The “47%” isn’t the bit that should bother you
I’ve been sequestering myself away from the front page since Friday as I’ve been working on projects, but decided to quickly jump in and weigh in on what is now, I assume, The Big Topic on the Internet: the “secret” recordings of Mitt Romney. Like just about everybody else not on the Mother Jones payroll, the only bits I have seen are those that have been released via David Corn’s article.
Since I haven’t been on the front page in several days, I’m not sure exactly how this story is shaking out at the League – but my assumption is that it is similar to the rest of the intertubes, and that the “47%” comment is winning the bandwidth wars. I must say, however, that of all the things to be concerned about on the video segments shown, the 47% line does not bother me so much. Oh, don’t get me wrong – it should absolutely concern the Romney campaign. After all the mileage “you didn’t build that” got, I fully expect to hear this quote repeated constantly for the next 50 days:
“[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Despite the way the quote looks out of context, however, the obvious intended meaning is far more innocuous: Romney is clearly talking election strategy and identifying the people he most needs to reach out to in order to win. He isn’t saying the 47% don’t matter as people, he’s saying he can’t focus the campaign on them because they’ll never vote for him anyway. I also assume that the whole “47%” thing is a bit of fiction played for the room. My guess is that once facts are checked this 47% will turn out to be largely Republican as well as Democrat; and if that turns out to be the case, it will of course be an even more boneheaded thing to say in front of a microphone – even a hidden one. But as boneheaded ass-pulls in front of donors go, this one is pretty small potatoes. In a lot of ways, this actually makes it the perfect chickens-home-to-roost response to the cynically overblown “you didn’t build that” brouhaha.
So regardless of whatever political damage does or doesn’t befall Mitt, the whole 47% thing doesn’t really bother me as a voter so much.
I think the part about his plan to rebound the economy, however, is a huge red flag:
“Romney, who spoke confidently throughout the event and seemed quite at ease with the well-heeled group, insisted that his election in and of itself would lead to economic growth and that the markets would react favorably if his chances seemed good in the fall:
‘They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can—I can never predict what the markets will do.’”
Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that of all the things that haven’t grown in Obama’s economy, the market ain’t one of them. Instead, let’s focus on Romney’s actual plan: He’ll win the election, and everything will just magically be fixed by the mere fact that he won. Mitt wins, the economy flourishes just because he’s Mitt; Obama wins, 1,000 years of darkness just because Obama’s Obama.
I really hope when the entire video is released, we’ll hear more of an economic plan than what Romney gives here. If there aren’t policy details given beyond this, I’ll have to do a major reassessment of the man. Since last May, I have steadily maintained that Mitt Romney could not win the election; but despite this inevitablity I have also said that I felt he has the makings to be a good president. But if this is really all he has – if this is the secret plan he’s been keeping from us all since he began this campaign – then I was very, very wrong. If this is the plan, than Mitt Romney has no business being anywhere near the White House, and he should never, ever be allowed to be Commander-In-Chief.
I am very much hoping there is more to this video than what I see now.