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

They BOTH suck

September 18th, 2012
11:48 am

Both sides jump all over the gaffes of the other side.

I agree that Romney’s comments will not be swaying many voters one way or the other.

We will be talking about something else by tomorrow

Sick of Progs

September 18th, 2012
11:50 am

I wish campaign ads contained something of substance, rather than a candidate’s gaffes, but these remarks will likely be run over and over by the Obama propoganda machine..er the media. They’ll do anything to prop up the emperor who wore no clothes.

Tom

September 18th, 2012
11:51 am

Mitt Romney is a sterling example of individual responsibility. For example, to make the down payment on his first house, he took the individual responsibility of cashing in some stock his parents gave him. It truly brings a tear to the eye.

Romney’s larger point is undeniable: it’s millionaires and billionaires who are the REAL victims here.

SBinF

September 18th, 2012
11:51 am

Boneheaded statement. To imply that the half of the electorate that support Obama are freeloaders is patently false. First, folks with lower income are far less likely to vote. He’s making it seem as though every voting age American actually votes. I work a job, and pay a higher percentage of my income in income taxes than does Romney. I’ll be supporting Obama. The irony of course is that Romney would pay 0 taxes if he could get away with it. He already has a team of lawyers to ensure he pays as little as possible.

Del

September 18th, 2012
11:52 am

“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.”

Kyle, spot on

JF McNamara

September 18th, 2012
11:52 am

I think you are missing some of the point. As he said, a lot of undecideds will go with the person they like the most. Does this make him seem more or less likable? It’s really that simple.

SBinF

September 18th, 2012
11:53 am

“My job is not to worry about those people”

Is NOT a gaffe. He’s aspiring to the highest office in the land with the largest constituency of any elected office…and he’s already said that he’s not worried about folks that don’t vote for him. Mitt is proof that money can’t buy class.

TGT

September 18th, 2012
11:53 am

Obama basically advocates for infanticide, says that he doesn’t want his young daughters “punished with a baby” if they become untimely pregnant, denigrates “bitter” Americans that “cling to their guns and religion”, etc. etc.–AND HALF OF HIS CONVENTION BOOS GOD!!! (And not to mention our economic and foreign policy woes, because Kyle already has.)

Yet Romney is the one out of touch.

The Anti-wooten

September 18th, 2012
11:53 am

These are in no way gaffes, they are what truly resides in the heart and mind of the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

He does not care about most American’s, only those that reside in certain tax brackets.

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

September 18th, 2012
11:54 am

47 percent — that statistic is correct

Which 47 percent, Kyle?

SBinF

September 18th, 2012
11:54 am

Yeah…Romney’s doing so much offense that he calls a 10 pm press conference to run damage control.

It seems every day his campaign takes incompetence to new heights. This was his election to lose, and he’s doing a good job of it.

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

September 18th, 2012
11:56 am

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,

All members of the 47% of the population that will vote for Obama are dependent upon government? believe they are victims? Believe government is responsible for caring for them?

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
11:58 am

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

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

September 18th, 2012
12:02 pm

The world is blowing up, the mideast is melting down.

All you people look over there and just ignore the fact the guy I want to run this country is a bully, an arsewipe who isn’t interested in the plight of the poor and working class unless it hurts his (and his buddies) bank accounts.

Never mind that we want to elect someone from the group of people that was foremost responsible for the economic collapse of the country 5 years ago to the highest post in the land. They effed it up so bad we want to make them the leaders.

Worry about the mideast and just ignore this stuff, ok?

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

September 18th, 2012
12:03 pm

Kyle, you really think that 47% is made up of Obama voters? I’d like to see some stats but I’m willing to bet the biggest group of moochers are the poor white people glued into Fox News and bound and determined to vote for Romney.

Del

September 18th, 2012
12:03 pm

50% of the population now depends on the federal government for some form of financial assistance. That’s a non-sustainable course and Romney pointing that out is fair game, however, as he admitted his comment lacked elegance. I agree that this won’t be news worthy for very long just as Obama’s off the cuff comment during the 08 campaign about clinging to guns and religion didn’t last long.

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

September 18th, 2012
12:06 pm

some form of financial assistance.

Like farm subsidies and small business loans backed by the federal government? Did you not know that those subsidies provide the cash to meet payrolls so, in effect, even those working and paying taxes are dependent on the federal government.

Mr. Holmes

September 18th, 2012
12:07 pm

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.

Let me fix that lede for you, Kyle: In spite of all the chaos in the Middle East that we would make worse by threatening to carpet-bomb anyone who looks at us or Israel crossways, in spite of the fact that after nearly three years of steady positive growth we still have not climbed out of the economic hole dug by Dubya’s tax cuts and warmongering (see point #1, above), and despite the fact that the Federal Reserve continues to attempt (effectually or not) to contribute to economic recovery regardless of which party holds the White House … we are nevertheless doomed to talk about what a spectacularly bad presidential candidate we on the Right have foisted upon ourselves by either voting out or scaring away every other halfway sane person who wanted the job.

