Romney’s Gaffe And Obama’s Reality

September 20, 2012

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?

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Out. Of. Touch.

July 16, 2010

I’m beginning…just beginning, mind you…to have some doubts about the sanity of our Commander-in-Chief. Sure, I’ve disagreed with almost every piece of domestic policy he’s shoved down our throats in the past year and a half, but I’ve never had any reason to doubt that his mind was as fit as his body.

But then he’s quoted in an NBC interview as claiming this his policies “got us out of this mess.” Obama would like you to believe that the drastic drop in employment in late 2008/early 2009 would have continued at the same pace in perpetuity had he not stepped in and stemmed the tide with his enormous ego fiscal policies. It’s nonsense. The massive employment drops of a year and a half ago, to the tune of roughly 700,000 a month, were never going to continue at that pace. The rate of job loss would slow as employers scaled back to the bare minimum needed to stay in business. In any time of increasing unemployment there is always a peak (or valley, if you prefer) to which the numbers both build up and recede.

Getting us “out of this mess” would not entail tepid job growth where the largest hiring firm in the nation is the Federal government. Getting us out of this mess would mean seeing job growth in the hundreds of thousands per month, not the tens. Getting us out of this mess would involve the unemployment percentage steadily dropping instead of hovering around the 9.5% mark. Let’s consider Obama’s pride and joy, the Stimulus Plan. Only about 50% of the $787 billion has been spent. If you take Obama’s ludicrous assertion that “three million” jobs have been created or saved, that amounts to spending about $131,000 per job. Now that’s government efficiency for ya. Obama promised that passing the stimulus bill would keep the unemployment rate below 8%, but now takes it as a point of pride that the unemployment rate hasn’t gone up to 15%. Why not just tell the people that without the stimulus the unemployment rate would be 20%? Or 25%? Anyone want to believe 50%? Memo to Barry: Saying “it would have been worse” is 1) unprovable, and 2) not saying much of anything at all when things are this bad. He’s starting to remind me of Igor in Young Frankenstein who cheerfully said, “Could be worse, could be raining” just before the deluge started.

George H.W. Bush was accused in 1991 of being out of touch with the common man because he downplayed a mild recession. There was some truth to that, though I think the bigger truth is that H.W. had not been in touch with the common man since he left the military after World War II. But the same media that hammered Bush as an aloof country club Republican passes over Obama as if he’d decorated the White House doorway with the blood of a thousand Republican lambs.

Does Obama really not see the world of hurt this country is in? He and his lackeys keep talking about how this is the “Summer of Recovery” when it’s really just a summer of economic pain. Yes, it’s not as bad as it was during the worst of it 18 months ago, but that’s not the same as good news. There are real people out there hurting, and people so depressed and dispirited that they have given up even looking for work. There are employers who would like to hire but won’t because of the million and one regulations that Obama/Pelosi/Reid have put into place with health care and now with financial reform. Obama has personally put thousands of people out of work with his ridiculous drilling moratorium in the Gulf. The fear of inflation, maybe hyper-inflation, is real. The stock market is bringing new meaning to the word “tumultuous.” The oil spill that Obama was so slow to react to has already crippled the economy of the Gulf areas and threatens to impact the economy of the entire nation. Yet despite all this Barack Obama is on a campaign tour telling everyone that he’s responsible for getting us out of this mess. A man with a sense of decency…a sane man…would wait until we were actually out of it before taking credit.

“Summer of Recovery” indeed.


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