Romney’s Gaffe And Obama’s Reality

Well, Mitt Romney sure made a huge gaffe when addressing a fundraiser. Here it is, in all it’s glory:

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% 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.

“And I mean the President starts off with 49, 49…he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. 47% 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 4 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.

“What I have to do is convince the 5% to 10% that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or another depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”

The mainstream media is, naturally, breathing deeply into their brown paper bag in a desperate attempt to calm down so they can roll out another round of editorials and learned punditry about how this spells D-O-O-M for the Republican. Also, the Mideast is burning but that’s not important right now.

The gaffe here—and there is a gaffe—is the conflation of people who unquestionably are part of Obama’s base with the entire 40+% of the population that will vote for the President.

Read the statement again with a bit of editing by me. I have added one phrase, and just removed or substituted very few words:

“There are […] people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are [people] 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.

“And I mean the President starts off with 49, 49…he starts off with a huge number. [There] are people who pay no income tax. 47% 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 4 years. And so my job is not to worry about those people [during the campaign]. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

“What I have to do is convince the 5% to 10% that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or another depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”

Not much of a gaffe, when you remove the equating of “groups that support Obama” with “the entire Democratic base.” Can anybody really deny the truth of that first paragraph?

There are people who will vote for the President no matter what. There are people who depend on government handouts. There are people who think of themselves as victims (hello Sandra Fluke and Occupy Wall Street). There are people who believe government should care for them. There are people who feel that they are entitled to healthcare, etc. And these people will vote for Barack Obama. They are part of his base.

So what’s the gaffe? The gaffe is that these people are only part of his base, not the full 47% (realistically, this number should probably be a little lower).

Romney is also correct that a message of lowering taxes has less impact in a country where 47% of tax filers do not pay income tax. Yes, they pay other taxes (sales, payroll, etc), but the message of a lowered income tax rate doesn’t hold much sway. What Romney does forget, and what he should be messaging, is that this number is only so high because the economy is in such a shambles. If the unemployment rate was five percent, the percentage of people paying taxes would be higher.

Lastly, his comment about “not caring” about these people is clearly about the campaign. It was not about his secret wish to write off almost 50% of the population while he is President. Only the truly cynical and those with an agenda could pretend otherwise. After all, he was answering a question about his campaign, not his governance.

As far as gaffes go, this one sounded bad, but like many such mistakes made by all politicians, it was a product of having too many legitimate, not-very-controversial thoughts (47% not paying income taxes, entitlement society, Democratic base) competing for breathing space and emerging as a jumble. As Joe Biden might put it: Big effing deal.

Meanwhile, the Mideast is burning, Americans are dead in Benghazi at the hands of al-Qaeda sympathizers, the economy is still lousy, and the President of the United States is hobnobbing with Beyoncé and Jay-Z while avoiding the Prime Minister of Israel as he wishes to discuss the shrinking time frame for Iran getting a nuclear weapon, discounting any short-term effects of a 16-trillion dollar debt on The Late Show with David Letterman, and downplaying his own recorded statement that he believes in the Socialist idea of redistribution of wealth (not that we didn’t know this already).

But none of that fits the media narrative of Romney’s moribund campaign, does it?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: