A few days ago, a video came to light in which Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential candidate, made the following remarks earlier this year:
There are 47 percent who will vote for the President, no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the 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…. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And so my job is not to worry about those people I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
And to some extent, he’s right:
- About 47% of Americans pay no Federal income tax.
- About 47% of Americans (actually somewhat more) live in a household receiving financial aid from the government in one form or another.
- About 47% of the electorate will vote for Obama no matter what.
- Some percentage of Americans, though probably not 47%, see themselves as victims deserving compensation.
- Some percentage of Americans have absolved themselves of personal responsibility for their actions. (This is one of the reasons we have the highest prison population of any nation on Earth.)
Nevertheless, it was an unwise thing to say: the way it came out, it suggested that the only worthwhile Americans were the 53% who paid income tax. But we already knew that Romney has a tin ear for how his remarks will resonate with the public.
What’s worse is that these remarks confirmed what we suspected about Romney: that he lives in a bubble surrounded by like-minded advisors who don’t recognize that, for example, many of the 47% who don’t pay income tax are simply people trying to make a living, or retirees receiving Social Security. (But then, Obama lives in a similar bubble.)
Romney also said, this past week,
A tape came out a couple of days ago, with the President saying, yes, he believes in redistribution. Well, I don’t! I believe the way to lift people, and to help people have higher incomes, is not to take from some and give to others, but to create wealth for all of us.
It’s an admirable sentiment, to be sure, but how does he plan to accomplish it? (And don’t say ‘tax cuts.’)
I’m disgusted with Romney. Unfortunately, the alternative is even worse.
President Obama has been an abject failure as a leader. The first signs of this appeared in 2009, even before he was inaugurated. He had said that there should be a stimulus, and then threw the matter over the fence for Congress to hash out. Congress, in turn, ran around like kids in a candy store, spending money on this and that, and in the end doing very little to get the economy producing again. It was the Obama administration’s efforts in Libya (with ‘kinetic military action’) that introduced ‘leading from behind’ into our political lexicon.
And this week, our President remarked,
Obviously, the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington, is disappointing…. So I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside.
If that isn’t an admission of defeat, I don’t know what is. (Change from the outside? You mean, like, invasion by a foreign army?)