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Romney's Candidacy-Ending Answer

By The Reverend Published: September 20, 2012

One more go around on what Mitt Romney told rich donors at a fundraiser held this past May.

...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.

"[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Only one blogger/writer came close to spelling out exactly what's wrong with what Romney said to those rich donors. Here's Josh Marshall of TPM....

What made Romney’s comments damaging was that they weren’t really aimed at critiquing government at all, something conservative politicians have long done and with great effect. His comments were directed at people. Half the population whom Romney characterized as shiftless and entitled freeloaders.

Rather than focus exclusively on policy and policy differences in his answer, Romney crossed over into Foxian-Winger territory by impugning the motives of the working poor, the elderly, veterans and the down-and-outers. That is a huge error when you are running in a national presidential contest.

Mitt spoke as if he understood the thought processes and motivations of non-income-tax-paying citizens. I don't know whether it's his Mormon morality or his self-righteousness which led him to think that he, a Richie Rich multi-millionaire, could read the minds of those in America who do not pay income taxes because they don't make enough income......and conclude that all those 47% of voters who don't pay income tax think they are "victims", think they are "entitled", and can never be "convinced to take personal responsibility or care for their lives."

That was not a policy disagreement answer. After this story blew up in Mitt's face, the usual suspects have been trying to have a do-over and are now claiming that the policy dispute is over government dependency, that Obama is for more government dependency and Romney is for less. But that takes a complete remodel job on what Mitt actually told those rich conservatives.

For the record, here is the question Mitt was asked that prompted his 47% response....

How are we gonna do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you've gotta take care of yourself?

The question, of course, is dripping in contempt for the non-rich. The question was not really over policy, but instead.....people. My point here is that, in his answer, Mitt was agreeing with the premise of the questioner and responded in kind.... "Ill never convince them (47% of voters) that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

That wasn't "inelegant"....whatever the heck that would mean in the given situation. That wasn't a policy-difference response to a self-righteous, unself-aware question. That was a judgment call on the thinking, the motivation, the mindset of half of the nation's population.

Or as Marshall puts it...

This isn’t about the role of government. And it’s certainly not a comment about electoral politics. It’s an attack on people with deformed personal character.

That's exactly right, and that explains why many Republicans are distancing themselves from Romney's fundraiser answer. Policy distinctions and differences, political philosophy distinctions and differences are one thing. Assertions about the deformed personal character of half the population is quite another.

Now let me venture a guess as to why it was that Mitt Romney answered the way he did. Mitt Romney is a stranger in a strange land, so to speak. Romney is not genetically a far-right screeching conservative IV'd up to a Fox-Rush-Winger bag of sustenance. But because of the extremity of today's Republican Party, he has to pretend to be joined at the hip with the Tea Party nihilists. For a full year, Mitt has been trying to win the love of the ahistorical excitables......and yet he still remains unloved by the GOP base, who, truth be told, don't really trust the former RomneyCare, blue-state governor.

So, when Mitt Romney was asked a bigoted question....'how are we going to convince everybody to take care of themselves?"......he gave the answer that clueless, faith based, Foxian-types wanted to hear. That is, confirmation that their bigotry directed towards those non-income tax payers....was justified.

Mitt confirmed their shallow and ugly bigotry.....because he's been placating that same Tea Party-inspired bigotry all year long. He's had to in order to remain competitive.

Yes, Romney is at fault for playing along and giving voice to the ugly and often hateful rhetoric of a political party taken over by the unhinged. But it is the Republican Party, itself, which has incubated and nurtured the extremities in their own camp......which set the stage for Romney's candidacy-ending answer.

 

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