Why Romney’s “47 Percent” Comments Matter

It may not be the one thing that costs him election, but Mitt Romney's remarks about the "47 percent" are still a problem for his campaign.

It’s been just a bit over twelve hours since the video of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark hit the web but there’s already been plenty of commentary from both sides of the political aisle about what this “means” for the election, and the future of the Romney campaign in particular. As I noted in my post last night, Josh Barro is of the opinion that this is the end of the road for Romney and that he’s going to lose the election. Chris Cillizza, meanwhile, takes a longer view and puts this video at the end of what has been a rather unfortunate three weeks or so for Romney:

Consider what has happened to Romney since the Democrats concluded their convention in Charlotte earlier this month:

* The release of a Romney polling memo that seemed decidedly defensive over the idea of a convention bounce for the incumbent.

* A too-quick statement regarding the tumult in Libya that polling suggests was not looked on favorably by the voting public.

* A Politico story laying bare strife within the campaign that hit Sunday night.

And now comes this video tape featuring Romney offering a blunt assessment of his economic worldview to a group of wealthy donors — an assessment that is more candid, more calculating and more conservative than the GOP nominee has been in public.

Taken individually, none of the incidents referenced above are that big a deal in the constant swirl of politics. Taken together, they paint an image of a campaign in disarray and a candidate not ready for primetime. Context always matters in politics and the context in which this videotape has landed is just plain awful for Romney’s campaign.

William Kristol points out another reason why Romney’s remarks are rather stupid:

It’s worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well “believe they are entitled to heath care,” a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they’re not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.

I’m not sure that Romney’s remarks will cause any of those supporters to either change their minds or stay home, but Romney can’t really take that risk, can he?

Ed Morrissey pushes back against the idea that this is  doom for the Romney campaign:

I’m not going to argue that it’s good for Romney.  This is what comes from candidates attempting to become political analysts on the campaign trail.  Newt Gingrich made this same mistake during the primaries, and it caused him headaches as well.  Candidates need to stick to their message, and shrug off questions about strategy; that’s for staffers to leak to the media.  When candidates forget that, they end up producing sound bites that sound like this, or like Howard Dean’s reality-defying 2004 “Yeargh!” moment in Iowa.

(…)

Of course, sometimes perception outruns facts, and the perception of Romney as out of touch with the working class has already been advanced by Team Obama.  The problem with the whole “the election is over” analysis is that it defies history — and recent history at that.  Almost exactly four years earlier, in another fundraiser secretly taped by an attendee, a major-party nominee made the same mistake as Romney and offered some political analysis of why large numbers of voters were probably unreachable in an election.  The nominee — some also-ran named Barack Obama — told his urbane San Francisco crowd of supporters that people in the hinterlands were xenophobic and clung bitterly to their religion and guns in hard times, and would be difficult to win over.  In fact, Obama made oblique references to that argument prior to that tape, occasionally talking about the handicap of having a “funny name” would be with some voters.

That is almost exactly the same kind of argument Romney made, only in the context of government assistance.  How’d that work out for Obama?  Not too bad, as I recall.

Well, not exactly. As you might recall, that “bitter clingers” tape came out just a few weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, the only real contest in the month of April between himself and Hillary Clinton. At that point, Clinton was still hanging on in a tough fight against Obama and, while it did look as thought Obama would win the nomination in the end, that was by no means certain. By pretty much everyone’s estimation, an Obama win in the Keystone State would’ve been the final straw for the Clinton campaign and would cause Democratic superdelegates to line up behind Obama to put an end to the race. If Clinton won, then it would guarantee that the race would go on until the final primary in June, and the possibility of a Clinton victory would become just a little bit less unlikely. Clinton was already leading in the polls in Pennsylvania before the “bitter clingers” tape was released, but her lead began to expand once it became public and she ended up beating Obama 54.6% to 45.1% (although the two nearly equally divided the delegates). It’s not unfair to say that Obama’s off the record remarks had a real influence on the outcome of the race in Pennsylvania, injected new life into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and guaranteed that the race for the Democratic nomination would continue to the final primary.

