2012 Tuesday: What Romney got right about Obama and dependency, where he went wrong

So it appears that, with the Muslim world burning and reports that some but not all embassies were on alert for possible security threats on the 9/11 anniversary last week, with unemployment still so high and the Obama administration’s policies still so ineffective that the Federal Reserve has resorted to a new round of printing money — with all that, we’re nevertheless doomed to another round of debate about another “gaffe” by Mitt Romney.

That gaffe consists of Romney’s remarks, during a a closed-door fund-raiser four months ago, when he said, in part:

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 …

And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 … he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have 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.

This is, of course, exactly the kind of sentiment you can hear on, say, Neal Boortz’s radio show: the idea that the nation is reaching a tipping point of “makers” vs. “takers,” of people who pay income taxes vs. people who receive benefits funded by those taxes (and debt).

Is it the kind of thing a presidential candidate should say? No. Is it true that all 47 percent — that statistic is correct, by the way — are “moochers”? No.

But here’s another question: What about Barack Obama’s political career, including his presidency, refutes the broader point Romney made?

Is it the cradle-to-grave dependent “Julia,” about whom the Obama campaign constructed a narrative describing her inability to make it in America without government aid?

Is it the fact that food-stamp spending is on pace to more than double between 2008 and 2013?

Is it the fact that Obama’s signature legislative achievement would have the effect of making even more people — what’s that word again? — dependent on government for their health insurance?

So there are two aspects to Romney’s remarks. The first is the underlying substance of what he said, which boils down to the basic conservative critique of Obama specifically and liberalism in general: that they are highly, maybe even chiefly, interested expanding government and Americans’ dependence on it. Is anyone actually surprised by this? Does anyone think this is not a large part of what this election is about?

The second is the way he phrased it, and that did his candidacy no favors. If nothing else, he should have acknowledged that not all of the “47 percent” are dependent on government, that many of the ones who are dependent would prefer not to be, and that it is worthwhile to try to persuade at least some of the holdouts.

But I’m not sure it will be overly damaging to him, either. For starters, I agree with Ben Domenech that many members of the “47 percent” do not think they are members. How many people will hear that and think Romney was talking about them?

Going further, how many people will hear that and be offended by Romney’s remarks? And, adding the two groups together, how many of them were still actually considering voting for Romney anyway?

I would suggest we’re not talking about a very large number of people here. Now, in a close race, even a relatively small number of people can have a significant effect. But, with almost two months still to go in a campaign with much bigger issues front and center, I’m not sure a significant number of voters will make their decision even in part on Romney’s remarks at a fund-raiser back in May.

It is, however, one more reason for Romney to get back to playing offense on the economy and the size and scope of government — and soon.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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485 comments Add your comment

Truth Squad

September 18th, 2012
12:48 pm

The truth is that there are more tapes out there. It is sad when people know the news before the so-called professional journalist and opinion makers get around to it. These tapes have been on YouTube for awhile now.

As predicted over a year ago, it is now September and the race for the presidency is over. Also, there will be no Republican capture of the Senate and the House of Representatives is up for grabs.

As for the rioting in the Middle East, since when is that news? It is not like it is a rare occurrence over there. But since you mentioned it Kyle, why not include a mention to those who gave their lives trying to protect our people? I thank them for at least trying.

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
12:49 pm

Cheesy Grits: How many “last nails” have you declared now?

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
12:52 pm

Truth Squad: “it is now September and the race for the presidency is over.”

The RCP average has Obama leading by 3 points and falling, and consistently below 50 percent. Why are so many people so eager to declare such a competitive race “over”?

getalife

September 18th, 2012
12:52 pm

Lets give our President a new Dem house to finish cleaning up w’s mess.

Lets focus on the middle class instead of the wealthy.

Lets make them govern for all the American people not just the wealthy.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

September 18th, 2012
12:53 pm

A huge percentage of that group are Obama haters, he is black, a Muslim, and a non-citizen, and they are going to vote for Romney, not Obama.

Far more white people on welfare than black very true.

Jaynie

September 18th, 2012
12:54 pm

My daughter and son-in-law both worked, went to college, got laid off and did not pay tax because they had no jobs. Mitt Romney is completley out of touch with the average person that makes up that 47%. I am fortunate enough to work, pay taxes AND be offended by Mr. Romney’s statement. I don’t think either party has taken the high ground in this election, but I do believe Mr. Romney has reached trhe bottom.

MadMax

September 18th, 2012
12:56 pm

Goldie et al – reading comprehension is a valued trait. He said this in context of trying to win their votes, not in context of how he would run the office. Go back to Bookman’s distortion of the day site and you can find all the village ______s howling at the moon.

getalife

September 18th, 2012
12:56 pm

All this talk about taxes reminds me of something.

Lets see romney’s taxes for the last ten years.

No, I will not trust him.

