An open letter to women voters:
Ladies, I write to you because this is our election. Both President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney desperately need us to win, which means it is up to us to determine the path of this nation. To me, it comes down to whether we want a country where Americans have each other's backs, or one where we are on our own with a tattered safety net. But there is another central question in this campaign: trust.
Just as with every other relationship in our lives — husbands, partners, friends, co-workers — trust is essential. Trusting those around us gives us confidence that we have a firm grasp on the world we inhabit. So too, if we can't trust our leaders we won't know what kind of world they'll build. It is this test that Romney has failed.
Like an overeager suitor, Romney morphs into whatever is desired at the moment. No doubt you've known a guy who claims to be into you when he wants something. Romney is that guy. He's proved it over his entire political career — as a liberal when challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts, as "severely conservative" in the Republican primaries, and now as the Etch A Sketch moderate whose warmongering over Iran and Syria was so inverted during Monday's debate that I thought Mitt might break into John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance.
Romney's the guy who tells us to pay no attention to that little misunderstanding in the hidden video when he wrote off 47 percent of Americans as moochers. He cares about us all! Meanwhile he's sending coded love notes to his fellow 0.1 percenters with promises to slash environmental regulations, workers' rights, safety net programs and, the sweetest whispers of all, to provide more tax cuts on top of the Bush tax cuts, subversively supplanting any real concern over deficits and debt.
But you have to hand it to Romney, this Dale Carnegie of candidates: He really knows how to lean in and pretend to care.
He says he's the guy in the race who cares the most about American workers and increasing take-home pay. But it's not what one says that reveals true character and intent, it's what one does.
Consider Romney's work at Bain Capital. Workers whose companies were taken over by Bain found benefits and jobs cut so Bain could, in Romney's words, "harvest … significant profit." And at the end of his governorship, Massachusetts ranked an abysmal 47 out of 50 states in job growth.
Romney's claim to care more than Obama about small business is just as empty. When Bain dumped takeover companies into bankruptcy court (after extracting millions from them) it left behind hundreds of small businesses with nearly worthless IOUs, representing the goods and services that those small businesses provided in good faith. Feelin' the love?
Ladies, Romney says he will be the better candidate for women by making the economic case, promising a nirvana-like world where 20 percent tax cuts and higher defense spending magically erase the deficit and add millions of jobs. But as he fills our heads with fantasy numbers he deflects from his real women's agenda, one in which Planned Parenthood is defunded, employers get to decide on access to contraception in health plans and Robert Bork, the man whose notoriously retrograde legal mind rejects the right to privacy, advises on judicial appointments.
Goodbye Roe vs. Wade, church-state separation and the little guy's chances against corporate power. Hey, corporations are people, remember?
America's plutocrats have spent a fortune to get Romney elected, with some threatening their employees with layoffs if they don't vote for him. The top 0.1 percent know Romney is one of them. They trust a guy who stashes wealth overseas. But they are the only ones who should trust him. No matter what shape he has shifted into to appeal to workers, the middle class, and to women, especially women, the plutocrats know it's just a first-date act. After the romance is over, Romney will be all theirs.