Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a dubious character - "Is he a liar or a criminal?" they asked this week in the headquarters of U.S. President Barack Obama. His father George was also a millionaire and a presidential candidate, but there's a difference between them, which was described by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a Nobel economics laureate: The father made his fortune by creating jobs, the son made his by getting rid of them.
And another difference: George Romney published his income and tax reports, whereas Mitt Romney is hiding his. Only under pressure did he reveal the figures for one year, which was the year of the Republican primaries. Investigative research indicates that he has many millions of dollars in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other tax havens.
Romney is probably the wealthiest presidential candidate in U.S. history, and also the least well known. His skeletons recall President Richard Nixon's closet. And this man is liable to be elected president. Sometimes I wonder: Whose politics are more distorted, theirs or ours.
Romney is the rubber man whose flexible contortions would make any circus performer proud. Since entering the race he has changed all his opinions as though they were dirty underwear. In the past, as governor, he was considered a liberal, and today he is a regular guest at the Tea Party. Even Obama's health care reform is registered in his name in Massachusetts, and now he repudiates it. Candidate Romney is a new man who doesn't know himself. In this country, too, candidates have appeared as if newly born, naked beyond recognition.
Not only does the 1% support him, so do quite a few of the 99%, downtrodden people with no health insurance. There is a similarity between the neoliberal elected officials in Israel and the Republicans cut off from America, and also between their voters, who kiss the hand that tightens into a bruising fist. The Likud draws its power from the weaker sectors, whom it will continue to make miserable. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, it is the first refuge of their victims.
The No. 1 Romney supporter is Sheldon Adelson, who seems to insist on reinforcing the anti-Semitic slander: The hands of wealthy Jews are into everything, they control America, and Adelson buys government power with money. He has already invested about $100 million, an unprecedented sum, in the Republican candidates - first Newt Gingrich and now Romney. And how much did he invest in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Anyone but Obama, that's the battle cry, which is heard from the ends of Macau to the ends of Jerusalem - one large worldwide casino.
The New York Times wrote in an editorial: "He [Adelson] is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation's needs. There is also criticism from inside the Republican party." Senator John McCain, the presidential candidate four years ago, was referring to Adelson when he warned against the influence of 'foreign money' on the elections.
Next week Romney will visit Israel. He will be received with presidential honor, due both to love of the candidate and hatred of his rival. He will scatter promises right and further right - how on the first day of his term he will attack Iran, move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, free Jonathan Pollard, adopt Justice Edmond Levy's report on the occupation that isn't, and send his children to study at Ariel University. He will shower praise on his best friend, who is known in Washington by his pet name "Bibi."
Nor will President Shimon Peres fail to play his part. After all, the visitor's financier, our friend Sheldon, is the one who paid for the conference of the hosting president four years ago, and together with his wife was among the guest speakers.
But one thing is clear, and there is no need to emphasize it at every opportunity: Israel does not intervene in the internal affairs of another superpower.
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