It may be old news but it is worth remembering that a significant item on Mitt Romney's resume, "Saved the Olympics," is not the whole truth. To be more accurate, that resume line would state "Along with the American taxpayer, saved the Olympics." In their Dec. 10, 2001, Sports Illustrated article "Snow Job," investigative journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele detail how Romney and associates got the U.S. Treasury to hand over $1.5 billion of taxpayer money largely to well connected developers.
This is more than seven times the money U.S. taxpayers forked over for all other U.S. Olympic games combined till then. Some of the money went to public infrastructure, but most went to construction projects in private developments where today, you must pay admission to admire your dollars at work.
How is it that some of the wealthiest people in Salt Lake City, one of this country's wealthiest cities, could not self-finance the Olympics they fought so hard to get? Since most Olympic games go deeply into debt, ripping off the taxpayer had to be part of the plan from its inception. Just as the big "investment" banks counted on taxpayer money to satisfy their gambling debts, SLC Olympic magnates and moguls expected to gain much from the games without all the pesky risk associated with the history of the games.
To be clear, I do not have a problem with using public money to finance a prestigious international event. What I do have a problem with is when an individual, his boosters and some of his peers, blissfully preach the virtues of the so-called free market while shamelessly and vigorously ensuring the market is anything but free. Once again, they gain, you pay. It is for this reason and others that I cannot support a person who along with his boosters share such an over-developed sense of self-importance along with a poorly-developed sense of irony, and not a shred of shame.
To be fair, some candid moments have emerged from the Romney campaign. In March, when asked how Romney would switch tactics from the primary to the general election, senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said to CNN, "Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again." In August, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse noted, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." Indeed, Mr. Newhouse, indeed.