Sure it was a dumb move for Romney to denounce half of America. But he was just channeling today’s GOP.
For the record, just so you have it handy, here is the key passage, recorded as Romney spoke to well-heeled supporters earlier this year, after he’d secured the nomination: “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.”
People on the right will blame the media. But the real culprit is the words themselves. They slander millions of hard-working Americans.
It’s hard to judge the impact of this comment just yet. That will depend on how hard the Democrats run with it. They sure ought to have fun with it. I would expect we’ll see “Obama voter—and I’m not a victim” and “I pay a higher tax rate than you, Governor!” signs at rallies by tomorrow. Indeed, the average person pays more in mere payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare (15.3 percent) than Romney paid in total taxes for the year he released his returns (13.9 percent).
I suspect an impact that’s fairly big. People on the right will blame the media. But the real culprit is the words themselves. They slander millions of hard-working Americans. And the final point: In a way, it’s not even mostly Romney’s fault. It’s the fault of the party and movement that introduced and spread this toxic propaganda in the first place. When Romney is licking his wounds on Nov. 7, that party and movement will fire all its arrows at him. He’ll deserve a lot of them. But they will have buried him with the ignorance and rage they demanded he adopt. His chief crime will have been his weakness in failing to confront them.