The Romney campaign is now contending with the release of a video showing Romney at a May fundraiser writing off 47 percent of the electorate who are “with Obama” as government dependents paying no (income) taxes. The substance of the remarks is defensible, though it comes in a verbal wrapping that is problematic. Romney’s remarks require some interpretation, which he provided in a hastily arranged news conference last night.
The video, incidentally, was reportedly dredged up by Jimmy Carter’s unemployed grandson. As Yeats wrote, the intellect of man is forced to choose perfection of the life, or of the work. It’s a “choice” that has been foreclosed for too many of us in the Age of Obama.
I’m more a bit concerned about the visible meltdown of Obama’s foreign policy, the murder of four Americans in Libya and the administration’s bald-faced lying about same. In any event, Ann Althouse draws a favorable contrast between Romney’s remarks and Obama’s regarding the bitter clingers in 2008.
The difference, of course, is that Obama could count on the MSM to continue the worship of their lord and savior. If only we had a free press, this wouldn’t be a problem for Romney. But we don’t and it is, especially 50-something days out from the election. John O’Sullivan recommends:
What Romney should do is call a press conference, play the tape, and then announce that he stands by what he said. In the course of affirming his broad argument, he can correct the minor inaccuracies easily enough. (“My audience understood that, as I said, I was referring to income tax, but of course working Americans pay payroll taxes and all Americans pay indirect taxes on the goods they buy.”) Having established that he is not backing off, Romney can make the following points in short order:
1. Americans pay so many taxes that it’s hard to list them all. But here’s a partial list. [Unrolling a chart at this point might help.]
2. We pay so many taxes that we sometimes forget how many and how much, as I briefly did. It will be my job in the next seven weeks to remind Americans just how many and how much. [Unroll another chart at this point.] So this has been a good wake-up call for me.
3. Many people receiving benefits are getting back from the government some or all of what they paid in through hidden taxes. But government takes a heavy service charge from us when it circulates our money back and forth to us. [Picture of one of those GSA parties at this point.]
4. Those voters who pull the Democratic lever because of what the government gives them are not just being bribed, they’re being bribed with their own money. Don’t be a sucker — especially not a two-time sucker.
5. Most people receiving tax-funded benefits are the victims of excess government (point 4) or of the Obama economy and large-scale long-term unemployment. What they want is not a life on the dole but a chance to get a decent job to support their families. Excess government threatens that chance — and Obama believes in excess government.
6. The Republican party and I stand for an economy that will generate more jobs, more opportunities, and more prosperity.
7. Are there some Americans who have become so discouraged in the Obama economy that they have given up and resigned themselves to a life of dependency on government? Yes, there are some — not 47 percent, but some. Will they vote for me? Some will because they prefer opportunity to dependency, but maybe not too many. But I make them a promise now all the same: As president, I will work hard to craft a welfare policy that brings them back into the mainstream of society and enables them to live the best lives of which they are capable.
8. So make up your mind: Do you want an America on welfare or an America at work? Because that’s the choice.
John Nolte has more in this spirit here, as does Michael Walsh here. An aggressive response would be a good start and it might even wake up a campaign that shows every indication of being asleep at the switch.