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News & Politics News & Politics

Mitt Tells Voters in Video to Drop Dead

Posted by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM
  • 87 Replies

Michael Tomasky: Mitt Tells Voters in Video to Drop Dead

Sure it was a dumb move for Romney to denounce half of America. But he was just channeling today’s GOP.

Let’s cut right to the chase. Is Mitt Romney’s caught-on-video denunciation of half of America worse than Barack Obama’s infamous “cling” comments of 2008, when he was similarly caught in flagrante? You bet it is. Not even close. The Romney video, brought to light by David Corn of Mother Jones, shows the candidate at his smug worst, while Obama was at least trying to express some empathy in his remarks. And while you never know with Romney whether he really believes something he says or is just trying to placate the audience before him, in this case it almost doesn’t matter. He’s made himself the avatar of the forces that do believe it.

For the record, just so you have it handy, here is the key passage, recorded as Romney spoke to well-heeled supporters earlier this year, after he’d secured the 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 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.”

I was surprised at my own reaction as I first read those words. I found myself taking personal offense. This is something I’ve never done as a political journalist. I just removed that instinct from my system years ago. I have two jobs, to give opinions and hopefully more-or-less accurate analysis. You think about things personally, you can’t do either one, especially the second. But as I read this, I thought: “You ignorant, pathetic man. I am none of those things.” And if I thought it—I who have trained myself never to have those thoughts—I can imagine what millions of others thought.

Can he really believe this? It’s incomprehensible. And yet it’s not. This is the story conservatives have been telling themselves over and over in the Tea Party age. All Democrats are moochers, and all moochers are Democrats. It has become an absolute article of faith among the kind of middle- and upper-middle-class people you see at Tea Party gatherings. More shockingly, conservative intellectuals spout this gibberish as well—for example, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute.

People on the right will blame the media. But the real culprit is the words themselves. They slander millions of hard-working Americans.

romney-on-obama-voters

Mitt Romney greets a supporter after addressing the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles on Sept. 17. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images)

But somehow I wouldn’t have thought the rich, the kind of people presumably at this fundraiser, really believed this stuff. Apparently they do. And it makes me think on balance that Romney, who by nature prefers believing nothing, has actually come to believe it too. An inevitable consequence, I suppose, of campaigning among these people for all these years. You marinate a cherry in cheap whiskey long enough, the stink attaches.

Obama’s 2008 comments, which sent the right into a blind rage, weren’t nearly as callous as this. Here they are, read them. He was trying to explain to well-heeled backers in San Francisco why working-class white people weren’t voting for him, and he basically said he understood why: “In a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.” That’s empathy. If he’d said “angry” instead of “bitter” and “lean on” instead of “cling to,” there’d have been no controversy at all.

This was the day Romney was retooling his campaign, remember? After the appearance of a Politico piece Monday morning that was just terrible for the Romney campaign—people working on or closely with a campaign never give background quotes like some of those given for this story until they’re pretty sure they’re going to lose—the campaign sent out word that it was reset time. The team would now focus tightly on a new strategy, to make the campaign a referendum on “status quo versus change.” Contempt for half the electorate certainly qualifies as change.

That’s how it’s gone with this campaign, and that’s how it will likely continue to go. Starting from the top down, they just aren’t good enough at this. Watching this campaign, I now have the feeling I get watching a football game when the home team, the better team, is leading by about four points with 6:00 to go. It’s close. The visitors could certainly win. But somehow you just feel they don’t have it in them. They make too many mistakes, and the home team makes far fewer.

It’s hard to judge the impact of this comment just yet. That will depend on how hard the Democrats run with it. They sure ought to have fun with it. I would expect we’ll see “Obama voter—and I’m not a victim” and “I pay a higher tax rate than you, Governor!” signs at rallies by tomorrow. Indeed, the average person pays more in mere payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare (15.3 percent) than Romney paid in total taxes for the year he released his returns (13.9 percent).

I suspect an impact that’s fairly big. People on the right will blame the media. But the real culprit is the words themselves. They slander millions of hard-working Americans. And the final point: In a way, it’s not even mostly Romney’s fault. It’s the fault of the party and movement that introduced and spread this toxic propaganda in the first place. When Romney is licking his wounds on Nov. 7, that party and movement will fire all its arrows at him. He’ll deserve a lot of them. But they will have buried him with the ignorance and rage they demanded he adopt. His chief crime will have been his weakness in failing to confront them.

by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM
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Replies (1-10):
_Kissy_
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM
Romney is a slimy pos
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Celtic_Dragon
by Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM
1 mom liked this

OMG, he just can't pull his foot out of his mouth, can he? When you are president, you have to be a smart talker. You aren't just talking to a horde of American Fox Junkies. You're talking to countries that we need walk a fine line with. When you talk like a total ass about your own people, what is this man going to say and do as a president when he has to communicate and work with our global neighbors?

itsmesteph11
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM
9 moms liked this

 Oh for petes sake. LOL  No he didn't.    Everything he said if taken how he meant it to be taken (which of course it won't be by the media) is spot on.  He is only guilty of telling the truth. It's really not worth arging about.  He doesn't hink 47% of Americans are on welfare  and he doesn't think all 47% of them are slackers. 

