17 September 2012

Mitt Romney: Playing America Like a Harp from Hell

Much has been made today of footage recorded and shared online taken during a private fundraiser event for Mitt Romney, in which he outright disparaged supporters of President Barack Obama as "dependent on government" and who "see themselves as victims," among other sundry remarks. I couldn't help but to be reminded of that scene in Batman Returns, where Batman sabotages one of The Penguin's big speeches by playing for the crowd some of The Penguin's taunts ("I'll take care of the squealing, wretched, pinhead puppets of Gotham!"). The crowd instantly turns on him, even pelting him with actual vegetables.
How'd you play those Red State gov't beneficiaries, Mr. Romney?
In an America that actually made sense, that's precisely what would happen to Romney's tumultuous campaign. The 47% of Americans whom he dismissed out of hand so disparagingly should all be incensed, as should the 6-8% of independent/swing voters he's trying to court and, in an America that actually made sense and had a sense of decency, his vitriol would cost him the support of a great many conservative voters. It's appalling to effectively say, "The hell with 'em" about the downtrodden - particularly if you wish to be their president. It's insulting to perpetuate the canard that everyone who supports President Obama is some kind of lazy, "entitled" leech "looking for a free ride." Not all of those 47% even receive government assistance; they just believe it's the right thing to do as a society, to help those who need it. And of those who do receive assistance, many (if not most) do so begrudgingly and a great deal of resentment, hoping like hell that any day now, someone from Romney's jet set will see fit to actually bother circulating some of his horded cash by opening, you know, a business here in America and actually paying American workers to do the jobs.

Sadly, we don't live in an America that makes sense. We know from statistics that Red States have a greater instance of depending on government benefits such as Social Security, disability, Medicare, etc. and that those same voters rush en masse to the polls each November to oppose the very existence of the programs that sustain them. Romney can afford to insult those voters all he likes: there is literally no way he can possibly lose their support, because they believe in his message. I can only ever refer back to the famous quip of John Steinbeck's:
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
How messed up is it? Those Red State beneficiaries aren't even part of the 47% of voters Romney has declared he won't court. That's right: the 47% figure reflects only avowed supporters of President Obama. It does not actually reflect the percentage of Americans who receive government benefits. Let that bounce around in your head for a minute. Romney didn't even bother to differentiate between the poor who oppose him and the poor who support him. He didn't have to.

That is the real ugliness of all this.

It might help Romney's image some if he took to traveling by duck.

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