After losing his election bid for California governor in 1962, Richard Nixon held a news conference in which he lashed out at the press. “[As] I leave you,” Nixon said to a roomful of the reporters who had covered his campaign, “I want you to know…. just think how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”
Mitt Romney — who refused to speak with the press for the final 24 days of the presidential election — gave his farewell address, fittingly, on a conference call with fatcat donors on his national finance committee.
In his own robotic way, Romney was just as petulant as Nixon. But instead of attacking the media, Romney took the opportunity to kick around Americans who voted for Pres. Obama — by accusing them of trading their votes for perks like “free contraceptives” and insurance coverage:
Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.
“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” he said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”
“With regards to African American voters, ‘Obamacare’ was a huge plus — and was highly motivational to African American voters. You can imagine for somebody making $25—, or $30—, or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free healthcare — particularly if you don’t have it, getting free healthcare worth, what, $10,000 a family, in perpetuity, I mean this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free healthcare was a big plus.”
Got that? No one really knows why Romney wanted to become president so badly. He never really said what motivated him. But it certainly appeared that the central rationale for his campaign was to preserve and protect the privileged world occupied by his fellow plutocrats, particularly by preventing them from having to pay their fair share in taxes.
Despite all that, now he is accusing the majority of Americans who voted against him of selling their vote for free stuff that isn’t actually free. Health insurance for young people under age 26 is paid for by their parents. Women pay for their contraceptives through their insurance, just as men do for their “free” Viagra. And — as this notorious liar surely knows — the individual mandate in both Romneycare and Obamacare is not “free,” the point of it is to lower costs, but it requires everyone to buy insurance from giant health insurance corporations.
In the call, Romney also confirmed what everyone, especially Republicans, know to be obvious — he won’t be running for office again:
“And so now we’re looking and saying, ‘O.K., what can we do going forward?’ But frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans from the future.”
He added half-jokingly that the close-knit group, which excelled in fund-raising but was ultimately unable to propel Mr. Romney into the Oval Office, could even help with “perhaps the selection of a future nominee — which, by the way, will not be me.”
Nixon — who had also served in the House of Representatives and the Senate and as vice president and had run for the presidency against John Kennedy in 1960 — did, of course, run for office again. He ran for the presidency and won in 1968, and then he ran for reelection and won in 1972. He was forced to resign in August 1974 in order to escape impeachment over corruption charges related to the Watergate scandal.
Let’s hope Romney doesn’t change his mind as Nixon did and run again. That would be one flip-flop too many.