Whether you’re registered to vote Democrat, Republican, Independent, or not at all, you’ve probably tuned into some of the recent coverage of the GOP debates.
The debates, which give us a glimpse into the brains (or lack thereof) behind the potential candidates for the next United States presidency, have become a new source of comedy for many progressives seeking to discredit the Republican nominees. This year, the GOP, or “Grand Old Party” candidates have stood up to their namesake — Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry have successfully displayed their affluence (evidence of their intelligence, however, remains to be seen).
“If you are not rich,” Herman Cain told Occupy Wall Street protesters at the October 5th debate, “don’t blame Wall Street. Blame yourself.”
As a corporate executive, Cain has represented a slough of profitable companies, from Coca-Cola to Burger King. Cain resigned from his most recent position, as CEO and Chairman of Godfather’s Pizza, in 1996. But from April of 2010 to April of this year, Cain made between $1.2 and $2.4 million. His net worth is between $2.8 and $6.3 million. (See the full financial disclosure here.)
Romney, like Cain, has said that the American people would benefit from a form of political leadership that ran its government more like a corporation than what it actually is — a social service agency.
Unlike Cain, however, Romney’s net worth is nowhere near a humble $2 million dollars. According to financial records he submitted to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Romney has amassed a fortune of somewhere between $90 million and $260 million. The former Massachusetts Governor, who has made famous the statement that “corporations are people,” has reaped his rewards not only as manager of a mainstream Boston venture capital firm, but as a major Wall Street investor. In 2007, Romney was criticized by GOP presidential campaign rivals for investing in corporations with interests in Iran and China, countries known for committing recent human rights violations.
At the last debate, which focused on the topic of national security, candidates attempted to address issues including the depiction of terrorists and the protection of the nation’s borders.
When moderator Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates whether the United States should continue to supply Pakistan with economic and military aid, for example, Michelle Bachmann said — in a play on words from the last GOP debate in which Rick Perry said some corporations are “too big to fail” — that Pakistan was “too nuclear to fail.” Perhaps this would not be the case if the U.S. was not the world’s second-largest supplier of military equipment to the country (after China) and its largest source of economic aid.
Cain added, simply, “We know this about terrorists: they want to kill us all.”
Rick Santorum, not to be outdone, pitched in a series of stand-out responses on the issue of racial profiling. Asked if he supported the use of racial profiling at airports as part of an effort to reduce terrorism, Santorum said:
“Obviously, Muslims would be someone you’d look at, absolutely. The radical Muslims are the people committing these crimes, by and large… Not exclusively but these are things you profile to find the most likely candidate.”
Texas congressman Ron Paul responded, “What if they look like Timothy McVeigh?” referring to the white U.S. Army veteran who detonated a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people and injuring over 800.