Romney’s Inelegant Remark

Much political hay is being made about a stray private remark Mitt Romney made about how 47% of American’s voters supposedly will automatically vote for Obama because they want government largess. Try as I might, I cannot get my outrage meter to do more than flicker for a fraction of a second. I mean, sure, it reveals a certain contempt for basically half of America, but that’s how a lot of partisans think. Given Obama’s own occasional inelegant remarks (I seem to recall something about Republican voters bitterly clinging to guns and religion for example), it’s hard for me to get riled up much even though I will be voting for Obama (with my nose held). Yeah, it must be because I want all that free money, and no other reason. Whatever. In the meantime, even though it’s the New York Times, I was amused by this look at previous embarrassing lines uttered by Presidential candidates. And while, typical for the Times, it seems to be concentrating on candidates who lost (they obviously want Romney to lose, being the New York Times and all) they do include some dumb lines uttered by some who nevertheless won.

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  • Try as I might, I cannot get my outrage meter to do more than flicker for a fraction of a second. I mean, sure, it reveals a certain contempt for basically half of America, but that’s how a lot of partisans think.

    There is nothing partisan about it. It is a fact, one that progressives are loath to acknowledge.

    However he didn’t say that they ALL want government largess for themselves. Many are employed, and make a good wage. They just happen to sympathize with those who hold their hand out to the government, and think the government should take from the wealthy and redistribute it to the poor.

    It certainly was a gaff, but a truthful one. When the people lean that they can vote themselves stuff, they will. That time has come.

  • mikeca

    I find Romney’s remarks kind of confusing. The 47% figure is about the percentage of American tax filers that owed no income tax, but many of those people are voting for Romney, particularly the older voters on SS and the low income white working class. Romney will certainly get some of the votes from the 47% that pay no income tax.

    It seems Romney mixed up the concept of not paying income tax with government dependency. My daughter, for example, owed no income tax from her summer job last year, but she is dependent on me, not the government, for her support.

    Now perhaps what Romney was complaining about was that his main campaign promise is a 20% across the board cut in income tax rates. The 47% that pay no income tax anyway don’t care about income tax rate cuts, but a lot of them will be voting for Romney anyway.

    Perhaps Romney is complaining that too many people are dependent on food stamps and unemployment insurance, but I don’t know what this has to do with the 47% figure, and I think Romney will win a lot of votes from people who are on food stamps or have collected unemployment insurance.

    Maybe Romney was saying that there is a Democratic base (47%) that are voting for Obama no matter what and he can’t appeal to them. Suggesting that the Democratic base that is voting for Obama is dependent on the government for heath care, food, housing and pays no income tax is wildly inaccurate and insulting. Saying that his job was not to worry about them raises questions. Did he mean not worry about them during the campaign or as president?

    These remarks strike me as the kind of mixed up commentary you hear from low information libertarian wing nuts. It doesn’t make any sense and seems to confuse basic concepts. It is just a word salad that sounds good if you don’t think about it. Perhaps Romney was simply trying to appeal to low information libertarian wing nuts by talking like them.

  • roylofquist

    What Romney actually said was that, as a matter of campaign strategy, he was not going to attempt to persuade those for whom his message didn’t resonate. The 47% was an off-the-cuff estimate based on the number who did not pay federal income tax. One of his campaign lines is “if you’re looking for a handout vote for the other guy”.

    I believe that it was in response to a question about who he was addressing in his campaign. The audience comprised (big) contributors who were rightly concerned about the direction of his campaign.