Last week we pointed out to you some CEOs who are trying to dictate how their employees vote—complete with implicit threats about job losses if the “wrong guy” wins. Well, there’s another former CEO who thinks this is a great strategy: Mitt Romney.
In a June conference call reported on by Mike Elk from In These Times, Romney tells an audience of business owners that they should tell their employees to vote for him:
“I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.”
Subtle, right? “In the best interest of…their job and their future.” It’s the same kind of hard sell that goes on in captive-audience meetings that companies use to scare workers out of organizing a union, and with the same goal: preventing working people from making their own decisions and acting to improve their own lives.
Romney told an audience of wealthy donors that the roughly half of Americans who might vote for Obama are parasites—people who don’t pay taxes, think of themselves as “victims,” and won’t “take responsibility for their lives.” Like his comments on the conference call, the comments at this fundraiser are incredibly flattering to Romney’s wealthy supporters and incredibly insulting to the rest of us.
Romney complains that he’s been caricatured as a heartless plutocrat, but he seems intent on proving it…when speaking to like-minded business owners, he shows his contempt for the autonomy of ordinary workers. Mitt Romney is exactly who we think he is, and if he’s elected president, those are the values we should expect.
Like many of his fellow CEOs, Romney is the sort of person who thinks employers outrank the people who work for them in the legitimacy of their political voice. But democracy doesn’t work that way. Your vote counts the same whether you work in a top-floor corner or office or whether you work in a kitchen, a nursing home, a factory floor or a community college.