Romney and the “47%”
Posted on Oct 09, 2012 in Opinion
The recent “47 percent” video clip plaguing and nagging Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is merely an appetizer for his plutocratic socioeconomic view: give lots to the best and less to the rest. Readers are surely familiar with the newly-discovered video of Romney speaking at a $50,000/plate fund-raiser in Florida last May. Greed was the only thing slimier than humidity on that summer day in Boca Raton.
During his hateful rant, failed Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney asserted that 47 percent of all Barack Obama supporters are “dependent upon government,” and feel “entitled to food and housing.” This dog whistle could be heard for miles.
The Romney camp and its surrogates have been working hard to spread the politics of division and old resentment. Of many examples, recent attacks by surrogates such as disgraced former New Hampshire governor John Sununu about the President’s need to “learn how to be an American,” are a sad attempt to categorize Obama as “other”. Ousted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich eloquently commented, again on Fox News, that maybe President Obama needed to play more basketball and watch more ESPN. Now Romney himself has stooped even further and insulted the President’s constituents, presumably some of the very same voters needed by Romney himself. Although food and housing are tangible things, the visceral sentiment created lives among the intangible. “Dependent,” “entitled,” and “housing” are old code-words from an old playbook embodied in Nixon’s Southern Strategy and still empowered by the far-Right.
The first presidential debate was a disaster for several obvious reasons. Most importantly, both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama alienated their respective bases. Mitt Romney pretended that he was a political moderate, and Barack Obama pretended that he was not debating in a presidential election.
In a shocking regression of reality and common sense, Romney claimed that his $5 trillion tax cut would not add to the budget deficit. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, this is ridiculous. He then digressed, in more ways than one, to a statement claiming that he would not lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans. We must remember that this would mean going back on a campaign promise he depended on for the entirety of the six or seven years of which he has been running for president. Reducing taxes for the rich worked so well during the Bush administration, who could blame him? Cutting taxes for the top income bracket is exactly what Mitt Romney prescribed in his aforementioned cameo. The shackles of circumstance, as Dr. King artfully described, mean nothing to a man who denigrated the deprived during a $50,000 per plate fundraiser.
In claiming that President Obama’s healthcare bill created a panel to decide who gets lifesaving treatment, Mr. Romney stooped to a new low, even for a 2012 Republican presidential contender. Such humiliating Sarah Palin-isms will receive plenty of attention on Fox News, although they were debunked by every fact-checking organization imaginable. This rings similar to Romney’s allegation that because of “Obama’s economy,” 23 million people are looking for work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the real number is 12.5 million, and the unemployment rate dipped further down this week to 7.8 percent.
Throughout Mitt Romney’s political career, the virtues of honesty have always taken a backseat to the prospect of reward. For a man who was recently caught in a video complaining that he could not teach poor Americans responsibility, his debate performance was a stunning impersonation of someone with compassion. We are so lucky that a candidate of this temperament will never be faced with the task of providing guidance to anyone.