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
12:56 pm

Akin, Hurricane, Clint, Marathon Math, Plane crash, Judas meeting: How much luck can one campaign enjoy?

md

September 18th, 2012
12:59 pm

“Nearly six in 10, or 58 percent, say the rich don’t pay enough in taxes, while 26 percent believe the rich pay their fair share and 8 percent say they pay too much.”

In a progressive tax system, there’s your sign………..

And Romney hit the nail on the head…..the ones that don’t like the comment are more than likely members of that 47%.

Goldie

September 18th, 2012
1:00 pm

“Today, Mitt Romney Lost the Election” ~Bloomberg News

:)

yuzeyurbrane

September 18th, 2012
1:01 pm

Kyle, your argument lacks logic. If, as you admit, most of the 47% to which Romney, referred are not parasites then what programs would you cut? And how does that provide a justification for more supply side tax cuts for the “makers”? It is then not a fact based argument but an ideological argument based on a desire to return to an idyllic Victorian era that never was idyllic for most people. But let Romney make that argument, as I think you suggest, and let’s find out where the American people (i.e. the 100% minus the hundreds of thousands or more being disenfranchised through voter suppression schemes) in this election.

Goldie

September 18th, 2012
1:02 pm

Kyle @ 12:48 — and those voters are supposed to go ahead and vote him in, hoping that he will start working for them after Nov.6th? Really???

Wow! :)

md

September 18th, 2012
1:03 pm

And I agree, Romney is done, Obama will win in a landslide…….so no need to go to the polls and vote, it’s in the bag.

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
1:04 pm

“Was it “inelegant”? Yes. But it was, and will always be, absolutely 100% correct.”

So he’s rather be right than President?

MarkV

September 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

JamVet @12:34 pm
willie lynch @ 12:43 pm

I understand what you are saying, but it still it is better not to give the Republicans any weapon in their hands. Lt’s just enjoy the gift Romney has given the Democrats in the rest of his comments.

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

‘Finn: I was talking about this one: “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.””

Success index!! Half-way to the end game of tax cuts…

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Goldie: Right or wrong, he was saying he doesn’t expect them to vote for him.

Did you actually watch the video or read the transcript, or just jump straight to bashing him?

getalife

September 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

iggy

September 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

The majority of the 47% are too stupid/boneheaded to understand basic supply/demand entitilements so Romney is correct.

Goldie

September 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

“Romney said in the video that his role “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Only an arrogant jerk would believe that the poor believe they will always be poor and that they don’t take personal responsibility for their lives! Shame on you Cons for supporting this terrible candidate for President!

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Btw, Obama’s post-convention bounce is now completely gone, according to Gallup: Today’s tracking poll shows Obama up 47-46, exactly where he was before the DNC began.

getalife

September 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

Do you cons actually believe he would help the middle class?

Do you actually trust him on his taxes?

Why do you cons bow down for the wealthy when you are middle class?

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

“From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
due to loose fiscal policy ..”

So America is not exceptional?

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

Kyle, because there is this quaint little convention called the electoral college.

And it is there that Romney is in very bad shape.

And with these recent serial blunders, it is hard to believe that he is helping himself in the swing states.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 18th, 2012
1:13 pm

from Salon.com:

At the same time Romney trashes half the nation for not paying taxes, he tells his millionaire donors that his plan is to lower their taxes even further! Here’s the critical segment (emphasis mine):

“47% of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.”

Goldie

September 18th, 2012
1:13 pm

“Right or wrong, he was saying he doesn’t expect them to vote for him.”

Yeah, Kyle, you can try to gloss over the fact that he said what I quoted @ 1:09 — and yes, I saw the video last night several times before going to bed. Thanks for asking!

:)

md

September 18th, 2012
1:14 pm

” Lt’s just enjoy the gift Romney has given the Democrats”

And there in lies the whole point of his comments……those democrats weren’t going to vote for him anyhow, so where exactly is the gift?

It’s a pretty clear choice, stay on the road of bigger gov’t that drains the private sector and grows the debt or allow that private sector to take off and generate enough capital to run the system AND pay off the debt. 1.5% growth is not the way to pay for all those programs we all seem to want…….

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

September 18th, 2012
1:15 pm

Only 49 days till Myth Robme goes away… OBAMA …2012

getalife

September 18th, 2012
1:16 pm

I think if you cons don’t care about romney’s 8000 tax increase on the middle class so they get another 250000 tax cut to add to the deficit, just write a check to government for 8000 when you vote gop.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

September 18th, 2012
1:16 pm

Outsource the GOP.

sharon

September 18th, 2012
1:16 pm

Romney got it all wrong about that 47% being Obama supporters. You talk to any toothless, hillbilly or backwoods dweller and they will tell you they are Romney supporters. The majority of the people living in the small “neck of the woods” towns are Romney supporters. The pick up driving tobbacco chewers are Romeny supporters. I highly doubt they are tax payers.

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
1:17 pm

JamVet: Most of those races are close too, at least as far as we can tell based on (largely outdated) polling in those states. And six of the nine swing states (according to RCP’s count) have GOP governors; one of the other three (N.C.) is about to elect one. The ability of those governors to help Romney with their ground games in their states — or inability to do so — will be a big factor.