So, it’s rather incorrect to say that the “bitter clingers” remark had no effect on Obama at all. Yes, he still went on to win the nomination and the Presidency and the comment had little impact beyond Pennsylvania other than as a conservative talk radio talking point. However, it did have impact on the race. Obama was just fortunate that the tape came out in the middle of the primary season rather than at some point later in the election cycle. Mitt Romney doesn’t have that luxury, though, because his equivalent to the “bitter clingers” remark came out fifty days before the General Election.

Political scientist John Sides points out at his blog that “gaffes” rarely have a significant impact on an election, and when you look at the evidence both from this year and other elections you see that he’s correct. However, I tend to think that these types of things do matter to the extent that they reinforce narratives about a candidate. “Bitter clingers” hurt Obama in Pennsylvania because it reinforced the image that the Clinton campaign had been pushing throughout the campaign that he was out of touch with the working class and Americans who live in places like Western Pennsylvania. The “47 percent” remark has the potential to hurt Romney because it reinforces the narrative that the Obama campaign, its SuperPACs, and the campaign surrogates have all been pushing since the beginning of the summer that Mitt Romney is an out of touch rich guy who has no concern for the little guy.

An additional problem for Romney is that these comments create yet another distraction for his campaign. He’s had several of them over the past few weeks. He’s tried to explain why his convention speech didn’t bother to mention the Afghanistan War, or the troops. His campaign spent most of last week defending itself from a hasty and inopportune comment about the attacks on our diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya. Yesterday, they spent most of the day pushing back against reports of internal campaign dissension and trying to roll out a refocusing strategy that seemed entirely out of focus. Now, they’ve got this video to deal with and, according to the people who released it, the probability that more of what he said will be made public over the coming days. There are now 49 days left until Election Day, and 15 days left until the first of three Presidential Debates. Every day that the campaign is distracted from its central message is a lost day, and the Romney campaign cannot afford many more lost days right now. Romney lost a news cycle last week because of his campaign’s press release, he’s on the verge of losing another one because of his own words. He’s behind in the polls and he has an incredibly narrow path in the Electoral College. So, while they may not be the thing that causes him to lose the election, the “47 percent” remarks are a problem because they prevent the campaign from getting out the message they think they need to get out to win the election.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. nitpicker says:

    Also worth mentioning, Obama’s comment–though clearly a bad idea–was genuinely about bringing people hope:

    …our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

    Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.

    In other words, Obama’s psychoanalysis was saying, these people have given up hope, but we can help them. Compare that to Romney saying his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

  2. Rob in CT says:

    Yes, I think the “bitter clingers” thing is a decent analogy, though I think the content (the mooching looting 47% of the population is probably a bigger chunk than the “bitter clingers” are) and timing make this worse for Romney.

    In both cases, as you say, the comments reinforce an already-existing image.

    Also… Obama really didn’t have much in the way of policy that matched up with the “bitter clingers” remark. Romney, on the other hand, does: his budget proposals, to the extent you attempt to fill in the blanks (even doing so in a manner that is as charitable to his intent as possible), you end up with the rich paying lower taxes, others (unspecified, but probably middle class) paying more, benefit cuts, and more military spending… all of which doesn’t do much to the deficit/debt. That matches up rather well with the 47%/53% meme.

    Maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe the only thing that matters is the emotional impact. But it does matter to me. I’d be more inclined to shrug if his policy positions didn’t already reflect this mindset.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How much of an affect will it have? I have no idea. But another day of comedic genius from the boyz on the right will do for now.

  4. Rob in CT says:

    @nitpicker:

    Thanks for that.

    The clinging to guns and religion (funny how “antipathy to people not like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade” part didn’t end up in the long-standing memory of it, huh?) was a bad way of putting it. Really bad. The rest of it was, IMO, right on the mark. And yes, he was doing the exact opposite of writing off half the population as unreachable. He was specifically saying you have to try and reach them – and also that you can’t take support for granted in areas/demographics you think should be solid for you.

