“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.”-Mitt Romney talking to rich donors about people who will vote for President Barack Obama
The video clip showing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney making a pledge “not to worry” about almost half of the American people, many of them in red states, should doom his election chances and result in a landslide for President Barack Obama.
It plays into every disparaging stereotype and expectation one might have about the Republican Party, and it’s a personal indictment against a man who portrays himself as a compassionate, former religious leader, who once took care of less-fortunate members of the Mormon church.
But will it really cost him the election?
Here’s the quote played around the country in recent days as the video clip surfaced:
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 upon 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven 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.
The only truthful parts of this statement are that 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax and that Romney will apparently not worry about them. The lies are apparent: (1) Many red-state voters who will probably vote for Romney, including a majority of the elderly, don’t pay federal income tax. (2) People who pay no federal income tax include those working at low-paying jobs. They are not dependent on the government, and they pay other taxes.
Obviously, Romney is merely giving voice to the fictional trope of the American aristocracy about the lowly masses, but it’s so brazen and crass that surely some bigwig GOP operatives are worried some red-staters might feel duped and unloved, especially in the swing state of Florida.
In fact, Romney’s entire campaign may have brought the GOP to a huge crossroads when it comes to obsessively supporting the interests of the wealthy. A GOP loss in this presidential election will force an internal discussion about the party’s future; a landslide loss could finally create the permanent schism between the wealthy Republican aristocracy and their useful tools (especially the ones that don’t pay income taxes) that might begin a much-needed reversal of extreme wealth disparity in this country. Or is that too hopeful?
The GOP still has its huge propaganda machine, of course, including the editorial page of The Oklahoman, in one of the most conservative states in the country. The Oklahoman has also never met a rich person it didn’t like.
This is really a headline of an editorial that appeared Monday on NewsOK.com, the web site of The Oklahoman:
“Plan to further tax the rich would leave less for the wealthy to give away”.
It doesn’t get more obvious than that. The entire editorial constructs a narrative of a benevolent American aristocracy that, well, needs even more money to help the less fortunate. The aristocracy, not voters, knows best who deserves help and who doesn’t, and the rest of us should embrace it. I’m sure Romney would agree with the newspaper’s position.
According to the editorial:
. . . Obama demonizes the wealthy and holds them up as villains who ought to be paying their “fair share” of taxes. Rather than scorn, they deserve their fair share of credit.
Note Obama’s demonization is urging a system of “fair share” taxes. Why are fair taxes so terrible? Does The Oklahoman not believe in the concept of “fair”? Of course, it doesn’t, and neither does Romney.