Friday, January 25, 2013

A tale of two Romneys

You can read more about America's rioting cities of the 1960's at PBS's American Experience website for 'Eyes on the Prize - America's civil right's movement 1954-1985'.

For five days in July, Detroit, Michigan descends into chaos. An economic boom has created jobs, and urban renewal projects have built new infrastructure, but blacks have been left behind. New expressways destroy black neighborhoods, and economic opportunities are scarce for black residents. The 95% white police force, notorious for brutal and arbitrary treatment of black citizens, raids an illegal after hours club and draws an angry, frustrated crowd that quickly turns hostile.

As Sunday July 23rd dawns, the growing crowd is looting and burning the city. Twelve hours into the frenzy, Governor George Romney calls in the Michigan National Guard; unprepared troops make mistakes like shooting out the street lights. Nearly 4000 people will be arrested in the first two days, and over 7000 by the third. Most are young and black. Police and guardsmen shoot at will, with some later insisting that all of their victims were armed.

Romney asks President Lyndon Johnson for federal help and by Monday afternoon 4700 U.S. Army paratroopers have arrived, under orders not to use live ammunition. A combined 17,000 law enforcement troops suppress the riot. After five days of anarchy, more than 40 people are dead, hundreds are injured, and damage estimates hit $50 million.

Yup, this is Governor George Romney, father of Mitt, and a leading Republican contender to challenge Lyndon Johnson for the presidency the following year. Romney believed the White House had intentionally slowed its response to the riots and he accused Johnson with having "played politics" in his actions. George Romney went on to lose to Richard Nixon in the Republican primary after running a poor campaign.

"Watching George Romney run for the presidency was like watching a duck try to make love to a football." Governor Jim Rhodes of Ohio

Over four decades later and it's Mitt's turn. Over those four decades the exodus from America's cities to the suburbs has played an unknown role in the rise of Lyme disease. A new political tool that has arisen is 'micro-targeting' allowing you to target each voter with the issues that are important to them.

The Romney-Ryan campaign 2012 goes with Lyme Disease in Virginia. The front of their mailer contains the rather general Romney-Ryan. Doing more to fight the spread of Lyme disease. Improve synergy. Increase awareness. Support treatment.

But the back explains just what this means.

It almost sounds reasonable until you ask yourself why a doctor would need protection from lawsuits...

Soundtrack for this post: Motor City is Burning by the MC5

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