Romney and the “47%”
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 21st, 2012
To be honest, I was getting sick of all of the campaign banter. It tends to be overly analytical, redundant, straight-up mean, with a marathon of small mistakes blown up into giant discussion points. It’s also everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Save the children.
First of all, what’s depressing about this presidential campaign is that it does not seem like there will be a winner. The 2012 campaign will be determined by who isn’t the loser. Now why does that matter? Consider watching tennis. A great game of tennis is won by precise shots that are well placed using angles or topspin. This precision usually attests to the skill of he who made the shot, not to the inability of the receiver to get to it. Now imagine a match that is primarily won on double faults or hit-nets: essentially unforced errors. Which ones are more fun to watch? And so it goes with campaigns.
Because the election is everywhere, I watched the video that Mother Jones magazine released of comments Romney made at a fundraiser. For those of you that managed to miss this, more power to you. Here’s what happened: Romney claimed that 47% of Americans “will vote for the president no matter what,” calling them “victims” and “dependents” who “believe that the government has a responsibility to care for them.” Romney stated that his job was “not to worry about these people,” on the basis that he “will never convince them they should take responsibility and care for their lives.” The video culminated with his asserting that “what I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like.”
To a liberal mind, this is Christmas. Where to start? Ahh yes, the “not to worry about these people,” part. Is that a joke? Taking the viewpoint of sheer numbers, for the man who is vying to lead a nation with more than pi hundred million people, not worrying about 47% of those people might be a bit of a fundamental problem. While you’re at it, why not slap struggling Americans in the face by calling them “victims” and “dependents” and claiming that they don’t take responsibility for their lives? Oh wait.
I could go on in a sassy manner and dissect each and every way Romney insulted Americans and how he should get DC’d for “Acts Prej” to the U.S.A. However, you probably get the point, and to just pull the quotes out of context like that without addressing the larger issue would be to sink as low as the advertisements that are currently being run in every swing state.
Whether you take the same liberal breakdown as I lay out above or whether you go read Mr. Romney’s statement on why he said what he said, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. The effect of Romney’s statement for me goes way beyond whether he intended to say what he said. It wasn’t just his foolishness in demeaning these Americans or his sheer bluntness that struck a nerve. Romney pushed a powerful theory to the forefront of electoral politics: a presidential candidate can “write-off” half of the population and still get elected.
That is a fundamental problem with democracy. It becomes even more of a problem when the debate is over whether the poor should get help . If politicians representing their interests lose, it isn’t exactly game over for the lower class– but it comes pretty close. Abraham Lincoln concluded his Gettysburg address saying that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Sounds like a perfect thing, right? A government of the people, by the people and for the people. We have that, yet the “for the people” part hasn’t seemed to work out too well. Blast conflicting opinions!
So what is the solution? I think I’ll go with the classic Milton Academy Wednesday assembly speaker method for ending something: so that’s the problem, it will be your problem soon, you are the future of the world, you’re getting a top-tier education… you develop a solution for it.
Wow. What a massive cop-out! Come talk to me in Senior Spring when I’ve had time to think out the next ideal form of government. Until then… godspeed!
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