America owes thanks to a courageous act, probably involving civil disobedience, done, probably by someone on the catering staff, during a high roller fund raiser for Mitt Romney at the home of a Florida gazillionaire, Mark Leder, last May. Because of this brave act, all Americans at last have what only millionaires could afford before: an honest and candid view of the real Mitt Romney. Until now, Governor Romney was Multiple Choice Mitt, here, there and everywhere on this, that and every issue. He was the candidate who either wouldn't take a position or took them all at one time or another, at least in public, at least until now.
Thanks to the disclosure of the unauthorized video recording of Romney published yesterday by Mother Jones we now have about an hour of Romney with his filthy rich friends in a "quiet room". This is the closest most of us have ever come to catching glimpses of the real Romney.
It doesn't surprise me that most of the attention lavished on the newly released video focuses on Romney's candid observation that "47%" of voters don't care for him and that he returns the sentiment in spades. But Romney talked at length on many subjects. The 2 minutes and 8 seconds that told me the most about Mitt Romney the person was his reminiscence of a business trip he took long ago. Take a look and then come out into the tall grass to see a transcript and to talk about what a horrible person this anecdote makes Romney out to be.
H/t to anneonymous670 for the transcript.
95% of life is set up for you if you were born in this country. And, I remember going to ah, uh, sorry just to bore you with stories.Mitt Romney looked around the World for something to buy to make his investors more wealthy. What caught his eye was a chance to make money off of gadgets manufactured by young women living in a barbed wire compound, in cramped barracks with one bathroom for 120 women. The way Romney tells the story, it's obvious that he perceived and understood the terrible exploitation of these women with perfect accuracy. He just didn't really care. He had no impulse to protect, but rather considered how he might profit from the exploitation of these women. Why does Romney tell this well practiced old story? So he can pat himself on the back for being American.
When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.
And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pitance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
Three bunk beds on top of each other. You've seen, you've seen them? (Oh...yeah, yeah!) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in.
Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out. Or they will just come in here and start working and, and try and get compensated. So we, this is to keep people out. And they said, actually Chinese New Year as the girls go home, sometimes they decide they've saved enough money and they don't come back to the factory.
And he said, so, on the weekend after Chinese New Year there will be a line of people hundreds long, outside the factory, hoping that some girls haven't come back. And they can come to the factory. And, and so as we were experiencing this for the first time, going to see a factory like this in China some years ago.
The Bain Partner I was with turned to me and said, you know, 95% of life is settled if you are born in America. This is uh, this is an amazing land and what we have is unique and fortunately it is so special we are sharing it with the world.
This 2:08 of the larger video of Romney portrays with horrifying clarity the complete lack of empathy for the suffering of others in the character of Mitt Romney. It isn't exactly a revelation, as Romney has long been mocked as robotic, including, brilliantly in our own Hunter's Chronicles of Mitt. Still, it is strong confirmation that human compassion and empathy toward mankind are qualities that do not abide in Mitt Romney. He might treat his friends and family and business cronies (that's really just one group, isn't it) terrific, but the rest of us can go hang in Mitt's World.
There was a second thing in the 2:08. It was the total credulousness of Romney when he swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the yarn that his Chinese minders fed him about the barbed wire being to keep people out, not in. They were, after all, trying to sell him the place. But the way Romney tells it, he totally bought it. I'll bet Romney's Chinese minders who peddled that stuff to him still laugh about it when they have drinks. There are many character traits that I value in a U.S. President in the conduct of foreign affairs. Being a credulous dupe is not among them.
H/t also to other worthy coverage of the Romney in China story by Laura Clawson and Daily Kos Labor.