I cannot imagine a scenario in which I pull a lever, punch a hole, or have my proxy in the New Black Panther Party cast a ballot for former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) in any election anywhere.
But I've got to say that the flap over Romney's line about "liking" to fire people who are not doing what they're paid to do is about the most idiotic thing I've witnessed in a while.
What Romney said – "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn't give me the good service I need, I'm going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me"—is not only common sense, it is the essence of a world in which monopolies do not dictate every thing we buy or consume. It's the difference between conventional public schools and public or private schools of choice (which have significantly higher levels of satisfaction among parents); it's the difference between the U.S. Postal Service and UPS and Fedex; it's the difference between the old phone and cable monopolies and a better world in which we have more and cheaper channels, coverage areas, you name it. (More on the incident here.)
Everyone knows this and yet various Dems and Reps have pounced on this statement as if it's the equivalent of Romney saying that he like to put kittens in a sack and beat them with baseball bats.
Romney's equally uninspiring rival, former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah)—whose primary selling point is that he would fill the White House with three uncontrollable, tone-deaf daughters—jumped on the statement with the sort of palaver that should automatically disqualify anyone from ever being taken seriously again: "I will always put my country first. It seems Gov. Romney believes in putting politics first. Gov. Romney enjoys firing people, I enjoy creating jobs."
Sadly, Romney himself is among the people piling on his statement:
"Sorry, you know the context of what I was saying, which is we all like to be able to chose our own insurance company and if they don't do the job for us being able to get rid of them and that's what I was referring to," he said. "I understand that in politics people are going to try and grasp at anything, take it out of context and make it something it's not, and by the way, that's the nature of the process."
Your presumptive GOP candidate, ladies and germs. A guy who can't just flatly stand up for a rare instance when he said something that approaches a universal truth. And then goes into a disquisition about how, despite being the son of a governor and big-time business exec, he really started out in the business world jes' like all of us, naked and afraid, but you know who really is a bum, why that Barack Obama guy…
No wonder more voters are calling themselves independent than ever before. And no wonder that everyone should buy the only book of the past year that explains why that is, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, by Matt Welch and me.