Fans of Konami’s Castlevania series know him as the series’ big bad, the man they must kill every hundred or so years lest he bring untold darkness upon the Transylvanian landscape. And yet, a look at the videogame franchise’s history will show that for an undead, soul-sucking monster, Mathias Cronqvist (a.k.a. Vlad Tepes, or most famously Dracula) might as well be a Flea Man for all the actual damage he does. If he wants to truly be something to be feared, he could stand to get some tips from some real world people…say, current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Okay, so Romney wouldn’t suck the blood of innocents or personally kill anyone, nor would he mind-control people from beyond the grave in order to assure his resurrection. Still, given his history, character, and claims, it’s fair to say that were he to become president, he would cause a level of suffering ol’ Vlad could only dream of.
In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Dracula’s servant Shaft kidnaps several women so that their blood would sustain Lord Dracula. It is arguably the most visibly evil act the dark lord ever actually does, and while horrible—surely there are ways to secure people’s blood without taking away their consent, and in ways that don’t bring down the Belmont killhammer—it pales in comparison for Romney’s stated agenda.
First, of course, is abortion and the general issue of reproductive rights–Mitt Romney doesn’t believe in either, since he doesn’t believe that women should be allowed a choice in what they do with their bodies. It’s why he has, in the past, backed federal Human Life Amendments, such as the one that made its way into the Republican Party’s platform again recently, and measures like the failed Mississippi Personhood Ammendment, which would have banned not only abortion but several forms of birth control.
Then there’s the fact that he hasn’t come out in support of fair pay for women. And the fact that he would “get rid” of Planned Parenthood, and well, the fact that his platform is generally horrendous.
Once you take a look at Romney’s policies in aggregate, it’s clear who does and doesn’t benefit from them. Latinos? No—Romney considers Arizona’s “papers please” law to be a model for the entire nation . Women? No—see the previous section. The poor? Hah! Not with those cuts to food stamps/SNAP, job training and the ACA repeal. Unions? Don’t make me laugh. Soldiers? Nein!—while Romney does detail how he would increase the budget in order to procure better weapons and vehicles, he says nothing about what he would do about the soldiers who come home, to find that their experiences abroad have it harder to tackle the challenges they now face.
Or, to put it another way, here’s Ezra Klein’s takedown of the budget.
Consider what the Romney campaign, then, is saying: If Romney is elected, then by his third year in office, every single federal program that is not Medicare, Social Security, or defense, will be cut, on average, by 40 percent. That means Medicaid, infrastructure, education, food safety, road safety, the postal service, basic research, foreign aid, housing subsidies, food stamps, the Census, Pell grants, the Patent and Trademark Office, the FDA — all of it has to be cut by, on average, 40 percent. If Romney tried to protect any particular priority, it would mean all the others have to be cut by more than 40 percent.
With some exceptions, these are things that affect, and help, all citizens. When they fail, those failures harm all of us. However, not all of us can weather those failures equally. What for the better off among us can be a temporary inconvenience can be a permanent setback to others. And the smaller government gets, the larger that second group grows.
Given this, who can weather this inevitable downgrade in services enough to actually want it? Hint: They’re the one group that won’t be harmed by his tax plan.
In contrast, a look at the denizens of Dracula’s Demon Castle shows a rather varied constituency, and their continued loyalty to Tepes would seem to indicate that he’s pretty darn good at caring for them, be they werewolves, succubi, zombies, Giant Skeletons, red-tinted Blood Skeletons, Skeleton Knights and Skeleton Athletes, middle class Waiter Skeletons, Ghost Dancers (he supports the arts!), Witches, Evil Butchers, Black Panthers, Golems, Valkyries—even Chupacabras, although they go by “cave trolls” here. Mitt Romney might claim to be a man of the people, but Dracula is.
Neither Dracula nor Romney have much experience (or interest, it sometimes seems) when it comes to countries outside their own. Dracula has over the centuries adopted a policy of isolationism, keeping his influence inside Transylvania. While this hasn’t stopped him from making enemies abroad—for example, the American John Morris or the Japanese Hakuba clan—it also means that he is not draining the castle coffers or wasting his soldiers in fruitless international ventures.
Speaking of fruitless international ventures, Romney recently took a three-country tour which only succeeded in increasing his cachet as a punch-line (The Economist has described his demeanor as being “like Bush, but without the cosmopolitan flair”), as he managed to insult all his hosts and give birth to the hashtag #Romneyshambles.
Outside that ill-fated tour, Romney has not said much about what he would do were he president, but a look at the make up of his team–which includes many veterans of the Bush administration–suggests he intends to bring Neo-Conservatism back and reemphasize antagonism, provocation, or invasion, especially if those are that is what
Israel (E.T.A.: Israel’s leaders, which are different from their people) also want s. How this will square with his stated desire to balance the budget is a question no one can answer, least of all him.
Dracula’s right hand man has always been Death, he of the skeletal features, hood and scythe. As you can imagine, he’s pretty horrible, being responsible for the eventual end of all life.
And yet, it’s hard to argue that Death doesn’t play a vital role in the scheme of things. After all, without Death, the world would have long fallen to an ever growing population of people who, despite getting older or suffering from sicknesses such as Alzheimer’s or headlessness, would still go on living forever, straining Medicare and Social Security to the breaking point.
Mitt Romney, for his part, has Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, he of the Paul Ryan budget, which would have once turned Medicare into a voucher program and would still gut programs for the poor, cut domestic discretionary spending—which includes stuff like law enforcement, infrastructure spending, and environmental protection—by half. Not only that, he combines faux fiscal conservatism–his budget would require him to take measures he has never voted for before in order actually balance the budget–with actual social conservatism, as his votes for personhood, against abortion, and against marriage equality would attest. Awesome “Hey Girl, it’s Paul Ryan Gosling” meme nonwithstanding, we expect more from our vice-presidential candidates. Like, you know, caring about the people they would govern.
Throughout their careers, both Dracula and Romney have worn a variety of guises and forms. In his twenty-something year history, Dracula has rarely kept a consistent appearance, going from gaudy to campy to handsome to distinguished to old to young to spectral, and then back again. Still, no matter what he looks like, the fundamentals remain the same: he is the lord of evil, and given a chance, he will fuck your shit up.
And the same could be said of Romney, who has reinvented himself as necessary as a culture warrior, plutocrat, centrist, far-right conservative—you name it, he’s done it. Still, like Dracula, there is a basic consistency to his inconsistency: whether in his “to the left of Ted Kennedy” form or his current “severely conservative” one, his various masks do not hide what he really is, and has always been: a sad, craven human being with no principles, looking out for no one’s interests but those of his immediate circle. Like Dracula, he would also like to fuck your shit up. Unlike Dracula, he may succeed.