Image credited to AP

Image credited to AP/Evan Vucci

Monday saw the illuminating leaks from presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in which he was caught on film detailing his campaign strategies to a room full of big, private donors. The controversy, however, manifested in just how detailed and candid this video proved to be.

Romney issued his thoughts on why he wouldn’t be able to win over President Obama’s base. He explained, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what… who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them.” He later concluded that those voters are virtually untouchable, in that they simply cannot be convinced to take “personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

In between confronting the hard truths of the campaign and insulting American voters, Mitt offered some comic relief to the crowd, revealing that sometimes awkward but striking humor insiders of his campaign so often boast about. Mitt joked, “My dad… was born in Mexico … and uh, had he been born of uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico… I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

The content of these leaks have certainly agitated this news cycle, but I don’t find it particularly shocking or even remotely enlightening.

I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that many Americans have known for some time now that these are the kinds of things Romney really believes.

If we dive back into the primaries, we can recall those moments where Romney dismissed a supporter’s cookies on suspicion they were store-bought, asserted college students should look no further than their parents when seeking loans to start their new businesses, admitted he wasn’t concerned about the poor because they’re doing just fine these days. These “gaffes” were glimpses into Mitt Romney’s unedited perspective, merely marking moments throughout this election where he has felt comfortable and relaxed enough to let his true self shine.

What’s most fascinating about this video footage is the golden opportunity awarded to the viewer, to be able to sit in on one of the elite presentations given by a presidential nominee, to get a little more than just a glimpse.

We get to watch the video and feel as though we’re off somewhere, lounging on lush, antique seating while simultaneously sitting on millions of disposable income, asking Romney the tough questions and getting the uncensored, unrehearsed answers.

It’s fascinating to hear how relaxed he is with us, freely indulging our interests and notions about the electorate. We can talk like old friends, see the real Mitt who has loosened up enough to make a racially insensitive joke or two. This is the Mitt Romney the general public hears the campaign talk about but never sees — well, until now.

Much is unknown about the anonymous source of these videos, though the Romney campaign is surely scrambling to identify this individual.

But I only wonder why we, the electorate, can’t successfully infiltrate these high-brow, donor talks more often? And my only hope as it relates to these leaks is that we’ll get equally in-depth, uncut spycam footage on Obama, in the same class as his gross generalization of mid-western voters, clinging to their guns and their religion back in 2008. For what a novel idea it is to want to know what these candidates really think.


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pictured on the left, Mayor Tom Barrett on the right (Photo credited to the Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin)

The recall election in Wisconsin not only brought with it a victory for Governor Scott Walker but also the fierce realization that democracy as we’ve known it is vanishing.

This disappearing act is accredited to the power of money, and not in the small $10-$50 donations a typical American might contribute to a campaign, or even a $1 million donation from some wealthy donor.

The demise of democracy will be traced back to the imperious Super PACs, of which billionaires accumulate millions of dollars to a particular candidate running for any office. And while a cool few million bucks to a billionaire feels like $10 to the average American, the danger in this is too great to ignore.

As we saw in Wisconsin, Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett was outspent by Governor Walker 8:1, running on a $4.2 million campaign compared to that of Walker’s- valued at $30 million and heavily bolstered by outside, Super PAC fundraising.

They say that money can’t buy you everything, but in the case of tens of millions of dollars, in light of the Wisconsin race, I beg to differ.

Most recently, Mitt Romney acquired a nice sum as well from casino giant Sheldon Adelson in the amount of $10 million. It is the largest quantity single-handedly gifted to the Romney campaign thus far. With donations like this, he is set to outspend President Obama in the present election, and with the bottomless pockets of Adelson and the like, who can say by how much.

We are moving closer to a time where the presidency will carry a hefty price tag, filled with commas to the point of sheer redundancy and far beyond any budget of the 99%.

It will be up to the few billionaires of this country to decide as to which candidate will best serve their interests first and foremost. After all, these are businessmen making an investment, and will of course expect a swift return.

Mitt Romney jeopardizes the way this country will see him come November. For voters will see him, not as he presents himself on stages or in internet ads, but as the representative of the quiet, secretive money that hangs over his head, only burdened further with the high expectations of heavily decreased regulation, disregard for the general public, and who knows what else.

Yes, it looks like we’ve begun to admit to a dying democracy, with those subscribed to the Super PAC institution are only too happy to see it go.

When President Obama took office, Republicans relentlessly offered their vocal concern that this country was headed for socialism. But it seems they were fighting for something new entirely, a little less like democracy and a little more like tyranny.