Our country died a little on Tuesday night. Our Rubicon has been crossed. Once this happens to a nation, you can never go back. You can attempt to pick up the pieces for awhile, but the precedent has been made. Perhaps we are not dealing with the Rubicon yet, maybe we are at Marius and Sulla. But, we are there. We have now entered the period of the beginning of the end of our republic. It may take years for the nation to morph into what ever it is to be, but we have lost our innocence, our humanity, and our decency. We have lost what makes this country great and what makes it unique.
For most of my life, I’ve heard people discuss how the communists were going to destroy this nation, how they would bring down our republic from within. We have been warned about the culture wars, how our hedonistic society would bring about our end. When I was a kid, in school and in Sunday school we were cautioned to learn as much of the Bible as possible, so that we could remember it when the communists took over our country and took away our Bibles.
Communism has come and gone. Socialism is on the ropes in many parts of the civilized world. We’re dealing with Islamic extremism, but as a historian, I think it is the Age of Extremism in which we are living. We have survived this ism and that ism, and are still going strong.
As a historian, The Pink Flamingo is well aware that there are moments when nations reach the beginning of the end. This past week, I fear, has brought about the beginning of the end of the United States of America as we all know and love it.
No, it wasn’t because low voter turn-out in Florida allowed Mitt Romney to clean Newt Gingrich’s clock. It was not because Mitt Romney is a historically nasty campaigner. We’ve had nasty campaigns in the past, and will continue to do so. It is not about one candidate detesting the other. It’s politics, all’s fair, right?
The infamous Daisy Ad was one thing. Reagan and Ford detested one another, but had a healthy respect for the country. They new where to draw the line. Mitt Romney does not.
Maybe his lack of restraint in spending to destroy his opponent in both Iowa and Florida should be something that is indicative of a man who doesn’t care what he spends. That, in itself, should be quite alarming for budget hawks. If he is willing to drop millions to destroy a single individual, what would he do if he were in the Oval Office?
The real problem here was caused by the Citizen’s United ruling. Perhaps it is wrong to blame Mitt Romney for his lack of restraint. What he is doing is perfectly legal. The Pink Flamingo simply does not approve of it. When a man is willing to spent nearly $17 million in one week, 99% of it negative, to destroy one single individual, I fear the Rubicon has been crossed.
It is not all Romney’s fault. He has benefited by voter apathy. His wins occur when normal Republican voters stay home and more liberal voters show up at the polls. They say 74% of those who voted for him, did so because of the negative ads he was running. I guess you can fool some of the people, some of the time.
That is not the problem. The problem is the fact that he has no restraint. He is more willing to cross that invisible line – perhaps the Rubicon, in order to win.
In many ways there is nothing wrong with a healthy desire to win at any cost. BUT – that’s the problem – winning at any cost. Winning at any cost only goes so far, just ask Pete Rose about it.
Next to Ted Williams and Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose is the greatest hitter the game has ever known. BUT – his winning at any cost led to his gambling. He will never be in the Hall of Fame. He destroyed himself. This is what I see happening with Mitt Romney.
Maybe he is not destroying the very political fabric of system, and only destroying himself. I truly hope that is the case. But, I fear it is not. When one person pushes the envelope, it is only a matter of time before another does. When this happens, we are doomed to a political system where only the ultra rich can compete. The rest of us, the poor smucks who are hanging in there, but not much more, don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.
He was willing to spend an obscene amount to smear a single individual. It doesn’t matter if you like Newt Gingrich or not. It really isn’t about Newt Gingrich. This is about you and it is about me. What if this were happening to us, say when running for city council? All of a sudden, the American political system has been taken away from We the People and given to They the Plutocracy.
Granted, the American political scene has always been the playground of the wealthy. If it were not for the personal wealth of many of our Founding Fathers, we would still be standing when God Save the Queen is played. This is different, though. This is about a man who has no personal restraint with how his opponent is destroyed.
According to political legend, Joe Kennedy told his son, JFK to buy only enough votes to get you elected. Mitt Romney went way beyond that. And, do not every think he didn’t buy votes. That is what he was doing with that $17 million in negative advertising. He was buying votes.
Maybe the problem is the Supreme Court when they allowed campaign fundraising to go all Dodge City on a Saturday night wild. They knew what was going to happen. When asked about it the other day, Antonin Scalia told the person who wanted to know how to stop it, to turn off the television. Having a SCOTUS who is so cavalier about the process tells us that Mitt Romney did, indeed, cross the Rubicon.
There is something disturbing about a person who is willing to ruthlessly destroy anyone who gets in his way. Reputations are being ruined. He goes for the throat of anyone supporting Newt Gingrich. I suspect it is to be a warning for all of us, let him win.
When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49BC, there were many factions in Rome who applauded his decision. It was all about Caesar being elected consul. In order to do so, when he returned to Rome, with his legions, he had himself appointed dictator. Eleven days later he was elected to his second term as consul. As soon as he was re-elected, he went after Pompey, and destroyed the Roman Republic.
We are at that Rubicon moment in this nation’s history. A talented and utterly ruthless, rankly ambitious man wants to be POTUS. He will stop at nothing in order to win. If you are familiar with Roman history, you know what happened next.
This is what I fear will happen to the United States if Romney is nominated and elected POTUS. His ambition knows no bounds, none. He knows no restraint, and is a vicious campaigner. Playing to win is one thing. Utterly destroying everyone who gets in your way is not.
If he is allowed to succeed, we shall be utterly destroyed, I fear.