had anything to say about terrorism or war while on their party’s biggest stage.
Steve Benen: Imagine if, in the midst of the longest U.S. war in American history, a Democratic presidential nominee delivered a 4,000-word speech at his convention, and neglected to mention the war altogether. Imagine if that candidate didn’t bother to say a single word about the conflict, the troops serving abroad, or when they might come home. Imagine if that same Democratic candidate ignored the war despite not having any military background of his own, and even managed to skip visiting the troops during a recent tour abroad. I think we know what would happen under such a scenario. McCain, Kristol, Krauthammer, Limbaugh, Cheney, et al, would reach an unavoidable conclusion: there’s simply no way this Democrat has a credible claim to be Commander in Chief during a time of war. And yet, Mitt Romney, who never wore a uniform, delivered his 4,000-word speech, which failed to even acknowledge the war in passing. The word “Afghanistan” was not uttered. There were no references to “veterans” or “troops,” either.
Mitt Romney, during his nomination acceptance speech, on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images) via: The Atlantic
Mitt Romney circa 1966, demonstrating in favor of the Vietnam War, even though he avoided the draft himself by hiding in France for 30 months (living in what some described as a palace) as a Mormon missionary.
Huffington Post: His mission lasted 30 months from July 1966 to February 1969, but Romney also was given almost three years of deferment before and after the mission because he was a student.
How tough is it for Mitt Romney to have to “deal with” Harry Reid’s accusations that a Bain Capital insider told him Mitt hasn’t paid federal taxes for 10 years?
It’s NOTHING compared to what Democrats have had to deal with.
BooMan nails it:
Mitt Romney isn’t really a Mormon. He’s an atheist who only went along with his father’s faith so he could duck the Vietnam draft. He didn’t actually try to convert anyone when he was in France either. In reality, he spent all his time in Monte Carlo gambling and buying high-end hookers. When his daddy found out what he was doing, he made him come home and marry his high school sweetheart. Actually, he only made him marry her after the second time she got pregnant. The first time, they got an abortion. Then Romney started using some of the mafia connections he had made in Marseilles to import heroin. By the time he became governor, they were flying it straight into a secret airport they set up in the Berkshires. When one of the pilots started to talk, Romney had him killed.
Wait for it….
Now, if we started telling these stories to people, and a substantial percentage of the population started to actually believe these stories, and if congressmen humored and even encouraged the people who believed these stories, and if media figures talked about these stories, and if Congress actually had hearings about some of these stories, then Mitt Romney would know what it’s like to be treated like a Democrat.
Also, too from Steve M:
Poor Mitt. Logic tells us that Reid couldn’t possibly have heard this from multiple sources, so he’s just blowing smoke. And yet, even if it’s a lie, Reid’s put Romney on the spot, because what he’s saying sounds plausible to a lot of people.
Y’know, it’s a bit like saying that the current president is a secret Muslim socialist who lied about his U.S. birth and has a fake Social Security number and is secretly plotting to take away all privately owned guns if he’s reelected, either before or after he finishes the job of deliberately destroying American capitalism. It’s also a bit like saying that the previous Democratic president was a drug dealing serial murderer and rapist whose lesbian wife had her male lover killed when she wasn’t hanging sex toys on the White House Christmas tree.
It’s almost like that. The difference is that Romney’s not facing an ever-expanding list of accusations, most of them truly grotesque and preposterous, many of them of a felonious or treasonous nature, spread by multiple prominent rumormongers over the course of years, and believed in every particular by roughly a third of the country…
Romney says Reid is lying. To make this ONE accusation disappear, all Mittens has to do is release his returns and *poof* problemo no mas. Right?
In December 2011, here’s how Romney described his living “conditions” in France — when he was a Mormon missionary (and when he obtained deferments from the Vietnam War draft):
“At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Sunday, he gave a rare account of his two and a half years from July 1966 as a missionary in France, which he described as “not exactly a Third World country”. He was forced to live off $110 a month. “So, I lived in a way that people of lower-middle income in France lived,” he said. Explaining that he often had no working lavatory, Mr Romney said: “We had instead the little pads on the ground There was a chain behind you with a bucket”.
“There were also no baths or showers, said Mr Romney. “If we were lucky, we actually bought a hose and we stuck it on the sink … and wash ourselves that way,” he said. “Most of the apartments I lived in had no refrigerators,” Mr Romney added. He remembered saying to himself: “Wow, I sure am lucky to have been born in the United States of America”.”