The only ones lying are the left who will spin this for those who are slackers.  I think the people he is trying to reach, the independants who voted on a wing and a prayer will not be affected. They are more interested in the economy and the future of America than the left wing distraction tactics.

itsmesteph11
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM
6 moms liked this

 

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

OMG, he just can't pull his foot out of his mouth, can he? When you are president, you have to be a smart talker. You aren't just talking to a horde of American Fox Junkies. You're talking to countries that we need walk a fine line with. When you talk like a total ass about your own people, what is this man going to say and do as a president when he has to communicate and work with our global neighbors?

 Right!  You have to lie and detract like Obama and his media minions. They can turn "good morning" into a bad thing.

I find it hilareous that you would insinuate Obama can do any of this. His "communicating" is why the Middle East is in flames and the people are screaming about hating him and America.  

LIMom1105
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM
1 mom liked this

No?  He does not say that all Obama voters are sitting around, waiting for hand-outs?  Here are his words:

 “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.”

That is how I read it.  And I agree with the author of this article, I take offense to this because this isn't me, nor is this what most Obama voters I know expect.  Also, he says that aspiring to have food, housing, and health care are entitlements???  How so?  If you expect the govt. to buy your house, I guess that's an entitlement.  The govt. doesn't buy my house, nor my food, nor my health care, and I pay income tax. At a pretty high rate I have to say, higher than Mitt (with the return he did reveal). 

He's clueless.  This was a stupid thing to say--I do think it's sleezy that he was taped without being aware of it, but seriously, if you are campaigning, you should know everything is fodder for publication. 

jaxTheMomm
by Gold Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM
2 moms liked this

I don't know what he thinks.  I only know what he told his audience.

Quote:

“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.”


Look, there's no positive way to spin this.  He said it. 47% are dependent upon government, believe they are victims, can't take responsibility...  It's right there, it's out now.  No matter what else gets released, this is out.

Quoting itsmesteph11:

 Oh for petes sake. LOL  No he didn't.    Everything he said if taken how he meant it to be taken (which of course it won't be by the media) is spot on.  He is only guilty of telling the truth. It's really not worth arging about.  He doesn't hink 47% of Americans are on welfare  and he doesn't think all 47% of them are slackers. 

The only ones lying are the left who will spin this for those who are slackers.  I think the people he is trying to reach, the independants who voted on a wing and a prayer will not be affected. They are more interested in the economy and the future of America than the left wing distraction tactics.


Celtic_Dragon
by Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM
1 mom liked this


Please, there has been hate for this country from the Middle East WELL before Obama took office. That part of the world is always in turmoil and if they hate this country it is because of big oil, which happens to be their only viable natural resource and is being stolen from them. If that was happening to our country, we would also have a lot of contempt for the countries that are profiting off from the resources they are raping us out of. That's why it's important we have a smooth talker in office. And when you compare Obama and Romney, Romney is too arrogant and clumsy in public speaking.

Quoting itsmesteph11:

 

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

OMG, he just can't pull his foot out of his mouth, can he? When you are president, you have to be a smart talker. You aren't just talking to a horde of American Fox Junkies. You're talking to countries that we need walk a fine line with. When you talk like a total ass about your own people, what is this man going to say and do as a president when he has to communicate and work with our global neighbors?

 Right!  You have to lie and detract like Obama and his media minions. They can turn "good morning" into a bad thing.

I find it hilareous that you would insinuate Obama can do any of this. His "communicating" is why the Middle East is in flames and the people are screaming about hating him and America.  


Carpy
by Platinum Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM
4 moms liked this
The left just hate when people tell it like it is.
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jaxTheMomm
by Gold Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM
5 moms liked this

Man this is really burning you, Carpy.  Your guy is going down in flames; his campaign is imploding.

*shrugs*

Quoting Carpy:

The left just hate when people tell it like it is.


notonepercenter
by Bronze Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting Carpy:

The left just hate when people tell it like it is.

No we love it!  Please, tell us more!  Every time Romney opens his mouth in public or private he just gets diarrhea of the mouth and can't help himself.  It's hard to seperate yourself from your true feelings, especially when speaking to others with the same point of view.  And, alot of cash.  He usually has to speak out both sides of his mouth.  But, he obviously felt comfortable in this environment to "say it like it is" - in his opinion.  Try to spin this how you wish.  Keep defending his ignorant comments.  It only proves your refusal to admit his total dismissal of the needs of his fellow Americans.  He says it plain and clear.  If there were potential voters he was hoping to sway, he surely failed at that - epically!  Imagine him trying to empathize with a different culture, which he will need to be able to do if he gets elected; when he can't even relate to his own countrymen.  "those people" 

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