FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Hollow Man and the Pathological Liar

by CHARLES R. LARSON

There’s the apocryphal Indian story where the swami is asked what holds up the world.  When he answers, “A turtle,” the follow-up question becomes, “What’s holding up the turtle?”  And the swami’s answer: “It’s turtles all the way down.”

The Republican presidential ticket isn’t being held up by turtles.  It’s not held up by anything.  It’s nothing all the way down.  It’s nothing all the way down because one of the candidates is a hollow man, empty of any idea that might help the country move forward.  The other is a calculating liar, whose ideas can’t bear scrutiny by any rational means, despite Republican pundits identifying him as the philosophical center of their party.  So much for philosophy.  No wonder their party is losing in the polls.  You can’t keep fooling all of the people all of the time.  Hopefully, by the time people vote, it will be none of the people.

Mitt Romney has delusional thoughts of fixing the economy.  He constantly uses the term, “My plan,” yet his plan is invisible.  He hasn’t released the details because there aren’t any.  Ditto on every other major issue.  Last week when he wanted to demonstrate his smarts on foreign policy, he keep putting his foot in his mouth—as he has done repeatedly during the primaries and throughout his campaign for the presidency.  When was the last time someone said about one of his pronouncements, “That’s a great idea.  It might work.  It might fix the problem.”  No commentator ever says that because there’s nothing to praise, no idea to discuss, nothing to chew on.  Romney’s a total straw man—empty by any measure.

Paul Ryan was brought on board the Republican ticket because Romney is a blank screen (or—to use his boss’s term—an Etch-a-Sketch but changed so often that there’s no image).  Trickle-down economics; increase taxes on the middle class while they’ve still got a little blood in them.  Hasn’t Ryan looked any of the analyses of the consequences of tax cuts supported by the last two Republican presidents?  Was there ever a speech at a party’s convention as full of lies and distortions as Ryan’s?  Does he really believe that people will believe anything a candidate makes up?

Those days are over—kaput—ended on Monday when the airing of Romney’s comment about the 47% of Americans who voted for Obama revealed his true colors.  In a hastily announced mini-press conference, the candidate referred to his 47% remarks as “off-the-cuff,” indicating, still again, that Romney has no control of his syntax, no idea what words mean.  Psychologists say that “off-the-cuff” remarks reveal one’s true feelings.

Furthermore, as someone who voted for Obama four years ago, I resent being called a freeloader and a victim, someone who takes no responsibility for himself.  Though I’m retired, my Social Security (and my other retirement) funds are taxed at more than double Mitt Romney’s rate.  If there’s anyone who doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, it’s Mitt Romney, who is convinced that the 13% taxes he paid (for the only year  we can be certain about) are perfectly legal.  Legal, perhaps—but irresponsible.  Totally self-serving and indicative of Republicans who believe that only Democrats should foot the bill for America’s responsibilities.

So it’s shades of Chauncey Gardener (the famous hollow man created by Jerzy Kosinski in his 1970 novel Being There): nothing all the way down. Empty rhetoric, bereft of any genuine ideas about how to solve America’s enormous problems (fiscal responsibility, education, the environment, the infrastructure, immigration, and foreign policy.)

To put it more inelegantly: Bullshit all the way down.

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.  Email: clarson@american.edu.

 

 

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail