Ernest Cassara

Wilfred Romney's Campaign for President

Were you to inquire of a typical resident of the old Bay State what it is that Wilfred "Mitt" Romney has accomplished as governor of Massachusetts that it qualifies him to serve as president of the United States, he/she would be hard pressed to come up with one example.

As I have remarked before, I was hard pressed to understand how that sterling Republican governor of Michigan, George Romney, and his spouse, could christen a kid "Mitt."  A bit of research, however, revealed the truth.  His name is Wilfred, but, he is apparently unhappy with that fact.

In the early days of his campaign for the presidency, our governor delighted in traveling across the country making fun of our state.  It must, finally, have occurred to his political advisers that this was not a winning strategy, for, after all, it just underlined the fact that he had no influence in the state over which he allegedly presides!

Traitor Joe's - II

As one of my fellow columnists in this esteemed Harvard Square Commentary put it, "It's all about Joe."  Senator Lieberman cannot face the fact the Ned Lamont  beat him in the Connecticut Democratic primary.  I suspect that all his chatter about how it is important for him to run as an independent, because his positions are "moderate," and Mr. Lamont's opposition to the Iraq war is "extreme," really boils down to the terrible possibility that he will have to get a job, if, perish the thought, he loses his perks in Washington.

I tend to doubt that Vice President Cheney, emerging from his "undisclosed location" long enough to claim that a vote against Lieberman is a vote for terrorism, will do Joe any good!

And, isn't it cute that Ken Melman, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and other Republicans, try every technique of evasion, when asked if they support Lieberman or the Republican nominee, Alan Schlesinger?

Energy in Massachusetts

Some residents in the old Bay State are in a tizzy over the idea that windmills will alter the beauty of Nantucket Sound. Since Harvard Square is far removed from that site, and most of the wind produced in this area is by pundits, I probably should desist from commenting.  On the other hand, I cannot forget a trip to the University of Jena, in Germany.  Our academic hosts sent an automobile to the airport at Halle to pick us up.  The drive to Jena was over lovely terrain.  Having seen much beauty in the landscape of Germany, what made this trip more fascinating was the fact that, along the way, we saw a number of windmills in the hills.  A perfectly beautiful, indeed, majestic  sight!

By the way, on our last trip to Germany, I noticed that many traffic lights have been replaced by rotaries, or, roundabouts, as our British cousins call them.  A very imaginative way to save electricity!

Günter Grass Fesses Up

My Better Half and I met the noted author at a garden party in Berlin in 1976, when she was doing research on the status of women in the universities of the capital, while I, also, was a Fulbright professor, but  in Munich.  As people do at these affairs, we circulated and came face to face with the famous author.  He grumbled, asking why my wife was wearing a necklace from which hung a little piece of rock mined in Virginia, in the shape of a cross.  My wife responded that she had not even thought of it as a cross.

I suppose that was not the most amiable introduction to an individual, but, there was no doubt in my mind years later that, irascible or not, he deserved the Nobel Prize. Despite that honor, bestowed in 1999, and many others, he is in hot water now, as you know, for he has finally admitted that he was in the Nazi Waffen SS when a young man.

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Harvard Square Commentary, August 28, 2006