I caught the end of Piers Morgan’s interview with Ted Turner on CNN last night, and I was amazed to hear the broadcast icon praising Mitt Romney. Ted Turner is among my heroes. Anyone who could marry Jane Fonda – and stay married for that long – has to be a hero. I think Jane is awesome, of course, but marriage to her could not have been an easy proposition. She might be the most strong-willed woman in the world.
Pioneering 24-hour TV news was no less heroic. It was among the most important innovations in my lifetime, and it proved how powerful one man’s good idea can be. CNN turned out to be a huge success despite the carping of a multitude of critics who predicted its early demise. And while Turner was in control,CNN made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the world and what makes it go round.
So when Ted Turner speaks, I listen. And I hesitate to challenge his opinions. But I have to take issue with his description of Mitt Romney as “a gentleman.”
Wearing an expensive suit does not make you a gentleman in my book. Nor does neatly combed hair and clean fingernails. Even a well modulated voice and a couple of Harvard degrees don’t meet the requirements.
Of course, the Romneys know how to behave in polite society. God knows they’ve had enough practice. And I wouldn’t cavil if someone called Ann Romney a lady. For all I know, she could deserve that designation.
But I know enough about her husband to assert that he is no gentleman.
He is a bully – a well dressed, well spoken, well heeled bully.
You might recall that story about him and his gang of preppies forcibly shearing some unfortunate fellow-student’s locks. And you might have seen those television commercials destroying opponents in the Republican presidential primaries. Yes, I know the worst ones were produced by “independent” PACs, but surely you don’t think he was unaware of them, do you?
Romney and his supporters unhesitatingly deployed their limitless millions in a merciless campaign of character assassination to eliminate his opponents.
And that’s not the worst thing about Mitt Romney. The worst thing is that he holds people like you and me in such withering contempt.
His condescending smile and dismissive laugh reveal this total disregard. And the deliberate, preposterous lies that he feeds us show what he thinks of our intelligence.
He doesn’t seem to care that the lies often contradict each other, that the positions he claims to support are mutually irreconcilable. It’s as if he feels confident that we are such ninnies that he can tell us anything without fear of us catching on.
I’ve known people like this… boys at my boarding school who conned and scammed their way through class, and haughtily ridiculed bookworms like me. I knew I had to study if I wanted to get ahead in life; they knew they had a plush job in their dad’s company waiting for them regardless.
And I’ve seen how condescendingly some men deal with women, how they humor their wives and girlfriends, and as the old perfume ad put it, “promise them anything but give them Arpege.”
I don’t call these guys gentlemen.
I call them cads.
And from what I know of Mitt Romney, he is just another rich cad.