September 20, 2012

Romney and the ‘47 Percent’

A famed political writer said many years ago that the majority of national, elite columnists/analysts/ad nauseum live in media-centered cities, travel in the same social orbit and reinforce each other’s opinions, which is why they tend to write as a pack.

Which is why I, living at least 50 miles from any known member of the above class, feel more than qualified to comment on Mitt Romney’s secretly taped comments he made at a May fundraiser.

I’ll first admit, what the mainstream “experts” won’t, that I’m not entirely certain what he said, even after watching the alleged video on YouTube and seeing transcripts. And from comments made about the video and audio, it appears other people aren’t certain, either.

Some, like pseudo conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, didn’t even mention income taxes in a tirade against Romney and, in general, the Republican Party.

However, Romney appears to have said that 47 percent of the people don’t pay income taxes, think of themselves as victims and won’t vote for him.

First, most “experts” overlook the overriding importance of Romney’s comments: They reveal him as inordinately stupid, at least as a politician, although he has yet to ride to the stupidity level of John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign.

I’ve read and heard a lot of analyses and opinions and no one has yet captured what I think are the implications of Romney’s remarks, aside from baring his stupidity. Most have contended either Romney’s comments were all wrong or all right.

Actually, his comments, whatever they were, are partly correct.

In my estimation, I think a high percentage of the people don’t pay income taxes. I say “estimation,” because no one really knows what percentage of the population pay income taxes. However, we can be fairly certain that the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants don’t; the millions who will be able to change their status from illegal to “lawfully present” because of Obama’s “deferred-deportation” policy won’t; not to mention the millions of citizens whose earnings-to-deductions ratio absolves them from paying income taxes.

If Romney was saying that 47 percent of the people of this country are dependent upon government, he may be right. It depends on what one means by dependent. If it means people who depend on the government for housing, food and health care, I believe it would be far less than 47 percent.

However, if “dependent” means people who get some sort of support from the government, such as veterans or senior citizens, then the figure may be over 50 percent. When you include people who get some sort of government check, such as farmers and thousands of non-profit organizations, the figure may be closer to 80 percent.

These types of statistics can be used to support almost any position but at some point, when using them one is likely to begin mixing entitlements based not on need (the victims?), but on political expediency (those with political influence.)

If Romney was saying that his message about favoring low taxes doesn’t connect with voters dependent on government, he is correct. They don’t pay taxes.

As I and a few others have maintained, Romney is tailor-made for the classic portrayal of Republicans as rich people made by Democrats since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, even though establishment Republicans said he was the only candidate who could beat Obama.

Remember, though, they said the same about John McCain, Bob Dole and George the First.

It is unlikely that the Republican Party will ever shed its label as the party of the rich, short of changing its name.

Romney can recover from this gaffe, but not if his campaign continues to be governed by the mainstream media.

What his campaign should be more concerned about is another thing that Romney reportedly said at the fundraiser: He explained that the reason he doesn’t assail Obama as corrupt is that his consultants tell him not to hit too hard or he might alienate independents who voted for Obama in 2008.

Fear not, Mr. Romney. Don’t follow such advice from your Eastern consultants or John McCain, least of all the latter’s about the need to pander to Hispanics and women.

Those same consultants sagely said McCain would win the 2008 election with the votes of independents. No one knows, but it would be a surprise if McCain garnered more than a thousand independent votes nationwide.

Some say that Romney was “writing off nearly half” of voters with his comments. Maybe, but I don’t believe he said he was writing off the Hispanic vote. However, there is no way to out-pander Obama’s “deferred-deportation” edict. It is likely that in November more illegal immigrants will vote than those constitutionally eligible.

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