Hypocrisy is hallmark of GOP debates

Mitt Romney was accused again this weekend of becoming rich at the expense of thousands of workers at four companies taken over by his investment firm, Bain Capital.

Only this time it wasn’t labor unions, Democrats or laid off workers making the charges. It was his Republican opponents.

A representative of the Newt Gingrich Super PAC blamed the loss of manufacturing jobs on Romney’s style of doing business. “Mitt Romney is not a capitalist,” says the Gingrich outfit. “He is a predatory corporate mugger. If you ever wonder why so many manufacturing jobs are overseas, you need to look no further than Mitt Romney. He can claim thousands of jobs created, only those jobs were created in Mexico and Southeast Asia.”

The Gingrich Super Pac has posted a new documentary on the Internet titled “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” portraying the Republican frontrunner as a corporate “raider” worse even than Wall Street executives.

The documentary paints Romney as an elite insider who enriches himself by destroying unsuspecting American businesses and throwing workers out into the streets. Labor and its allies note, of course, that Gingrich himself supports the very policies that allowed Romney to outsource jobs and destroy American businesses. This weekend the former Speaker said, a number of times, that his “jobs plan” involves eliminating many more taxes on businesses, including capital gains taxes on companies that ship jobs overseas and that he favors elimination of all the finance reform regulations. It was the lack of many of those regulations that made it easier for Romney to destroy jobs in the first place, say labor activists.

Meanwhile, news surfaced this weekend that the ultra-right Rick Santorum had praised a public assistance program as recently as a year ago. The public assistance programs he praised, however, had benefited his own family.

The Pittsbugh Tribune-Review reported last year that Aldo Santorum, the former senator’s father, called the GI Bill the greatest gift he had ever received and that Rick Santorum said his father gave back by building a career and family around veterans hospitals.

“We always lived on the campus of the veterans hospitals,” said Rick Santorum. “I always joked that I spent my childhood living in public housing … and that is where he (Santorum’s father) met my mom.”

Yet Rick Santorum, son of a beneficiary of the GI Bill and a man who would not exist were it not for a New Deal-type program that employed his parents and housed his family, recently made a racist attack on African Americans and public assistance programs, saying that he doesn’t want to make the lives of black people better by “giving them somebody else’s money.”

Hypocrisy was not the only thing the Republican candidates exhibited in New Hampshire this weekend. They pressed on, especially in the area of immigration, with their long-standing policy of ignoring relevant facts.

At one time or another during the debates the leading candidates called for mass deportations, much tougher state laws and extension of the 675 mile fence along the U.S. – Mexico border.

“Border crossings are at a historic low, deportations are at a historic high, yet every Republican presidential candidate says the first thing we have to do is secure the border,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a Washington group that wants immigration enforcement to focus only on serious criminals.

Many immigration advocates and Latino elected officials have criticized Romney for vowing to veto the Dream Act, a bill that would provide legal residency to undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the military and who entered the country before the age of 16.

Even former Bush adviser Karl Rove and former House Republican leader Dick Armey have warned Republicans against “alienating Hispanics.” Santorum too ignored that advice in Iowa with his calls for mass deportations and opposition to any leniency whatsoever.

Photo: GOP candidates: heavy on the hypocrisy, few and far between on the facts. Charles Krupa/AP


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.