THE BLOG
08/08/2012 03:55 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2012

2012: The 'Stockholm Syndrome' Election

Ann Romney referred to the American people as "you people." That is how she and her husband, Mitt, think of us. Republicans consider themselves very pro-American, but, as Romney's tax havens show, they do not like the American people very much.

Yet, between 45 to 55 percent of "you people" are going to vote for Mitt Romney, a man whose life not only epitomizes the worst part of the system that impoverishes them, but has made hundreds of millions of dollars for himself by actually impoverishing many of them -- not thinking there was anything wrong with it, and avoiding paying taxes on most of it. At least 45 people will vote for a person who said matter-of-factly that he likes being able to fire "people who provide services to him."

It makes no rational sense.

It also makes no emotional sense, except as has been described as analogous to the "Stockholm Syndrome," essentially that people can come to admire their tormenters:

Given what can fairly be laid on Republicans' laps -- asleep-at-the-switch for 9/11, lying us into Iraq, failing to capture bin Laden, turning surpluses into gaping deficits to provide huge tax cuts to the wealthy, destroying trillions in middle-class wealth, creating massive unemployment, triggering waves of home foreclosures -- it is amazing that "you people" would even entertain supporting them.

As if having created an economic debacle were not enough, Republicans have doubled down by stopping every measure they could that would help fix the mess into which they plunged us. This strategy was adopted on the eve of President Obama's inauguration, before any of his proposals were even hatched. They were just going to oppose.

Yet, this transparent selfish power play apparently triggers no disgust, no desire not to reward being used, among the American people.

And, as if that were still not enough, they have publicly and bluntly stated that they are inflicting this pain upon "you people" to prevent President Obama from being re-elected -- blocking infrastructure bills that are necessary investments in our economic foundation and that would create jobs now, blocking the end to tax breaks for moving jobs overseas, taking 18- to 26-year-olds off your health insurance , precipitating a crisis in Medicare so they can eliminate it (anyone over 65 who thinks they are not coming for you too?), providing another $5 trillion wealth transfer from the middle class to the top 0.1 percent, despoiling your rivers, fouling your water, repealing women's rights to challenge pay-equity in the workplace, gutting Headstart, repealing the Voting Rights Act, making abortions so difficult to obtain they do not even need to have Roe v. Wade overturned, and ending net neutrality so they can prioritize corporately-approved speech -- all in the name of "helping job creators," the new name for Mitt Romney and his fellow travelers that take their tax cuts and park them in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and secret accounts in Switzerland, for which they receive amnesty from prosecution when discovered.

And, that is just for starters.

This is not idle speculation -- just look at what the "red wave" has done in the states in less than two years.

So, here we are, all "you people," being deliberately targeted for pain so we will feel so anxious, so unhappy and so angry that we will embrace anyone else, even those who have deliberately screwed us for their political gain.

That is the elections version of the "Stockholm Syndrome". And, as they pour on the pain when they govern, they will expect you will love it and your tormentors every step of the way.

Now, before anyone gets on their high horse and claims that the measures the tormentors blocked are actually being stopped because they would "hurt" the economy, let's get real. In an unguarded moment Romney indicated that we ought not reduce spending in 2013 for fear of hurting the economy further, while in his speeches he asserts that job growth has not been robust because we are spending too much. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed his concern about defense department cuts costing us 1 to 2 million jobs.

Neither of those comments suggests that they really believe that investing money on rebuilding roads, bridges, sewage facilities, airports and schools would "not create jobs."

So, we know that everyone basically "gets" the connection between government investments to offset lagging private consumer demand and jobs. Everyone "gets" that no other entity invests in infrastructure except government. They also know that if we passed the American Jobs Act to do some of this infrastructure investment, we could add, directly, 1.3 to 1.9 million new jobs, driving the unemployment rate to near 7 percent.

The electorate "gets" it too.

Intellectually, that is.

But, we also know from neuropsychology studies that 98 percent of the decisions we make are emotional.

Republicans are betting that "you people," sufficiently traumatized, will exhibit an electoral version of the "Stockholm syndrome" at the polls.

That is one of the many reasons that reminding people who Mitt Romney really is, and who their tormentors are, is so critical.