You probably know about that secret video of Mitt Romney talking to some well-heeled donors earlier this year. Mother Jones has uploaded some clips, and promises more.
Now, I'm not at all convinced that this will have much impact -- not even the most inflammatory of the clips, the one in which Romney basically describes every Obama voter, and everyone who depends on government programs, as a parasite, and equates the two. Obviously, this should offend a lot of people -- but remember, many Americans who use government programs don't think they do, and even many of the people who strongly approve of those programs engage in a sort of doublethink -- they accept benefits while declaring that they think self-reliance is much more admirable than using benefits. So I'm not sure it's devastating for Romney, as a lot of people believe:
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...These are people who pay no income tax.This is clearly based on
a meme started by conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who has noted that only 53 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes. Erickson argued that the rest of the country, and in particular the Occupy Wall Street movement, should "suck it up you whiners."But I want to ask Romney (and Erickson and most of Wingnuttia) this: If everyone who's not paying income tax right now is perfectly content to live with little or no income, why does America have an unemployment rate above zero?
Remember, the most widely publicized measure of unemployment -- the one that's at 8.1% now -- consists of people who are not only unemployed but looking for work. The Romney/Erickson formula presumes that everyone who's not making enough money to pay income taxes is a fat, happy, contented slacker. If that's true, why are any of the unemployed in the labor market? Why are they writing resumes and applying for jobs rather than wallowing in indolence? Why isn't the unemployment rate 0.0%?
Governor Romney, your thoughts?
UPDATE: Alex Pareene makes my first point more succinctly:
good luck convincing any white american that they're in "the 47%" romney's talking about— Alex Pareene (@pareene) September 17, 2012