Wow, indeed. Especially when the house Romney stayed in is described SO DIFFERENTLY by everyone else who was there:
“…the Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy. Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.
“[...] “They were very big rooms,” said Christian Euvrard, the 72-year-old director of the Mormon-run Institute of Religion in Paris, who knew Mr Romney. “Very comfortable. The building had beautiful gilded interiors, a magnificent staircase in cast iron, and an immense hall.” [...] Mr Anderson said that as well as a refrigerator, the mansion had “a Spanish chef called Pardo and a house boy, who prepared lunch and supper five days a week”.
“It was “well equipped” with all modern conveniences, including a combination washer-dryer machine, Mr Anderson said. “I never saw anything like it in another private home at that time.” [...] The mission home in Paris was fully plumbed and central heated. “All of the missionary rooms had something like a bath or a shower attached to it,” said Mr Anderson. “The home had several”. This was in stark contrast to lodgings in working class areas given to other missionaries in Paris at the same time. “It was much better than the other places,” said one, Alan Eastman. “Most of us stayed in rented apartments quite a way from luxurious”.
“[...] Regarding spending money, Mr Romney “would have been on the same amount of money as the rest of us, about $125 per month,” said Mr Eastman – about $813 per month in today’s money.”
He suffered, y’all. Big time! They had only ONE houseboy.
The French don’t like Mitt Romney because he’s both uninteresting and he’s an American Republican:
“On paper, he is not uninteresting. He is a moderate, almost classic, Republican,” observed François de Rugy, a Green Party MP who served as vice president of the France-United States friendship organization in the previous legislature. But de Rugy added, “There is very little known about him because he has no international experience.” To make matters worse, the U.S. Republican label is not ideal in France. “Republicans suffer from two stereotypes in France: one advocating a lawless capitalism and the other advocating racist policies. [...]
“Mitt Romney suffers from two things,” said Durpaire, who is putting the finishing touches on his new book, “The United States for Dummies.” First, the French have a much greater enthusiasm for Democrats, a sentiment that predates Obama. “The Democrats are the darlings of the French” for reasons of philosophy and political culture, Durpaire said. Second, Obama himself has a very positive image. “He will always be the first black president of the United States,” noted Durpaire. “Furthermore, his health insurance reform provided the impression that he was closer to French policy positions.” Even right-wing French elected officials are in no hurry to defend their conservative counterpart. In 2008, few officials from Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement openly supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain, a pattern that is likely to be repeated in 2012.”
And Italians don’t like him because he pulled a Bain Capital on Italy like he pulled a Bain Capital on the United States:
“That’s because Bain Capital, under Romney as chief executive officer, made about $1 billion in a leveraged buyout 12 years ago that remains controversial in Italy to this day. Bain was part of a group that bought a telephone-directory company from the Italian government and then sold it about two years later, at the peak of the technology bubble, for about 25 times what it paid.
“[...] In Italy, the deals have spurred at least three books, separate legal and regulatory probes and newspaper columns alleging investors made a fortune at the expense of Italian taxpayers. Boston-based Bain wasn’t a subject of the inquiries, which didn’t result in any charges. The sale of the government’s directory business is “a dark chapter in the country’s privatization history, one that has hurt Italians deeply,” said Bernardo Bortolotti, an economics professor at Turin University who advised the Italian Treasury on asset sales from 2002 through 2005. “It was a mistake from the start, damaged by a lack of transparency and the use of offshore funds.””
No one likes Mitt Romney. This is like a badge of honor to people in the tea party, but they’re also crazy and racist.
TPM: Mitt Romney would “replace” President Obama’s new immigration policy in favor of one that staves off deportation only for those who sign up for military service, though the full details were unclear. [...] Obama’s plan applies to all children of illegal immigrants who are under 30, were brought to the country before age 16, have lived in the U.S. for five years and have earned a high school diploma or GED or serve in the U.S. military.
Earlier this month, Boston.com reported: Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused.
As reagan-was-a-horrible-president notes: It sure is a good thing that draft-dodging Mitt Romney didn’t have to adhere to his own rule.
And, oh, by the way:
“Obama avoided the Vietnam draft with a letter from his family doctor diagnosing him as medically eight.” — Stephen Colbert (via: christopherstreet)