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Scrooge “White Man” Romney and Santa “Gag Gift” Obama: An Election Carol

Failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has his electoral loss figured out. 

His grand analysis stems from the political sage Rush Limbaugh who said in the election aftermath, “It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus….Every Obama voter may not be religious, but they believe in Santa Claus.”  Romney has embraced this worldview, believing that Santa Obama made Christmas come early and with his big bag full of goodies for Blacks, Hispanics, women and young people, he was able to win their votes.  In yet another leaked commentary to his campaign donors, Romney was caught on tape saying,

“The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people. In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups…The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift…With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. With regards to African American voters, 'Obamacare' was a huge plus — and was highly motivational to African American voters…But with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for the children of illegals — the so-called DREAM Act kids — was a huge plus for that voting group.”

Romney’s comments can best be summed up as Ebenezer Scrooge meets the white citizen’s councils: “Bah humbug and white male power.”  Romney is right, then, if what he meant in his comments to his big donors was that he lost the votes of Black people, Hispanics, the youth, and women because these constituencies felt that, by comparison, he had nothing to offer—a proposition made clear to all by his previously leaked statement, "there are 47 percent who are… dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it”, his out of touch “binders full of women” debate comment, and his call to make life so difficult for immigrants that it will result in “self-deportation.”

Apparently visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Romney said on this recently leaked donor call, “frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans for the future.”

Top Republicans such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are auditioning for the Ghost of Christmas Future role and, like Dickens’ original spectral visitor, rises from the mist with  prophesies: In this case, how the Republican Party will be weeping over its grave if they can’t stop getting caught spouting racist and sexist comments.  Gov. Jindal called Romney’s statements "absolutely wrong," adding, “I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party. That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election.”

But if Obama gave any gifts to Blacks, Hispanics, women, and young people, they were gag gifts. 


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Healthcare came wrapped in box that said “universal”  but, when we tore off the glitzy wrapping, we found out Santa’s Obamacare game arrived broken—with rules that let the insurance companies take windfall profits and win with every role of the dice, because it forces everyone to buy private insurance, will levy fines upon people who refuse to buy, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), leaves of millions without health insurance.

Obama’s immigration policy was wrapped in a nice bow of support for the Dream Act, but when we opened it we found another lump of coal: Obama deported and split apart more immigrant families than George Bush.

Obama’s student loan cadeau to young voters came in a gift bag marked “forgiveness” and yet, according to the Federal Student Aid office, borrowers who enroll in Obama’s reformed "Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan,” despite whatever benefits they receive, may end up paying more interest on their student loans than if they repaid them in the previous 10-year period program. IBR stretches repayment out over a longer period, during which time interest continues to accrue.  As well, The Obama administration admits that only 6 million people would be affected by the loan consolidation portion of his program with another 1.6 million qualifying under the changes to the IBR plan—meaning the plan will impact only about one-fifth of the 36 million people in the United States with student loan debt. Ho! Ho! Ho! 

Obama’s post-election present, his promised “Grand Bargain,” the reward for the good voters who sealed his reelection, may turn out to be the exploding cigar of gag gifts—making cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the name of compromise to cut the federal deficit.

I wish Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh’s belief in Santa Obama was true—but like all of the fairy tails they have spun about the election, it just isn’t so.  The fact is, Obama has more closely followed the tag line of film Bad Santa: “He doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice”—witness the magnates who crashed the global economy, but nonetheless have been rewarded with soaring profits since President Obama took office. 

This year instead of asking for very little and receiving even less, Blacks, Hispanics, women, youth, and all working people should demand the things that we have already paid for with our taxes, but—because of endless wars, bank bailouts, and corporate welfare—have yet to receive:

  • Expand Medicare to include everyone in the country
  • Strengthened Social Security system
  • Free Abortion and contraception on demand
  • Schools not jails with free education, from early childhood through college for all people regardless of immigration status

The President can’t pretend he doesn’t know what we want: nothing short of this basic list of things that much of the industrialized world already has—which will, of course, send the likes of Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh into Grinch-like tirades. 

Jesse Hagopian

Jesse Hagopian

Jesse Hagopian teaches history and is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield High School, the site of the historic boycott of the MAP standardized test.  Jesse is the editor and contributing author to, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing (Haymarket Books, 2014). Jesse is an editor for Rethinking Schools magazine, a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), and recipient of the 2013 “Secondary School Teacher of Year” award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. Follow Jesse on his blog at or on Twitter: @jessedhagopian

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