Long way to go. Still.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

September 18th, 2012
1:17 pm

Walmart Cons will still vote for Robme..

Don Abernethy

September 18th, 2012
1:18 pm

Socialist (Democrats) always attack people who own a business and those who have worked hard to be successful. They want to take their money and give it to those who do not work and pay taxes.

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
1:18 pm

Goldie: I never said you quoted him inaccurately, just incompletely. He’s clearly talking in terms of the election. The people he’s describing might not trust him to govern any differently if elected, but that’s another matter.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

September 18th, 2012
1:18 pm

Myth’s video shows how out of touch he is with reality.

Verbal Kint

September 18th, 2012
1:19 pm

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
12:56 pm
Akin, Hurricane, Clint, Marathon Math, Plane crash, Judas meeting: How much luck can one campaign enjoy?

Meanwhile…JayZ and Beyonce fundraiser and the Letterman show for Hussein!!

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

September 18th, 2012
1:19 pm

Just when you cons thought Herman Cain was the biggest douche.

Buzzy

September 18th, 2012
1:19 pm

Another Romney fail. Now he’s called half the country dreadbeats.

What if Obama’s poll numbers climb to 55%? I guess Romney will say that 55% of the country are deadbeats.

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
1:20 pm

By way of useless personal observation, Mitt reminds me of the old guard Republicans.

In his demeanor and hubris he is pretty similar to those haughty little pr1cks of yore – Nixon, Goldwater and Reagan with a touch of McCarthy throw in to appease the red (get it?) meat element of the GOP.

He now appears to have given this election to Obama, and that is a real shame.

Perhaps the next GOP candidate can shed the 30 year old neocon demons of their past and see if they successfully can run their inter-party gauntlet that allows no moderates, no centrists, no compromise and no accommodation.

Until then the Dems will have the White House for the foreseeable future…

md

September 18th, 2012
1:20 pm

“Only an arrogant jerk would believe that the poor believe they will always be poor and that they don’t take personal responsibility for their lives! ”

That head in the sand mentality is one of the reasons we are in debt up to our ears…..I have many in my own family that have no desire or motivation to make much of themselves, the law of averages says my family isn’t the only one………

When 1/3 of kids are choosing to drop out of school, it’s a bit hard to comprehend that they are doing everything they can to not be poor and take responsibility for themselves………….they drop out of one taxpayer program and then end up in several others and that is supposed to be taking care of oneself??

We choose everything we do……….

Verbal Kint

September 18th, 2012
1:20 pm

getalife

September 18th, 2012
1:16 pm
I think if you cons don’t care about romney’s 8000 tax increase on the middle class so they get another 250000 tax cut to add to the deficit, just write a check to government for 8000 when you vote gop.

Source please?

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
1:21 pm

Keep, the faith Kyle, and bet the mortgage (j/k) on your long shot!

Road Scholar

September 18th, 2012
1:22 pm

I didn’t mean what I said! Let me clarify my comments! Even if he released his tax returns, Romney would blame it on his tax attorney! Shed the teflon coat, Mitt. Answer the questions truthfully and COMPLETELY. Let’s start with one:

What tax deductions will you eliminate in your tax plan?

Crickets!

king of mean

September 18th, 2012
1:22 pm

We are reading too much into the “can’t worry about those people” meaning he can’t worry about their vote because he knows he’s not getting it. He’s talking about those folks votes – not the folks.

meanwhile – we’ve got a dead ambassador some family members are trying to bury while this president goes on Late Night TV and fundraising with Jayzee and Beyonce…

I’ve got an idea – Jimmy Carters grandson is unemployed. let’s make him the next ambassador to Lybia…

Just Saying..

September 18th, 2012
1:23 pm

“Socialist (Democrats) always attack people who own a business and those who have worked hard to be successful. They want to take their money and give it to those who do not work and pay taxes.”

Any questions?

iggy

September 18th, 2012
1:23 pm

“47% of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.”

agreed. The only message that connects is more “freebies” and of course its for “the children”. Just disregard the lazy parents who refuse to flush the toilet behind themselves.

BUMS!

Verbal Kint

September 18th, 2012
1:24 pm

President Obama’s jobs record (unemployment %)is worse than the last 11 presidents…..combined!

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/ObamaMonthsUnemployment.png

Chip

September 18th, 2012
1:24 pm

I WANT MY FREE STUFF! GIMME MY FREE STUFF OR I’LL RIOT AND BURN DOWN MY NEIGHBORHOOD (THEN DEMAND YOU PAY TO REBUILD IT). I AIN’T GONNA WORK! TAX THE RICH AND GIMME GIMME GIMME!

Folks, THAT’S who Romney was talking about… but of course, as usual, the libs are screaming about mean old Republicans tossing Grandma off a cliff… and starving the orphans… and nuking the whales… and cutting down the rainforest… and drowning the polar bears… and so on and so forth… same old mentally ill hysterical nonsense…