  5. Fiona says:

    I think the other thing that really hurts Romney is not just what he said but how he said it. His tone just reeks of contempt. Plus, he seems entirely comfortable and confident in what he’s saying, far more “real” than he is on the campaign trail. I don’t know if it will cost him the election, but it surely doesn’t help him to win over wavering voters. Instead, it does, as Doug states, reinforce every negative meme out there about Romney being a rich, smug, out-of-touch white guy.

  6. Jay says:

    Also… Obama really didn’t have much in the way of policy that matched up with the “bitter clingers” remark.

    No, but his “spread the wealth around” comment surely did which is actually a better example of how Obama thinks, particularly as it relates to policy.

  7. Rob in CT says:

    @Jay:

    A better match there, yes. And the timing matches up better there too – that wasn’t something that happened during the primaries and then got buried under other stuff.

    I also think that comment was perfectly defensible 🙂

  8. Murray says:

    “Every day that the campaign is distracted from its central message is a lost day …”

    And what is the central message?

  9. Me Me Me says:

    They matter for the simple reason that on Day One Romney will start punishing anyone who isn’t deemed to be on his side of his Manichean universe.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rod Dreher

    And I think about what President Romney, whose idea of America is what Brooks derides as “a country-club fantasy,” would do in office with a Republican Congress behind him. That, plus the foreign policy crew he has on board, raises what is for me a stunning prospect: That boring old Mitt Romney might be a significantly greater risk as president than Barack Obama.

  11. cd6 says:

    Ed Morrissey pushes back against the idea that this is doom for the Romney campaign

    I challenge anybody to find an instance of Captain Ed saying something is good for Obama and actually bad for Romney. The dude runs a daily 5 minute hate feature about Obama using teleprompters and so on. There could be a video of Romney eating a live baby on youtube and Ed would rationalize it somehow as demonstrating leadership or actually taking steps to combat overpopulation or some other horseshit.

  12. Rob in CT says:

    For context, the “spread the wealth around” exchange:

    “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year,” Wurzelbacher said. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

    Obama said, “First off, you would get a 50% tax credit so you’d get a tax cut for your healthcare costs….. if your revenue is above 250 – then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that from 250 up – from 250 – 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go from 36 to 39%, which is what it was under Bill Clinton. And the reason why we’re doing that is because 95% of small businesses make less than 250. So what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less, I want to give them a tax cut. And so what we’re doing is, we are saying that folks who make more than 250 that that marginal amount above 250 – they’re gonna be taxed at a 39 instead of a 36% rate.”

    Responded Wurzelbacher, “the reason I ask you about the American dream, I mean I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

    “Well,” said Obama, “here’s a way of thinking about it. How long have been a plumber?”

    Wurzelbacher said 15 years.

    Obama says, “Over the last 15 years, when you weren’t making 250, you would have been given a tax cut from me, so you’d actually have more money, which means you would have saved more, which means you would have gotten to the point where you could build your small business quicker than under the current tax code. So there are two ways of looking at it – I mean one way of looking at it is, now that you’ve become more successful through hard work – you don’t want to be taxed as much.”

    “Exactly,” Wurzelbacher said.

    Obama continued, “But another way of looking at it is 95% of folks who are making less than 250, they may be working hard too, but they’re being taxed at a higher rate than they would be under mine. So what I’m doing is, put yourself back 10 years ago when you were only making whatever, 60 or 70. Under my tax plan you would be keeping more of your paycheck, you’d be paying lower taxes, which means you would have saved…Now look, nobody likes high taxes.”

    “No,” said Wurzelbacher.

    “Of course not,” said Obama. “But what’s happened is that we end up – we’ve cut taxes a lot for folks like me who make a lot more than 250. We haven’t given a break to folks who make less, and as a consequence, the average wage and income for ordinary folks, the vast majority of Americans, has actually gone down over the last eight years. So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes, is I’m gonna cut taxes a little bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well – even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.”

