Right about now, it may be sinking in among some members of the Republican coalition: Your candidate, Mitt Romney, just might think you’re a loser.
Romney’s now infamous candid-camera moment at a May fundraiser held in the home of a Boca Raton hedge-fund manager and leaked to Mother Jones magazine, gave potential supporters a window into the King of Bain’s reptilian brain.
Asked by a beleaguered millionaire what he could do about the parasites who insist on having government take care of them, Romney said:
“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 healthcare, 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.”
Mitt went on to explain that his “job is not to worry about those people,” since the moochers will never be convinced to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Too busy gold plating their wheelchairs with those Willie Wonka foil food stamps.
With that, the man who would be the first U.S. president to stash his riches in overseas bank accounts; who partied on a yacht flying the Cayman Islands flag while his Tampa convention quaked at the approach of a hurricane; and who only seems to light up when talking about business, put half the country on notice:
He can’t be bothered with you.
Trouble is, Mitt — who thinks the “middle class” starts at around $250,000 — forgot who “you” are.
There has always been a risk that, after more than 30 years of messaging to working-class voters, particularly in the south (home to eight of the 10 states with the largest share of adults who pay no federal income taxes and who get more in services from the federal government than they pay in — the only non-Dixie states on the list are New Mexico and Idaho) that some “pol” would give away the game.
For more than a generation, the party of CEOs has convinced average workers that their interests and the boss’ are one and the same. That they’re better off with low wage, nonunion jobs; and in fact, they should be grateful they’re not getting outsourced. That the taxes they do pay — sales and payroll and state and local taxes — aren’t real taxes. And that even their children’s unionized teachers are the enemy. That the party that values their values, but doesn’t value their work, is their natural home.
Now, Mitt’s gone and admitted that the plutocrats are as disdainful of the working class as the former governor was of those cookies offered to him by a table full of common folk in Pittsburgh during the primaries, which Romney winced in his uniquely awkward style, must have come from a “local 7-Eleven bakery.”
Far more relaxed with his well-heeled pals in that Boca manse, Mitt felt free to say what he really thinks: that he and the other “supermen” of Ayn Rand’s fables are sick of carrying the moochers who think that when they get old, or if they don’t have health insurance, or their minimum wage jobs aren’t putting food on the table for their kids, “government should take care of them.”
That isn’t a new creed. Conservatives bitterly fought against pensions for Civil War veterans in the 19th century, and Social Security and Medicare in the 20th.
They’ve always seen those programs as moral hazards, which they believe turn perfectly good Americans into socialist weenies.
Mitt admitted he doesn’t have a strategy for getting the parasites off the public dime. So he’ll just ignore them, and hope that like those cookies, they’ll be quietly put aside.
So how is the erstwhile Republican voter to know whether Mitt thinks you’re a freeloading drain on society, as opposed to a “real American?”
Here’s a hint: If you aren’t paying federal taxes because you’re a big corporation or a gazillionaire with a sweet accountant, congratulations! You’re on Mitt’s team.
If you’re not paying federal income taxes because you’re a working stiff taking the Earned Income Tax Credit, or “dependent” on Social Security because you’re old or disabled, or because you’re a serviceman on active combat duty (yes, Mitt, they’re exempt, too) — guess what: you are the 47 percent.