Blood in the Water

The spring and summer of a campaign year are about creating a narrative that will carry into the fall election. In particular, the goal is to develop a negative theme about one’s opponent that is cast in concrete by the time the election comes around.  During these tense months, the momentary candidate gaffe or shaky biographical detail can be transformed by an agile opponent into a gathering tsunami of destruction, possibly generating a crippling blow to a once-promising campaign.

Over the past several months, two themes have been developing about Mitt Romney that are beginning to gel in the public mind. The first is that he is essentially dishonest and will say anything that might support his personal objectives. The second is that he is a veritable poster boy for the most callous and self-serving habits of the super-rich.

The dishonesty meme began in earnest early in 2012, when it became apparent that the cypher Romney was abandoning many of his previously-held, more moderate positions, shamelessly replacing them with the extremist policies of the Right- wing primary voters. Even the basic structure of the Affordable Health Care Act, for which the original blueprint was Romney’s own signature health care legislation in Massachusetts, became anathema as a sop to the fringe.

This past week it was revealed that several SEC filings for Bain Capital described Romney as the CEO, president, and sole stock holder of the company through 2002, with him receiving a salary in excess of 100,000 dollars per year. This completely contradicts Romney’s ongoing insistence that he left the company in 1999, which, rather conveniently, would put his departure before much of the serious outsourcing of jobs and some notable business failures began. Whether or not this story has lasting resonance, in terms of the developing narrative, Romney’s seemingly dishonest description of his timeline at Bain is serving to reinforce the former Governor’s already-problematic image as a congenital liar who will say whatever is necessary to further his ambitions. Ironically, this blatant dishonesty and political expediency is paralleled by Senate and Congressional Republicans who brazenly abandon policies they recently supported or even authored as soon as President Obama pursues them.

The other theme that is rapidly coalescing around Romney concerns how he made his millions and what he has done with them since. People do not begrudge successful entrepreneurship when it contributes to the common good, but they do resent it if the public is harmed while the wealthy investors make out like bandits. It has become clear that many of the tens of millions Romney earned at Bain were financed by plant closings, company bankruptcies, workers laid off, jobs outsourced, and pensions cut.  In fact, Romney’s career is littered with the kind of financial maneuverings that have helped to fuel the dramatic growth in wealth inequality that is currently degrading the middle class and harming the country. Essentially, the financial elite have consistently known how to manipulate the system to maximize their wealth, while the rest of us have suffered the devastating consequences.

Despite his net-worth being at least a quarter of a billion dollars, Romney pays a very low tax rate, keeping most of his money in off-shore tax shelters and foreign bank accounts. In addition, according to a recent article by David Corn in Mother Jones, he has invested millions in foreign companies. It is no wonder that Romney hides his tax returns from the public, for their release would surely flesh out how egregious these common practices of the moneyed class are and how much wealth they self-servingly and persistently deny the public coffers, money which could go toward education, infrastructure, health care, and innovation for the good of all.

Interestingly, the GOP claim that tax cuts for the “job creators” are necessary to strengthen the economy is completely disproven by the reality of Romney’s finances. The money he saves by not paying significant taxes does not go into job creation. It goes to offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes and is invested globally not nationally, where the goal is to make money not create jobs, just like at Bain. Moreover, the entire GOP policy agenda parallels the machinations of Romney and Bain: pull money from programs that help the middle class and the poor in order to pay for tax cuts for the top one percent. How is this different from slashing jobs and bankrupting companies in order to enrich investors?

Astrologically, the planet that describes self-delusion and the tendency to try and delude others is Neptune. Neptune offers a gratifying illusion rather than a grounded reality, and those strongly under its influence can lose themselves and get carried away with the will of those around them. In Romney’s natal chart, he has three planets in Pisces, the sign ruled by Neptune, which implies some difficulty staying anchored in core beliefs, as well as a tendency to mirror back to his audience what they wish from him. These tendencies are made more problematic by Romney’s Gemini Ascendant, another “mutable” sign, that renders him extremely changeable and makes it difficult for him to commit to one position for very long.

During early 2012, Neptune moved into a square with Romney’s Ascendant (00Gemini43). The first crossing was in February, and, although the influence remains all year, the next crossing will be a prolonged and much more potent transit running from late August through mid-December 2012. This is extremely problematic for Romney, especially as there are also numerous Saturn transits in his chart during this time. What it suggests is that the growing theme of his dishonesty and his lack of core beliefs and moral strength are likely to gain increasing traction and sour the electorate. There will be confusion, gaffes, shifting positions, and attempts at deception, as well as self-deception.

Possibly even more troubling for the former governor is the solar eclipse that fell exactly on his Ascendant (00Gemini43) on May 20, 2012. Historically, a solar eclipse is seen as heralding trouble, often bringing in very unfortunate circumstances somewhat outside the normal range of difficulties for up to a year after the actual event. But an eclipse is also somewhat of a wild card, so one should use caution in basing predictions upon it. This particular eclipse (00Gemini21) was square to Neptune (3Pisces05) when it occurred, and the Neptune transit in the fall will be coming back across the exact square of the eclipse from September 8 through November 11. It seems likely that the worst effects of the eclipse will occur during that time. It is not impossible to imagine some kind of serious revelation, perhaps from those tax returns, that causes an unraveling of Romney’s candidacy in that period.

During the past few days, when the story of Romney’s signed SEC filings contradicting his previous statements began to surface, I thought of this eclipse. I wondered if this situation would actually derail his candidacy in a way that was more significant than the usual political attacks that permeate a campaign. It seems more likely, however, that the damage from disclosures or missteps that emerge in October and early November (with Saturn moving into Scorpio and into a quincunx with Romney’s Ascendant, square his Saturn and progressed Saturn, and conjunct his progressed Chiron) will be the most potent and unavoidable.

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