Romnesia is a memory malady typified by the 2012 United States presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. There are at least two types of this malady. The first type is the habitual politician's flip-flop, but, upon taking the "flop" position, blacking-out on having ever held the "flip". Among the many that have noted this malady in Romney is Rudy Giuliani, a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He said, "I've never seen a guy change his positions on so many things so fast, on a dime." After the second candidates' debate, Romney's opponent, President Barack Obama, sought to define this type of Romnesia:
[N]ow that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. “Severely Conservative” wants you to think he was “severely kidding” about everything he’s said over the last year. He told folks he was “the ideal candidate” for the Tea Party, now suddenly he’s saying, “what, who, me?” He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will too.
I mean he’s changing up so much – backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve gotta name this condition that he’s going through.. I think it’s called “Romnesia.” That’s what it’s called. I think that’s what he’s going through.
Now, I’m not a medical doctor but I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.
If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you’d sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work – you might have Romnesia.
If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let your employer deny you contraceptive care – you might have a case of Romnesia.
If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be “delighted” to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases – man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia.
Now, this extends to other issues. If you say earlier in the year I’m going to give a tax cut to the top 1 percent and then in a debate you say, I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks – you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia.
In later stump speeches, Obama warned against contagion:
[Governor Romney]’s hoping that you come down with what we call a case of ... Romnesia. He’s hoping you won’t remember that his economic plan is more likely to create jobs in China than here in Ohio, because it rewards companies that ship jobs overseas instead of companies that are creating jobs right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America.
He’s hoping you won’t remember that he wants to give millionaires and billionaires a $250,000 tax cut. And the reason he can’t explain it is because the only way to pay for it is either by blowing a hole in the deficit, making it even bigger, or making your taxes higher.
... He’s hoping that if he just keeps on saying how much he loves cars over and over again that you won’t remember he wrote an article that was titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
The second type of Romnesia is the illusion of the rich person born on third base that thinks one hit a triple, but blacking-out on one's given advantages to the point of losing sympathy and a sense of responsibility towards those without such advantages. The columnist, George Monbiot, defined this type of Romnesia in an article published in September:
Monbiot points out one symptom that the son of privilege Romney showed, blacking-out on a multi-million dollar federal bailout that saved his career:
We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money. To forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and introductions. To forget the workers whose labour enriched them. To forget the infrastructure and security, the educated workforce, the contracts, subsidies and bail-outs the government provided.
There is an obvious flip-side to this story. “Anyone can make it – I did without help” translates as “I refuse to pay taxes to help other people, as they can help themselves”.
Rolling Stone told how Bain and Company, after being bled dry by its founders, and tainted in a stock manipulation scheme, called Romney to the rescue. After Romney's first rescue try failed, he pulled strings and issued threats to get a $10 million bailout from the FDIC. That federal bailout saved the management consulting company, as well as Romney's future massive wealth and his political resumé. But of the federal bailout that saved the U.S. auto industry, Romney said, "[I]t was the wrong way to go."
... “Everything that Ann and I have,” Mitt Romney claims, “we earned the old-fashioned way”. Old-fashioned like Blackbeard perhaps. Two searing exposures in Rolling Stone magazine document the leveraged buyouts which destroyed viable companies, value and jobs, and the costly federal bail-out which saved Romney’s political skin.
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