Digby speculates that for Mitt Romney, “Charitable giving to a church that primarily operates highly successful commercial businesses is just another tax dodge.” I think this is true. Romney doesn’t strike me as a particularly spiritual person. He seems incredibly materialistic, and I just don’t believe that one can accumulate great wealth if he is truly interested in the soul.
Mitt Romney does have a religion that he’s passionate about. He is also a Mormon. The religion of his passion is Greed.
I thought about this earlier while reading a new article by Robert Reich, What Mitt Romney Really Represents. He notes that we’ve had rich Presidents before, but that they were explicitly working against their own class interests. Romney’s only clear policy proposal is to lower taxes on himself and others like him. That makes him different from the Roosevelts and the Kennedys.
Evil doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Romney couldn’t have become the Republican presidential nominee in 1968, for example. Philosophical groundwork had to be laid, not just for the Republican base, but for Mitt Romney himself. And it has been a long time coming.
I always think this whole thing started with Gordon Gekko, but that’s not true. Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser were just picking up on a trend that was already well underway. In fact, Ivan Boesky once gave a famous speech with the line, “Greed is right.” Although everyone remembers the line “Greed is good,” Gekko follows that immediately with “Greed is right”:
What I’ve always found fascinating about this scene and Wall Street generally, is how opinion on the film is bifurcated. Many people think that Gekko is a cool character. He has shaped a couple generations of young, mostly poor but aggressive, men. The men of Romney’s social class never needed Gekko because they that their Ivan Boeskys to look up to.
Many pundits have bemoaned the fact that Romney hasn’t had an opportunity to talk about his Mormonism. I think this goes back to the Gore 2000 campaign where he also was considered stiff. Many people claimed this was because his handlers wouldn’t let him talk about his environmentalism. This may be true, although I think the whole observation is questionable because I didn’t find Gore stiff. The idea is that if Romney were allowed to talk about his Mormonism, he would show what a passionate man he is. What rubbish!
Romney has been allowed to talk about his passion excessively—the whole election cycle! He has only been constrained by the fact that most people find his one true religion—Greed—repugnant. And this, I think, is why he seems so much less “stiff” when talking in private to his donors.
 Yes, I know that “good” does not rhyme with “food.” Tell that to the idiot who wrote “God is great”!