Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conservatives Grasping at Straws and in Denial: Romney's "47 Percent of the American People are Lazy Bums" is a Great Political Opportunity in Disguise

Mitt Romney is the gift that keeps on giving (or is that taking?). His most recent misstep involves his being recorded at a fundraiser in May joking about outsourcing American jobs to China, and where he called half of the American people free-loading bums who are dependent on Barack Obama. Apparently, the latter is receiving support from these same surplus urchins and government tit suckers only because Obama is giving them free money.

I am working on something more substantive on Romney's "47 percent pay no taxes" lie--and the ugly politics driving his behavior--as we speak. In the meantime, I wanted to share this piece from the Right-wing website NetRight Daily.

Conservatives are falling all over themselves to spin Romney's gaffe into a positive. They are hoping his spurious claims about the "lazy" "unproductive" Americans, the majority of which live in Red State America and vote Republican, can be a national conversation starter about how President Obama has "destroyed" the American Dream and created a class of "dependent" people.

The Right media is trying to turn a political feces sandwich into caviar. It will not work. However, given the sophisticated propaganda operation that is the Right-wing echo chamber, anything remains possible. To point, we have witnessed stranger things in American life than the Tea Party neo-John Birchers who cry about the "immigrants" and the "minorities" all the while clinging to their social security checks and clamoring for "limited government." American politics is a theater for the absurd: as such, Romney's dream merchants may be able to convince the low information Tea Party people, and Right-leaning Independents, that he is in the race for the little guy. Who knows how it will all play out?

Bill Wilson makes some suggestions that I do hope Romney follows--as they will only make matters worse for his campaign. Wilson's piece is a better than average representation of the waste that is produced by the Right-wing myth making machine. As such, there is a good amount going on both in his unstated assumptions and priors, as well as misreads of empirical reality that demand comment (which I will leave up to all of you).

From "Romney's Opportunity": 
At the May fundraiser, Romney had suggested that Republicans’ “message of low taxes doesn’t connect” with those who pay no income tax, and that his job was “not to worry about those people” politically. Because, he said, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
This is actually a pretty astute political analysis of likely voter trends based on income.

But there’s more to it than that. On a more basic level, Romney is telling the truth about the state of dependency in the U.S., and is calling attention to the perverse incentives politically that are created when government assistance becomes a way of life for millions of Americans.

At the same time, Romney was wrong to imply that those same people do not or would not want to escape that web of dependency, that those who are unemployed or poor are so by choice. Therefore, that those stuck on welfare choose to stay there.
Wilson continues:
Sensing the missed opportunity to connect with those presently struggling in this economy, Romney clarified at his press conference that his “campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again” and that he wants “to help all Americans have a bright and prosperous future”.

He added, “Particularly for those who don’t have work, this whole campaign is focused on getting people jobs again”. This is exactly what he needs to be saying.

After all, which is more helpful to most Americans: a real job and the chance for social mobility, or a meager government check that will not save their homes?

Here, Romney is taking the opportunity to pivot his message to how he plans to help all Americans, even ones who are not planning to vote for him, all the while sticking to the original premise of his message that Barack Obama’s campaign is a direct albeit misguided appeal to government dependents...
This video may, in the end, be a blessing in disguise for Romney. But only if he quickly takes advantage of the opportunity it has created for him to explain why government dependency is destroying America. 
Winning over voters by insulting them is always a great strategy for any Presidential candidate. It is especially so when a good portion of the voters Romney has called lazy, dependent, bums are senior citizens, veterans, people in the military, and others who are part of the Tea Party GOP coalition.

Please Mr. Romney, I am begging you, do follow through on Bill Wilson's advice and make his wise words your talking points of the day, week, and month. The American people need to be reminded of what Mitt Romney actually thinks about them as often as possible in order to make an informed decision on election day in November.


Weird Beard said...

The thing is, honestly, Romney can just double down attacking "those freeloaders". I have seen multiple videos of Tea Partiers frothing at the mouth about all the (black) people wanting a free ride, government handouts, and welfare...yet when you ask them about how much they pay in taxes, they themselves are on government assistance. But they "earned" it, and they "deserve" it, and those (black) freeloaders are going to take it all for themselves.

case in point
It has been forecasted that Mitt Romney will get 95% of the electoral votes from "moocher states" that take more from the fed than give, and Barack Obama will get 5% of those votes.
These people are completely deluded, angry, and in absolute denial. Romney is in perfect unison with the far right conservative voice on this issue. Though these people are obviously voting against themselves, the wool is completely over their eyes and Romney may well win more of their votes with this type of retoric which is a dog whistle to bring them drooling to the voting booth.

chaunceydevega said...

@free. i love it, those tea party brigands have been handed the silverware and are carving themselves up. unfortunately, we are all gonna be in the stew pot with them.

i am on welfare but it is "the blacks" taking my money! priceless.

Shady_Grady said...

This came out before the Romney video but I thought it was very interesting and is quite relevant.


Abstentus said...

I quote myself from earlier tonight: "Romney and people like him are just plain despicable."

Anonymous said...

It's over for Romney. This is what happens when you don't adjust to the times. The reason things are like that is because the GOP has been able to sell bullshit positions through talking points. There is no way to spin this. It does give the Obama campaign and it helps during the debates. This Wilson guy's an idiot. I would hate for him to be my attorney.


CBid13 said...

I see Romney's comment as something that should be construed as a thinly veiled and ominously vague threat towards anyone who doesn't support the GOP/Tea Party agenda. It was a promise of sorts, and one that I believe a Romney presidency would have no qualms about keeping... I'm surprised, though, that his comment to the effect of:" I'd have a much better shot at winning this thing if I'd been born a Mexican" hasn't gained very much attention at all. For anyone who was still performing incredible feats of acrobatics in order to remain on the fence and give him the benefit of the doubt concerning whether or not he was a typical, garden variety, country club style racist -there should now only be certainty of the fact, especially when the "Mexican" remarks are coupled with his other 'joke' about nobody ever asking to see his birth certificate. His 'Mexican' statement is a classic example of claiming White Victimhood and a perfect illustration of White Privelege in action. And while so many of us are repulsed by this type of behavior, the reality is that there is a significant portion of the electorate that "understands" what he means. Thus, it's not unlikely that he actually gained support and will continue to for the sum of his racist remarks. Doubling down on them may, indeed, benefit his campaign. Williams, too, could prove to be right among a certain demographic. However, I hope that these things have motivated and solidified the opposition.

chaunceydevega said...

@Shady. Thanks.

@Abstentus. But they have money and are better than you or I...so they think. Plus, god loves them more!!!

@Vic. I am struggling with this one: I think the comment may not hurt Romney and may actually get his base worked up positively...because of course he wasn't talking about them and it is always good to put the lazy welfare blacks and mexican immigrants in their place.

@Cbid. "His 'Mexican' statement is a classic example of claiming White Victimhood and a perfect illustration of White Privelege in action. And while so many of us are repulsed by this type of behavior, the reality is that there is a significant portion of the electorate that "understands" what he means."

Stated perfectly.

ayumi yu said...

thanks for sharing.


Cindy said...

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