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Mark Twain said that history rhymes:

There are two rhymes with history that are before us today. The first is about hatred. Mitt Romney expressed his hatred for people who don’t pay income taxes in 2012, and Alexander Stephens expressed his hatred of black people in 1861,

 The second is about extortion. Mitt Romney’s company made extortionate demands of General Motors by means of its control of auto parts supplier,Delphi, and southern states made extortionate demands of the northern states in the run up to the Civil War.


Romney’s expression of hatred came to light after the Republican nominating convention and were in the form of a video posted on the Internet. Some unknown (at this time) person had positioned his cell phone camera so that he could surreptitiously record Romney’s words as he addressed a group of wealthy donors at a $50,000 per plate dinner party in a private residence in May of 2012. Romney spoke for quite a long time, but the most shocking part of his talk is this:

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 they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it...These are people who pay no income tax, 47% of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll [President Obama] be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.
Romney’s remarks, while informal, will nevertheless be remembered in much the same way that Alexander Stephens’ Cornerstone Speech is still remembered. Stephens delivered his speech in 1861, shortly after taking office as Vice President of the Confederate States of America, and he was very contemptuous of the slaves. Romney was equally contemptuous of modern Americans who don’t pay income taxes. Romney coldly said that people who do not pay income taxes do not take personal responsibility for their lives, they think of themselves as victims, and they think the government is obliged to take care of them by providing health care, food, housing, and “you name it.”

Romney’s hateful words echo the sentiments of Stephens, who said, “the negro is not equal to the white man,” and that black men, women, and children are naturally supposed to be subordinate the white race, the superior race. Yes, Romney was talking about whites, blacks, Latinos, the elderly, poor working families, and others who don’t pay income taxes, but the idea is the same. He believed that those people who don’t pay income taxes are inferior to his class, the superior class, the class that is entitled to rule—and when you watch the video you will see that his audience shared his belief. Tyranni believe that they have an almost divine right to rule, and they definitely feel superior to others. Romney’s disparaging remarks echo another part of Stephens’ despicable speech. The Vice President of the Confederate States of America said:

We hear much of the civilization and christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them [the black race] the lesson taught to Adam, that "in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread," [applause,] and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.
Romney said that the 47% of the population who don’t pay income taxes do not take personal responsibility for their lives and are dependent on the government for food, shelter, health care, and more—in other words, Romney, like Stephens, believes that the 47% who do not pay income taxes will have to be taught to take responsibility for their own lives, and they will have to be taught how to “work, and feed, and clothe themselves.” Stephens said that black people were inferior to whites and Romney said that Americans who do not pay income taxes are inferior to those who do.


Mitt Romney is accused of making extortionate demands against GM through his control of auto supplier, Delphi. He apparently greatly enriched himself.

Abraham Lincoln noticed that the leaders of the tyranno-South were making extortionate demands of their own. In 1860, Lincoln was seeking the Republican nomination for president. He gave a speech at The Cooper Union in New York City in which he directly addressed many of the tyranno-South’s arguments. Southern leaders had threatened disunion since 1787 when the Constitution was written. John C. Calhoun, in 1850, threatened destruction of the Union if his modifications to the Constitution were not approved. At the Cooper Union, in 1860, Lincoln addressed the many southern leaders who were threatening secession if a Republican president should be elected. He said:

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

…But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool [cold]. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me—my money—was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

Yes, Mark Twain was right, history rhymes.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:11:34 AM PDT

  •  Interestingly, Stephens bailed on the Confederate (0+ / 0-)

    government and publicly decried the actions of the Jefferson Davis administration, basically hanging out in Atlanta and complaining about all aspects of Davis' Govt:

    Conscription (!!)
    Suspension of Habeas Corpus
    Military Strategy

    He also met with Lincoln in Feb. 1865 at Hampton Roads in an attempt to end the war. (Without authority to end it, apparently.)

    So, as Southerners go, he wasn't as bad as, say, Jefferson Davis.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:45:54 AM PDT

  •  He was also pictured on the $20 Confederate bill (0+ / 0-)

    A lot you could buy with that!


    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:47:42 AM PDT

  •  well done (0+ / 0-)

    I cite Stephens 4 corners speech about the "negro" to refute the claim that the Civil War was only about States Rights.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:48:50 AM PDT

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