A Political Eddie Haskell

As I was driving to work yesterday,  NPR was broadcasting a snippet of a speech made the night before by Mitt Romney. That’s when it hit me. I’d been trying for weeks to pin down who it was that Romney reminds me of, and with the patent insincerity of that speech, it finally clicked.

Mitt Romney is the Eddie Haskell of politics.

Eddie Haskell, for those of you too young to remember, was the disgusting little sycophant on “Leave it to Beaver.” The character was so vivid, his very name became synonymous with dishonest sucking up.

In the speech fragment I heard, Romney was feigning outrage over the new regulations promulgated by HHS, requiring all employers who offer health insurance–including religious employers like hospitals and universities–to include coverage for contraception. As I previously blogged, there are legitimate concerns when government issues regulations that are intended to protect or benefit the general public when those rules run afoul of some folk’s religious beliefs. But there was no such nuance in Romney’s attack–not to mention any recognition of the fact that several states have imposed similar regulations for years. Nope, according to Mitt, Obama was purposely attacking religion, and he wouldn’t do that if he were President. No siree!

Let’s just deconstruct that attack.

Romney is a Mormon, and the federal government long ago outlawed polygamy. The effect of that prohibition was to deny Mormons the ability to live by what was at the time considered an essential tenet of their religion, yet Romney has never criticized that restriction–indeed, he has said he agrees with it. The HHS regulation, on the other hand, does not require anyone to use birth control in contravention of their religious beliefs; it merely requires them to make that option available to employees who come from different religious traditions and/or hold different beliefs. The regulation doesn’t apply to churches–just to large religiously-run organizations like hospitals and universities, where employees represent a wide diversity of backgrounds and faith traditions.

There are plenty of laws that have incidental effects on religious practices. For example,laws requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated pose problems for Christian Scientists. Quakers believe they should not be required to pay taxes that support wars (the courts have not been receptive to that argument). Laws requiring photo IDs for driver’s licenses are a genuine dilemma for fundamentalist Muslim women whose beliefs require them to wear full burkas. (Somehow, I doubt Mitt would get too worked up over that one, since the base he is so shamelessly pandering to tends to be virulently anti-Muslim.)

None of these “attacks on religion” have merited even a passing mention from Mitt Romney.

That’s the problem with channelling Eddie Haskell. The insincerity overwhelms the message.


  1. The other dilemma involved here is the whole structure of healthcare in the US being an arrangement between an employee and an employer who negotiate discounted premiums based on the size and health of the company’s personnel. Until insurance companies are forced to negotiate with individuals on the same basis as corporapersons, our health care remains vulnerable to the whims of a few very powerful entities. Were the religious hospitals, educational institutions, etc, only providing a set amount for all employees to seek their own coverage, the issue of infringement of religious conscience would be moot.

  2. Eddie Haskel is PERFECT !!
    I see the Repubs getting all the old “Divide & Conquer” stuff out of the closet:
    NJ Gov want “Gay Marriage” on the ballot.
    (Gee–I wonder why?) Oh…I guess that is because it energizes the Gay Haters in the base. Gets more “R”s out to vote.
    They want to re-litigate the notion that old men get to decide what health care young women should or should not have.
    Lots or race baiting stuff
    Lots of pitting the middle class against the lower middle class.
    All this divide, divide, divide.
    They have been doing this my entire life.
    Since Nixon and his “Southern Strategy”
    All Republican campaigns are HATE based.
    Lets hope it does not work this time.

  3. Come next November, Obama will joyfully accept his landslide re-election because the republicrats can’t put together a legitimate panel to elect the next dog catcher, let alone a president. People like Romney, Newt, et al are a pathetic testimony to the fact that Republicans are truly desperate to get the White House back. Hopefully (although a slim hope) the sheeple may wake up and realize the blatant stupidity and manipulation which represents today’s republican office holders and revolt against them. I really like Ron Paul and Ralph Nader but seriously doubt they are electable because they are not accountable to big corporate interests and tend to tell it like it is rather than pander to the fickle and selfish interests of corporate big brother.

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