So the big news this week is a Romney Gone Wild tape that surfaced out of a high-dollar fundraiser. In the tape, Mitt extols the virtues of battling through poverty to make yourself better, and explains that every American can achieve greatness.
Oh, wait… That didn’t happen at all.
Instead, one of the richest candidates ever to seek the Presidency spent most of his remarks denigrating the poor.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney is shown saying in the video of a May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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.”
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.”
There is so much wrong in this instance that it actually provides a great learning moment for the GOP. For all those who imagine great throngs of unwashed masses clamoring for a free ride, pay attention.
It’s almost impossible to say that the entirety of the 47% who pay no income taxes will all vote for Obama. Statistically speaking, half of that 47% aren’t even registered to vote. Would they support Obama if they were?
Well, one way to attack that question is geographically. The 47% represent people with incomes so low – and tax credits that further reduce the tax burden – that they pay no taxes. So where do these people live?
Based on rankings of poverty by state, the ten poorest places in the union are
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
In other words, not the bluest of blue states. In fact, of those ten states, only New Mexico cast its votes for Obama in 2008. In other words, Mitt, you are castigating a large swath of your base.
The Democrats understand the fact that the poor often vote GOP. That’s why they spend so much time bemoaning the fact that people “vote against their self interest.” They get that people who aren’t rich often vote conservatively.
Looked at another way, nearly 25% of America’s farmers live below the poverty line. These are not the directionless welfare moms Romney describes, they are among the people who work the hardest in America every day.
While the GOP decries the “class warfare” tactics of the left, they are, as evidenced by Romney’s clueless remarks, waging an imagined class warfare of their own. Just as the GOP is still waging cold war against a Russia that no longer exists, they are still campaigning against the welfare queens of the 1980s.
The fact is, Mr. Romney, many of the people you are counting on today for your election are the very people you are demeaning in front of wealthy donors. That is simply not OK.