Since he’s already done the “Romney’s Mouth, Meet Romney’s Foot – Statement Edition,” I guess he thought another round was due. I imagine that right about now, President Obama is sitting in a room, consulting a calendar. “Hm… it’s not my birthday, it’s not Christmas… Well, either way, I guess I should call Mitt Romney and thank him for his thoughtful gift.”By now, you’ve heard about or seen the video posted by the Mother Jones website in which Mitt Romney goes on, at length, about people who will vote for Barack Obama and who will not consider voting for him. But, for giggles, here is the video and a transcription of what Romney said at a fundraiser dinner some months back after winning the Republican nomination:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49… He starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not…
Whew. That’s something, huh? I’ll see what I can do to test the validity of Romney’s claims.
“who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
Well, I’m not exactly sure how to check up on this, but what I can tell you is that 15% of Americans are on food stamps, not 47%… and I assume that’s what he means by “entitled to food.” When he says “health care,” I’m not sure if he means Social Security Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or what, and housing… does he mean rent subsidies? Homeless shelters? I’m not sure. Anyway, let’s move on…
“47 percent of Americans pay no income tax.”
CNN has 53.6% of Americans paying income tax and a total of 81.9% of Americans paying some form of tax over all, so… he’s right, about 47% of American’s don’t pay income tax, but saying that everyone who doesn’t pay income tax is a deadbeat who is dependent on the federal state is a stretch.
“So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.”
That’s fair – if I don’t make a ton of money or derive most of my income from capital gains (ditto on both), why would I care that Romney would lower income taxes as President? I don’t care because I don’t pay much, as a middle income American, in taxes. (Also, I don’t understand how he plans to reduce tax revenue and reduce the deficit while cutting spending and creating jobs – those things seem to directly contradict each other…)
“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
See, this is the kind of statement you can’t walk back. Once you essentially call 47% of Americans deadbeats, I’d say you’re pretty much boned. Remember back in 2008, when John McCain said, “The fundamentals of our economy are sound,” that one morning, and then a few hours later the market crashed as if it were Black Tuesday? I heard the BBC say that they thought that this video was analogous to Obama’s slip in 2008 that referred to western Pennsylvanian conservatives as those who would cling to their guns and religions, but I doubt that remark offended 47% of Pennsylvanians, never mind 47% of Americans.
So after this story broke, Romney’s campaign called a press conference and I thought, “OK, he is going to try to walk it back. I mean, why else call a press conference in response to the video?” Foolish, foolish me – I forgot that Romney doesn’t back off, he doesn’t apologize, he doubles down on what he said previously, no matter how stupid or offensive it was.
So it’s a question and answer as I recall about the process of the campaign and how I’m going to get the 51 or 52 percent I need and I point out it’s by focusing on those folks that are neither in his camp nor in my camp. Of course there’s a very different approach of the two different campaigns, as I point out I recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47 percent of Americans, I’m not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. That’s not as attractive to those who don’t pay income taxes as it is to those who do. And likewise those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government. And so I then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp and help me win the 51 or 50.1 percent that I need to become the next President.
This sort of response is at the heart of why I used to just disagree with Romney but now hate the guy. Why’s he got to be such a douche bag all the time? It’s hard to believe that the guy who fought for health care reform while governor of Massachusetts actually believes what he’s saying, so what’s the deal? Why make comments like this?
I don’t get it. I guess Romney just thinks that he has to be a douche to win, but ultimately, I think it’s this brand of douche baggery that will cost him the election… but then, if he doesn’t win Ohio and Florida, it’s probably over, anyway.