Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Romney Speaks Truth To Republican Power

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."
If not for the almost continuous (and obviously understandable) press coverage following the senseless mass shooting in Orlando early Sunday morning, my guess is that Mitt Romney's comments about Donald Trump, delivered during a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer last Friday, would've gotten a lot more media traction than they did.

Comments which are like manna from Heaven for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Now admittedly I've leveled a fair share of criticism at Romney for his lackluster 2012 presidential campaign, which was virtually tone-deaf to the everyday struggles of the ranks of poor, working-class and middle-class Americans who were decimated by the Great Recession and the housing collapse.

But watching him double-down on his steadfast refusal to follow the lead of other spineless Republican leaders and call Trump out for who and what he represents, I must admit, Mitt almost seemed presidential in staking out a position that suggests a moderate voice still exists in the GOP.

Now granted, thanks in part to his stashing millions of dollars of his personal fortune in tax-free off shore tax havens, Mittens is as rich as Midas, and he's not running for public office; so he can afford to say whatever he wants.

Speaker Paul Ryan & Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
But my sense is that what he said about Trump on Friday had merit and substance from a conservative standpoint and were aimed right smack at the Republican leadership who've taken a wobbly "hold your nose and back Trump" attitude that speaks volumes about the character and principles of the GOP as a political party.

As Romney observed:

"Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America."

Romney's comments were well-timed, not just because they came on the heel of Trump defending himself for his cringe-worthy "My African-American" comment last week, uttered as he theatrically pointed to Gregory Cheadle, a black Republican who is running for the Congressional seat in California's 1st district who later said that he was in fact, not a Trump supporter.

Romney's comments were strategically delivered on Friday so they could intentionally circulate through the weekend news cycle. The fact that he used a take on Ronald Reagan's infamous "Trickle-down" economic theory (which didn't work and caused the federal deficit to skyrocket) says a lot about the advisers and media consultants Romney is surrounding himself with these days.

Boxing promoter Don King
Trumps's juvenile reaction delivered via his toxic Twitter account was a mix of his typical high-school-ish bluster, and yet another flat out lie.

First he chided Romney for choking "like a dog" in his failed 2012 presidential race against Obama, then claimed he wasn't a racist and offered as "proof" the endorsement of boxing promoter Don King.

The only problem is Don King had not endorsed Trump.

When a reporter asked King about the endorsement at the funeral for Muhammad Ali, King flatly said "no".

But to borrow an adjective from the highly-quotable and ring-obsessed Gollum, Don King is "tricksy".

Now if you heard any of Rabbi Michael Lerner's incredible progressive speech at Muhammad Ali's funeral, you'd know that was not the place to endorse Trump.

But King is a slippery character and supposedly later did endorse Trump; one can only wonder what kind of favor or financial transaction passed hands to make that happen, but you can bet it benefitted King.

Don't let the hair fool you, King is a highly intelligent and calculating business man.

I had a friend named Rob who graduated form Drexel University in Philadelphia in the 90's. Rob's older brother was a Penn grad who worked for a pretty prestigious Philly law firm.

Philadelphia levies some pretty heavy taxes on paychecks earned while working in the city, as a former NFL player, I can tell you that it was necessary to consult with a tax guy if you played an away game in Philadelphia. Really.

So Rob's brother's firm was representing a venue or organization against Don King over taxes and revenues related to a boxing match that had taken place in Philly; this was back in 80's I believe.

Rob told me his brother and like four other top-flight Philly lawyers show up in this conference room to meet with King, and King is sitting there by himself at the table. He said King proceeded to school these guys, Rob said King had every single figure from the contracts committed to memory, didn't refer to a note or a piece of paper and talked circles around all these lawyers - as he often does, came out on top of the negotiations.

Manager Cus D'Amato & Mike Tyson
Years ago I read "Fire and Fear" Jose Torres' amazing biography of boxer Mike Tyson.

After Tyson's beloved manager Cus D'Amato passed away, promoters and managers were tripping over each other to sign Tyson.

So Tyson flew out to Las Vegas to meet with one of the big promoters who wanted to represent him, and sent a stretch limo to pick him up at the airport and bring him to the meeting.

Torres says Don King found out about it, called the limo company and persuaded them to cancel the limo pickup and King himself drove to the airport and waited in his own limo for Tyson.

King sees Tyson waiting to be picked up and pulls up, rolls down the window of his limo and offers him a ride; during the trip King supposedly bad-mouthed the other promoter, telling Tyson his inability to arrange for Tyson to be picked up was a poor reflection of the other promoter's professionalism.

King would eventually promote Tyson and manipulate him out of millions from fight proceeds - Tyson eventually declared bankruptcy.

So while I'm not sure an endorsement from Don King is representative of how black Americans feel about Trump, King and Trump definitely deserve one another - from one Don to another I guess.

No comments: