Of all the rash comments that Mitt Romney made the other night the one that most struck me has been almost ignored.
"Had [my father] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this."
"But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico," Romney joked. "He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."
There is really no benign interpretation of that. By magically becoming Latino Romney is saying he would get elected.
Of course the 47 per cent he had already decided would never vote for him. And who are they?
“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. Now 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.”
In other words a lazy slovenly bunch (half of whom happen to be retirees) who would vote for a Mexican/Latino candidate who is probably lazy himself and ready for frequent siestas. (Change the century and he could easily be saying Irish).
The stereotype is obvious what is most surprising to me is that Romney really means it.
He is clearly very comfortable speaking at the fundraiser, much more so than he is in front of large crowds.
We are watching the real Mitt Romney and it is a crashing disappointment.
I actually had felt that Romney behind it all was a pretty decent guy, dragged to the right by the primary process and forced to assume a persona that did not reflect his private self.
After this speech I am no longer sure of that at all.
It is incredibly mean-spirited. He criticizes people for feeling entitled to food—under what circumstances would he deny them food? Do we want people dying of starvation in this country.”
Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan had it right when she wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
“This is not how big leaders talk, it’s how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They’re usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don’t know anything.”
“They don’t know much about America.”
“We are a big, complicated nation. And we are human beings. We are people. We have souls. We are complex. We are not data points. Many things go into our decisions and our political affiliations.”
Noonan has hit the nail on the head. I think much of Romney’s message about unleashing private enterprise and the unique entrepreneurial spirit in America is right.
But he has got it all caught up in a maelstrom of bad right wing ideas about survival of the fittest and Tea Party orthodoxy and some magical thinking about what constitutes the electorate..
In the end it seems certain the short term loser will be Romney.
But the GOP may be the long-term beneficiary.
It is not enough to run with a mean-spirited, nasty anti poor people campaign. There is a social compact in this country that means we take care of the weakest too which has made it a beacon to the world.
Remember give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses?
Republicans need to get back to that. A pragmatic business outlook, allied with a compassionate conservatism is what might work. Not this “ourselves alone" tactic that Romney has adopted.