There. Better.

Pizzaman

September 18th, 2012
12:09 pm

Willard’s statement was how he feels about the “poor” and those of us on “government” handout’s. I ‘m one. I’m Military retirement and Social Security. Both funded all or in part by the Government so Willard doesn’t want my vote. I’m not “his” type and he wont even compete for me.

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

September 18th, 2012
12:10 pm

Conservative voter: “Is Michelle Bachmann still available?”

ByteMe

September 18th, 2012
12:13 pm

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

Turns out that stat is only correct for that one particular year being used. In 2007, the number was something like 37-38%. Only the Great Recession forced more people onto unemployment, food stamps, and into retirement. And lately, the number has been much better and is on path to go back to its norm. But they picked the worst year in a while to use as their measuring stick.

The flaw in Romney’s thinking is that he’s not looking to capture those people’s votes until they see the world his way. That’s not a winning message that he and his surrogates have been pushing.

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

September 18th, 2012
12:15 pm

I guess all the mentally retarded people are lazy? Glad we have Republicans to represent the christian way of thinking!

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 18th, 2012
12:15 pm

“He’s aspiring to the highest office in the land with the largest constituency of any elected office…and he’s already said that he’s not worried about folks that don’t vote for him.”

I was waiting for someone of SBinF’s ilk to run with this comment, and use it (as usual) without the follow-on context.

This is the same argument the libs have about him releasing his taxes. There is NOTHING Romney can do or say that will change your minds or your votes, so why should he do or say anything YOU want him to?

Once in office, he’s made it plain that he’ll work for everyone, but he doesn’t have to court everyone’s VOTES. Because if his name was Obama and he had an “R” next to it, 47 % of voters still wouldn’t vote for him.

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

Mr. Holmes

September 18th, 2012
12:16 pm

I mean, c’mon people. Let’s call it like it is: Mitt Romney is probably the worst major-party presidential candidate since … heck, since forever for me, with a personal memory bank that only runs back to maybe the 1984 campaign.

Put aside whether you support him or not: Have you ever seen someone at this stage of the game make so many unforced errors? It’s flabbergasting. And you can lay it all at the feet of the two-headed hydra that is the modern GOP. Whether it happens after this election or not, those two heads are going to eat each other at some point, probably sooner than later.

snoqualmiefalls

September 18th, 2012
12:17 pm

I notice Mittens talks a the game about people being dependent on the gov’t.. however he fails to address our military vets… you know the ones who are taking federal benefits such as education or VA hospitals. So this is the way Mitt respects our vets who risked their lives every day to protect us… thanks Mitt that’s real patriotic of you.

JPP

September 18th, 2012
12:18 pm

Really reaching Kyle, Romney has said before he’s not worried about poor people, so why is this a shock?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 18th, 2012
12:18 pm

“This was his election to lose, and he’s doing a good job of it.”

In what universe? He’s had the fawning sycophants of the mainstream media against him from day one.

Always hard to swim against a current of negative press, especially if you’re not the one generating it.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 18th, 2012
12:21 pm

Wasn’t it Joe Biden who said it was patriotic to pay taxes?

Why aren’t Obama voters patriotic?

Skip

September 18th, 2012
12:21 pm

You all do know that the 47% is a fluid demographic ? Or is that too complicated for the cons?

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

September 18th, 2012
12:21 pm

He’s had the fawning sycophants of the mainstream media against him from day one

Always someone else to blame for the Cons.

Centrist

September 18th, 2012
12:23 pm

This is a liberal media event. Everything he said is true.

Unfortunately, we have come to a point where Democrats are willing to sacrifice our nation’s wealth and well-being to get elected/ re-elected. This was forseen centuries ago:

“A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
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 ..”

- Alexander Tytler, a Scottish lawyer, writer, professor, and historian 1787

willie lynch

September 18th, 2012
12:23 pm

Where is Romney’s winning argument against President Obama without an indictment of Congressional Republicans? It appears that the lack of an Obama economic success has much to do with the successful ability of the right to thwart the “socialist agenda” that President Obama has tried to implement.

The fact that food stamp spending is on pace to double is because the failed economic policies of the prior administration caused the catastrophe that has placed more people on the unemployment rolls. They do have to eat you know.

The clearest example of the lack of concern for ordinary Americans came in the Republican response to the recent QE3 announcement. The Republicans decided to cry “He’s helping the President.” Instead of saying “In these difficult times although we may disagree with the Fed, but this move will help Americans in the short term and we will work with the President to end this problem of economic stagnation.”

Until the Republicans can look up from the talking points memos and see the real world they’re doomed.

And Reince Priebus? Total joke!

