“CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE, my friend.”
Of all the bizarre off-the-cuff utterances that have emanated from the maw of the Republican candidate for president—and there have been plenty—none elicited a higher level of WTF than that doozy.
At the time, it seemed that Mitt Romney was either a) endorsing the odious Citizens United ruling (which alone should disqualify him for higher office), b) correcting the gentleman who was heckling him, or c) both. After watching the Rombot in action for the last few months, however, I’ve come up with a different take on his comment: he’s informing us that corporations are people, because he himself is a corporation.
Think about it. If corporations were literally people, and you were to imagine what one might look like, is there a single human being who’d come to mind more readily than Willard Mitt Romney?
You know how in the Madagascar movies, the monkeys all pile together in an overcoat to pass as a human? Same deal with Mitt! He’s a pile of preferred stock in Mom jeans and Mormon underwear. Ann is not his wife; she’s the CEO of Mitt Romney, Inc. His sons are not offspring but subsidiaries. His wealthy backers are shareholders. That offshore account in the Caymans is not a tax dodge but a bumbling relative—Mitt Inc.’s version of Roger Clinton. And every purchase he makes, from the dressage horse to the car elevator, is done solely for business reasons.
Looked at this way, it all comes into focus. Romney’s curious inability to relate to the common man—or even the uncommon man—becomes perfectly understandable. The $10,000 wager with Rick Perry during the debate, the namedropping of the NASCAR owner as proof of autoracing fandom, the use of the word sport, without the s—all of these gaffes are the result of Mitt being the world’s first corporation-as-person.
His ability to sleep at night while amassing his fortune by what Newt Gingrich called “vulture capitalism,” his makes-John-Kerry-look-like-Ricky-Gervais sense of humor, his bloated net worth ($250 million is pocket change for a Fortune 500 outfit), even his failure to see the fundamental bookkeeping error in his tax plan (cut taxes + lower the debt = not mathematically possible)—proof positive that what we’re dealing with is not a man, and not a robot, but an S-corp.
Too, his incurable tendency to vacillate on policy points now makes sense. Smart companies adapt to changing business environments, as anyone who has yawned through a seminar which draws heavily on Who Moved My Cheese well knows. So when Romney condemns Obamacare despite the fact that it was his idea and greatest achievement as governor of Massachusetts, he’s not flip-flopping; he’s tweaking his business strategies to make them compatible with Best Practices. This is mendacious behavior for a human being, but for a corporation, it’s business as usual, just another day at the office. Do we accuse McDonald’s of waffling when they make the menu healthier? Of course not; we applaud them for adapting to changing values.
The birthers have spent the last four years demanding to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate in a quixotic attempt to reset the clock to 2008 on a technicality, like when Olympic sprinters found guilty of juicing have their gold medals taken away. But Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump are barking up the wrong Obamaple. They should turn their attention to their own “man.” There’s no such document in his safe, it says here, just articles of incorporation.