Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Forty-Seven Percent

Yesterday marked 49 days until the elections.  Seven weeks, and yesterday was a day not quite like any other.

A surreptitious recording of Republican Mitt Romney at a fundraising event last May in Boca Raton, Florida, was leaked to the media, and it was incendiary.  Mitt was in his natural element, talking to a bunch of super-rich supporters who paid $50K per plate to get past the front door, and I have no doubt he really meant everything he said.  After all, the event was nominally closed to the new media, and he was among his people.  He had no reason to put on any airs for them.

At one point Romney make the astonishing statement that he considers 47% of the American electorate to be freeloaders and victims, and are dependent on the government for all their sustenance.  50 million Americans are, according to Romney, shiftless, lazy, and looking for nothing other than a handout.  They feel they are "entitled" to have the government provide food, housing and medical care for them, and do absolutely nothing to fend for themselves or pay their own way.  They take everything and give nothing in return.  Frankly, I would like to get in on that gig.

The news media went absolutely berserk, as they should, and despite everything else going on in the world this was the big news story.  The liberal media had a feeding frenzy, and there was an overabundance of red meat to go around.  Even a number of more conservative media outlets and newspapers leveled some withering, merciless criticism on Romney, pointing out in no uncertain terms how totally off-base he was.

The Romney campaign went into major crisis mode, but no amount of whiplash-inducing spin could pull this mess out of the toilet.  You could just see his campaign managers running around their office in a panic, bumping into each other, not knowing which forest fire to put out first.  But the best was yet to come.

The Romney quote really making the rounds is something that you would never believe a candidate for national office would say.  Romney said his "job" is "not to worry about those people" because they will vote for Obama no matter what.  So, he is writing off nearly half of the electorate because they do not pay federal income tax, and Romney's tax-cut message would be lost on them.

It is certainly true that a lot of people pay no federal income tax.  The tax code is structured in such a way that people of very low income, or senior citizens, or members of the armed forces do not have to pay federal income taxes.  That doesn't mean they pay no tax at all.  They pay all the other taxes everyone else pays - state tax, local tax, sales taxes, payroll taxes.  As a matter of fact, middle and lower classes workers pay payroll taxes, and after you earn $106,800 you pay none at all.

Through all of this, Romney looks the same he always has:  ridiculous, stupid, awkward, creepy and floundering around like a fish out of water.  His performance in his quest for the White House as been a breathtaking series of gaffes and misstatements, from when he managed to insult the United Kingdom over London's Summer Olympics to writing off any chances of peace in the middle East.  He has resolutely refused to turn over anything more than the minimum amount of information regarding his federal income taxes, something which has gained new urgency lately given his assertion that a lot of Americans are bums and leeches.  I am convinced that he refuses to make public his tax returns because they will show that HE has not paid anywhere near his fair share of federal income taxes, and perhaps none at all for a number of years.  I have four words for him, and I wish every news media outlet in the world would keep repeating them over and over to him:  What are you hiding?

Even his phony, brittle wife Ann has reinforced all the negative impressions about her and her husband when, in an interview, the subject of his tax returns came up and she snarled in as imperious a tone as she could muster (and she's had a ton of practice) that "you people" (meaning the press and the American electorate) have gotten all the tax information that you're going to get, so be satisfied with that and STFU.

Still, no one is counting Romney and his campaign out because it doesn't matter to most of his Republican supporters what stupid, ill-advised and idiotic things he says or does, they will support him no matter what.  Facts be damned, those people will vote for Romney even if he was proven to be a child molester who set a nursing home on fire while selling China white heroin to grade-schoolers.  Republicans are never, ever encumbered by facts or reality.  Their racist hatred of Barack Obama is stronger than any love of country or sympathy for their fellow citizens.

Presidential candidates have recovered from serious setbacks in their campaign before, but it's hard to see how Romney can run a credible, viable campaign from here on.  It would be very interesting indeed to watch Romney's chances flame out and crumble, but it's impossible to overestimate the capacity of the American voter to see what they want to see, and ignore everything else.  And above all, this election season is one where substance takes a distant back seat to style, and if your candidate says or does something really stupid, the best thing to do is double-down, dig your heels in, and deny, obfuscate, and deceive.  After all, Republicans could not care less about facts.  They have put all their faith in voter suppression drives, and none in the voters themselves.


  1. I am always amazed at the attitude and belief that liberals dont work and pay taxes. Just incredible. I wonder if he would have said that to a group of teachers, firefighters, police officers or marines. I know of course that he wouldnt have but just the idea.....

  2. Mitt Romney is what happens when your whole approach to picking a candidate is "anyone but Obama." Just look at the crazies and extremists who were so popular during the Republican primaries. The fact that Romney is the best they could do, says everything about the state of the GOP ... they are out-of-touch with the lives of the average American, whether they be conservative or liberal. But what gets to me the most is the fact that although I have conservative friends who claim they do not support the radical ideas of their party, I've yet to see or hear any of them call out members of their party. They either remain silent or make vague excuses and then turn around and try to point fingers at us liberals. I'm soooo ready for this campaign to be over ... yet, I'm looking forward to the debates, if only to see Romney look even more ridiculous than he already does.

    1. I agree completely with everything you say, Amy. The GOP has been taken over by right-wing extremists and Romney had to swing so far to the right to impress any of them, that his attempts to moderate his message for the general election makes him sound every phonier and dumber than he really is. His recent statement about how much her "cares" for the 100%" could not be more faint-hearted or self-serving, and no one is buying it. If there are any Republican moderates left they are hiding in a bomb shelter somewhere, because their silence is deafening and their absence could not be more conspicuous. But, Romney's supporters will vote for him no matter what. I'm certain they are driven by racism and are too cowardly to admit that their candidate is a hypocrite, a compulsive liar, and a complete sham.