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The end of a calendar year always brings with it a host of Best of...Worst of....Biggest story.....media pieces. Recaps, if you will, of the previous 12 months in news significantly affecting the nation. The Reverend doesn't have a list this year, but I do want to review what I think has been the most disturbing story of 2012.
Earlier in the year, the GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was unknowingly taped at a big-donor fundraiser. While answering questions, Mr. Romney responded at one point that....
"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. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
After losing the election to President Obama by 5 million votes, Mitt Romney explained....again in front of wealthy donors....why he lost to Santa Claus....I mean, Barack Obama....
"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.
"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said, according to The New York Times.
"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."
"You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you're now going to get free health care, particularly if you don't have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge," he said. "Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group."
A handful of GOP politicos who would like to be re-elected in the future spoke out against Romney's litany of dependency.....but in what are known as the right wing fever swamps, everyone agreed with Mr. Romney. The reason President Obama won re-election was because lazy, shiftless, "takers" came out to vote for him in droves.....and for the sole purpose of getting more free stuff from the, I guess, Black Santa.
Those who voted for Obama were Americans who simply refuse to take personal responsibility for their own lives. This 47% voted for Obama in order to maintain their worthless existences of dependency on government hand outs....gifts. While those who voted for Romney were rock-ribbed, independent, boot-strapping movers and shakers....our unappreciated "makers".....those who make all the wealth for the dependency class to "take" in the form of Obama-gifts.
Over 5 decades of paying attention to political stuff.....I can never remember a presidential candidate so openly, and bitterly, hostile to over half of the American electorate. Sure, conservatives have always been against government helping Americans, primarily because they see the divine hand of the market-god as the only vehicle to help Americans. But, mostly, in the past, conservatives and Republicans were hesitant to publicly call over half of the nation's voters.....leeches and parasites.
No more......and that is why I offer up Mitt Romney's 47% comment as the most disturbing story of 2012. I think Romney's comment.....amplified and embraced by a large portion of the conservative movement....signifies a new and disturbing trend in American politics. One that will only produce more incivility, division and bitterness.
Yes, it is true that both political parties always seek to portray their counterparts in the worst possible light. Making the other candidate look bad, even if truth is stretched, is an American political pastime. But this time I suggest it's different. Romney, et.al., didn't just try to make his political opponent look bad, even though that was surely part of the reasoning behind the 47% and "gifts" comments. This time the target was the voters themselves, not the candidates. I think that changes the political equation.
Republicans...at least many of them....now want to make elections about the voters.
Those who are oh-so-concerned about civility should seriously consider this change. If one side of the political equation proceeds to make every election henceforth about the opposing side's voters.....then civility worries will be the least of our concerns.
There are no good voters or bad voters in America. There are only voters. One American, one vote. It is the way of our democratic republic. Efforts to discredit half of all American voters as unworthy dependents with their hands out is shameful, unnecessary, factually incorrect, and perhaps irreparably divisive.
I doubt that Romney's 47% and "gifts" comments will make many Best of, Worst of, lists for 2012. However, I see those comments as a leading indicator portending even deeper divisions and deeper trouble up ahead.
Hope I'm wrong.
Happy New Year to all......stay safe.....and we'll start all over again tomorrow as we begin to get used to writing 2013.