Ernesto

September 18th, 2012
12:23 pm

I think this “gaffe” is significant to many voters. I hope to see more of these from both candidates so people get know their real intentions.

If elections were held today, Romney would not become president.

MarkV

September 18th, 2012
12:24 pm

“How many people will hear that and think Romney was talking about them?”

Well, let’s see. I would think that people know whether they pay income taxes or not and, therefore, whether Romney was talking about them. And so here we have about half of 47% of Americans who work for living but do not pay taxes because their income is too low, and Romney tells them that he will “never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” I would guess that that is a fair number of people who may feel insulted.

Del

September 18th, 2012
12:27 pm

I see that the far-left Kool-Aid drinkers have gotten themselves an early start. Of course they hope it gets off the ugly truth about Obama’s state department that failed miserably in providing proper security for our Libyan ambassador and his staff, which led to their death. It also distracts from the failed Obama foreign policy that’s on display in the Middle East along within Central and Southeast Asia.

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
12:27 pm

Between blaming our embassy personnel for sympathizing with their attackers and now this idiotic stunt, old Foot in Mouth Mitt might as well throw in the towel.

If he keeps this up for the next seven weeks, this could well turn into an electoral college slaughter along the lines of the last election…

Mr. Holmes

September 18th, 2012
12:29 pm

It’s been well-reported that General Electric paid no U.S. corporate tax for 2010 and in fact claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion on its corporate return.

Can we all then agree that GE is a freeloading corporate citizen, that it will never accept responsibility for itself, and that it is utterly dependent on government for its very existence? Can I get an amen?

MarkV

September 18th, 2012
12:30 pm

SBinF @ 11:53 am

I think we should not do what the Republicans did when they took the “you did not built that” totally out of concept and distorted the meaning of Obama’s words. When Romney said “My job is not to worry about those people” he clearly meant it as a candidate talking about voters, not as a potential president talking about citizens.

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
12:30 pm

Mr. Holmes,

..that government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations shall not perish from the earth. ~Abraham Lincoln

ByteMe - Got ilk?

September 18th, 2012
12:32 pm

Who knew that Mitt Romney would be playing the role of Sarah Palin this cycle?

Mr. Holmes

September 18th, 2012
12:33 pm

Corporations are people, my friend. –W. Mittens Romney

Del

September 18th, 2012
12:34 pm

Mr. Holmes be careful GE’s CEO Jeffery Immelt is a good friend of president Obama’s. He’s trying to find ways to create jobs here as he ships GE jobs to China.

JamVet

September 18th, 2012
12:34 pm

…not as a potential president talking about citizens.

I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. ~Mitt Romney

Riiiiight!

Mitt is gonna “fix” the safety net for the very poor”!!!! IF it needs fixing!!!

As a Republican???

HUGE LOL!

Goldie

September 18th, 2012
12:35 pm

“Going further, how many people will hear that and be offended by Romney’s remarks? ”

Kyle, how many voters will hear that and decide that the next POTUS should be working for ALL Americans and not just the wealthy ones???

I guess we’ll find out in November! :)

jconservative

September 18th, 2012
12:41 pm

First, Romney is just wrong about that group – the 47% – all being Obama supporters. 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. I discuss the election with dozens of people who are in that group every day and just about all are Romney voters for the reasons I listed.

Second, the economy is worse than at any point in the last 80 years, unemployment is over 8% for 4 straight years, the deficits are $1 trillion a year and the national debt is over $16 trillion. And Romney is losing to this president! A huge percentage says the country is on the wrong track and Romney is losing to this president!

The issue is the Romney campaign, or the lack thereof. Nothing else.

I am terribly afraid that Romney has sunk his own ship.

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

September 18th, 2012
12:42 pm

This maybe the last nail in Cheesy Grits coffin.

willie lynch

September 18th, 2012
12:43 pm

MarkV

September 18th, 2012
12:30 pm

But the Republicans built a whole convention around the “you didn’t build that” theme. I agree with you about using words without full context but unfortunately the Republicans hung their hat so high in this area they’d be hard pressed to cry foul.

Just politics.

getalife

September 18th, 2012
12:47 pm

Psst, the wealthy does not need you to bow down for them cons.

They will be fine so stop the mindless bending over for the wealthy.

Time to focus on the middle class and stop voting against them.

Lets get some more of that Clinton peace and prosperity.

Join us.

Dearie

September 18th, 2012
12:48 pm

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Far less was made over this Biden statement, which is thoroughly offensive, than what Romney said which is a statement of a statistic ~ 47% of Americans DO NOT PAY TAXES. We all know what Biden meant, no matter how HE tried to play it…. and we all know what Romney meant no matter how the PRESS tried to play it.

Kyle Wingfield

September 18th, 2012
12:48 pm

Goldie: He was plainly talking about his job as a candidate. The context of his remarks makes that clear.