A phrase popularized by President Harry S. Truman, “The buck stops here,” refers to the fact a president makes decisions and accepts ultimate responsibility for those decisions, and it is the converse of “passing the buck” that is attributing to another person or group responsibility for one’s own actions. When an individual applies different sets of principles for similar situations, or to different people in the same situation, it is a double standard, and as of late, Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney has been guilty of applying a double standard and passing the buck.
The day after the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, Romney assailed President Obama for his administration’s first response that he claimed was “to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Regardless that the Cairo embassy issued a statement condemning “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions” that was not cleared by the administration, Romney held firm that “the president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also from the words that come from his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his State Department, and the statement that came from the administration — and the embassy is the administration, was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a severe miscalculation.” The embassy statement notwithstanding, Romney would do well to heed his own counsel and concede that his representatives, supporters, Bain Capital, and blind trust managers words and deeds are his responsibility according to his assertion the buck stops with an administration’s head.
Romney has passed the buck on myriad statements from his acolytes and actions by his former company, Bain Capital, and it is time he takes responsibility for the words and deeds of his representatives. Despite Romney’s support from maniacs like Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr., Rush Limbaugh, or Donald Trump, he never takes responsibility for their extremist positions and statements, but demurs that “you know I don’t agree with all the people who support me…I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.” It is true Willard cannot control what his “good people” say, but as leader of his campaign, when Ted Nugent makes veiled threats against President Obama, they are Romney’s threats against a sitting President.
Romney has attempted to distance himself from the enormous wealth he keeps offshore as well as Bain Capital’s business practices, but following his logic that the buck stops at the top, he can no longer claim ignorance of hypocritical activities whether in Russia, Iran, or China. Over the past months, reports revealed that Romney invested heavily in Chinese companies after he retired from Bain Capital, was instrumental in developing a tobacco market in post-Soviet Russia, and owned shares in a company that destroyed fetuses, and despite his claims to the contrary, they are deals he is directly responsible for based on his contention that the buck stops at the top.
When reporters question Romney on his hidden money or investment strategies, he claims it is handled by his personal lawyer, R. Bradford Malt, who is responsible for managing his blind trusts. Between 2008 and 2011, he invested in stocks of 10 Chinese companies, including “firms that embezzled, partnered with Iran, and stole US intellectual property.” Romney is fond of saying he has no role in managing his personal investments, but a Romney aide said Malt works “to make the investments in the blind trust conform to Governor Romney’s positions.” Willard assails President Obama for being soft on China and accused the Chinese of “stealing Americans’ jobs,” but since his blind trust’s manager answers to him, Romney is directly responsible for profiting from outsourcing Americans’ jobs; he cannot claim it is out of his hands. Romney also claims China is a currency manipulator and “promises to label them as such on day one,” but he invested in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s largest bank and profited from China’s currency manipulation.
During the 1990s as the Soviet Union came apart, Romney was CEO of Bain & Co. and he worked closely with Russian businesses that were not “family friendly” enterprises as Romney now claims his Bain Capital days entailed. It was about cigarettes, and it included orchestrating anonymous, convoluted cash transactions to keep major deals hidden from regulators and competitors. It is hypocritical for a Mormon to reap the benefits from a product associated with devastating health risks, but Romney’s religion has never got in the way of increasing his wealth.
In July, news emerged that Romney was part of an investment group that invested $75 million in a medical-waste disposal firm that disposed of aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics, but Bain Capital lied and said Romney was absent beginning in February 1999. According to documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the SEC, Romney is listed as an active participant in the investment that yielded tens-of-millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners, and one of the documents was signed by Romney that contradicts the official account of his exit from Bain Capital. Romney is also responsible for the corruption and fraud his surrogates committed in various bankruptcies Bain Capital supervised, as well as the conflict of interest Romney failed to report when his investment bank, Sankaty Ltd, petitioned the court for remuneration from another company Romney owned and Bain Capital bankrupted; Stage Stores.
It is time for Willard Mitt Romney to take full responsibility for everything his underlings, Bain Capital, and their surrogates are responsible for from his Bain and Company days right up to the present. When Romney is queried about his offshore tax havens, outrageously large IRA, and questionable investments in China and Iran, he can no longer claim he is not responsible or that the deals are part of his blind trust. In 1994, when he was running against Ted Kennedy for a Massachusetts senate seat, he attacked Kennedy for disclaiming responsibility for his investments declaring that “the blind trust is an age-old ruse,” and according to Willard’s comments about an administration’s leader being responsible for everything subordinates do, Romney is responsible for his own “age-old ruse” in hiding assets offshore through his and his wife’s blind trusts.
Perhaps there is a secret rule in the Mormon faith that allows Romney to hold President Obama responsible for everyone within his administration while claiming innocence from his own; the same as they condone telling bald-faced lies if it furthers the church’s mission. However, Americans are not all Mormons and the people hold Romney responsible for everything Bain Capital and his blind trust has done regardless if it is investing in Chinese banks or making questionable investments and deposits in offshore accounts. Hypocrisy and double standards are another form of lying that Romney is notorious for, and it is time he hitch up his magic underwear and follow the words of Harry S. Truman that the buck stop here; with Willard Romney.