Wow. Just wow.
By now, half of America has seen and heard the surreptitious recording of Romney telling a group of well-heeled donors that 47% of Americans would vote for Obama no matter what because they were non-taxpaying moochers who depend on government for handouts.
A few thoughts–none, I’m sure, original.
First of all, in an age of pervasive digital technology, why on earth would anyone be stupid enough to say something like that? No matter how congenial the group, no matter how hand-picked, in today’s world the odds of your “confidential” statements staying confidential are exceptionally low. The days when political candidates could say one thing to one group and something very different to another are long, long gone–and failure to realize that is probably as great a sign of being “disconnected from reality” as the actual sentiments being expressed. Ask George Allen (he of the “macaca moment.”)
Second, how immensely ironic that a man who pays far, far less than his fair share of taxes would characterize people who don’t pay taxes as moochers. Forget how inaccurate and unfair his statement was–forget the fact that even people who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes nevertheless pay all manner of other taxes, from payroll taxes to sales taxes to gas and property taxes. Forget the fact that most of us in middle America not only pay income taxes, but do so at a far higher effective rate than Romney. Here is a man running on a platform that would decrease his own tax liability and the tax rate of people like himself; a man who has used offshore accounts and other tax avoidance strategies, and who has defended that behavior by saying he’d be stupid to pay more than he owed, denigrating Americans who don’t pay because they don’t owe. (And where are your tax returns, Mitt? How do we know you paid anything in those years you refuse to release?)
Finally, this dismissive and self-satisfied man seems utterly oblivious to the extent to which he and his wealthy donors are themselves “moochers.” Recent articles have detailed the extent to which Romney and Bain used debt and public subsidies of one sort or another. It is particularly distasteful to watch crony capitalists who have benefitted from multiple public and private privileges crow about how they are “self-made” men. Can we spell “un-self-aware”?
Before the GOP convention, we were told the American public needed to be introduced to the “real Romney.”
I think we just were.