This week, much of Left Blogistan has taken unholy glee in Mitt the Flip’s short career as a barber. Here is an example.
PoliticalProf thinks that focusing on the details of what happened over four decades ago misses the point. He thinks that the intervening four decades carry a lesson of their own:
Which brings me to what I think is the important thing in the Mitt Romney story: I don’t sense the same evolution in him. He dumped a gay adviser not because the guy was a poor adviser, but because the guy’s homosexuality was a political issue. He has told college students not to expect help paying off loans and has noted that the extremely poor in America aren’t to be worried about because they have a social safety net. His stands on contraception and privacy have alienated him from women … and he seems utterly baffled as to why, claiming that his wife is his adviser on women’s issues and that she says all women are concerned by is jobs, not birth control. He jokes with NASCAR fans about knowing team owners, not fans and drivers.
In other words, I don’t sense that Mitt Romney has made much effort in his life to understand or even empathize with people who aren’t like him.
In a characteristically long and detailed post well-supported with citations, Chauncey Devega also sees and considers an empathy deficit. A nugget:
The policies of the Republican Party are demonstrative of a deep deficit in empathy. The poor are surplus people who are “unproductive,” a “drain” on American society, and who leech off of the rich and “normal” Americans. The social safety net should be destroyed as “entitlements” like Social Security and unemployment insurance, encourage laziness and sloth. Support for hungry children, public education, the unemployed, and the poor should be cut to ensure tax cuts for the rich.
Mitt Romney, prep school bully of the weak and vulnerable, corporate raider bully who takes pleasure in terminating employees, nominee of a political party of bullies and “real Americans,” and he who wants to be President of the United States, has made it abundantly clear that empathy is not a public virtue to be cultivated or encouraged.
Read both posts in full. Though conceived and published separately, they complement each other most eerily.