    Wurzelbacher said it seemed as though Obama might support a flat tax.

    Obama says, “you know, I would be open to it except here’s the problem with a flat tax is that if you actually put a flat tax together, in order for it to work and replace all the revenue that we’ve got, you’d probably end up having to make it like about a 40% sales tax. I mean that’s the value added, making it up. Now some people say 23 or 25, but in truth when you add up all the revenue that would need to be raised, you’d have to slap on a whole bunch of sales taxes on. And I do believe for folks like me who have worked hard, but frankly also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress that I just met over there who’s things are slow and she can barely make the rent.”

    Obama said, “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

  13. KariQ says:

    The only positive for Romney in this situation is that at least it’s September instead of late October.

  14. legion says:

    When a politician is elected, they’re expected to work for the betterment of the area he or she represents – they work for _all_ their constituents, not just the people that voted for them. But there are a growing number of prominent Republicans (and its something backed up by the national & state parties) who are getting closer and closer to just coming right out and campaigning on the promise (to their own voters) that they’ll actively screw everyone who doesn’t vote for them. They’ll shaft the poorer parts of town in zoning regs, trash their social support structures, take their homes by eminent domain, etc etc.

    This is Romney “coming out of the closet” so to speak on just what sort of a “leader” he’d be. Like supporting a candidate who promises to bring “religion” back into government, you’d better be damn sure his religion is _exactly_ the same as yours, lest you wind up on a stack of burning books. And anyone who votes for Romney better be damn sure they have a binding contract with him…

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    David Brooks:

    The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

  16. OliviaC says:

    Romney’s comment brings conflict of interest issue to the fore.

    If a paring back of our entitlement state is necessary then those most dependent have to be brought into the conversation. Obviously it has to be an honest conversation. Veterans and the poor can probably be excluded. That leaves senior citizens, those who rely on medicaid funds to aid them in caring for their aging parents, permanent disability dispensations, etc.

    He didn’t do that, of course, but if he’s able to turn this gaffe around he can start the conversation.

    Also, don’t minimize the boomerang effect that a ravenous media can produce to the benefit of Romney.

  17. sam says:

    “an assessment that is more candid, more calculating and more conservative than the GOP nominee has been in public.”

    Shows just how the word ‘conservative’ has changed over the years. It’s established that a lot of folks, working poor with children, pay no income tax because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax provision that had it’s origin in the work of that great socialist Milton Friedman’s concept of the negative income tax. And that other famous Socialist Ronald Reagan had this to say about EITC:

    The Earned Income Tax Credit is the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.

  18. nitpicker says:

    Also, Romney, in these tapes, bemoaned the fact he didn’t get asked more foreign policy questions, but what was his idea for how to improve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

    You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.

    You know what? “Hope,” whether you like Obama or not, was a pretty good campaign slogan. It’s not very good foreign policy.

  19. mattb says:

    @Doug wrote:

    However, I tend to think that these types of things do matter to the extent that they reinforce narratives about a candidate. […] The “47 percent” remark has the potential to hurt Romney because it reinforces the narrative that the Obama campaign, its SuperPACs, and the campaign surrogates have all been pushing since the beginning of the summer that Mitt Romney is an out of touch rich guy who has no concern for the little guy.

    THIS!

    It also won’t help when conservatives like Erik Erikson and others are actually praising Romney’s comment and suggesting he needs to say more things like it. Of course all of that speaks to the deep reverse class warfare and a desire for a muscular candidate that characterizes populist conservative thought.

    Beyond all of that, I suspect that these sorts of comments will help *anti-Romney* (as opposed to *Pro-Obama* GOTV efforts.

    People who voted for Obama in 2008 might not be moved to vote to support him in 2012, but I suspect that this sort of Narrative confirming moment (especially if doubled down) will motivate them to vote to stop Romney.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Murray:

    And what is the central message?

    Economycapitalismolympicstakersfederalbuyoutsmagicunicornsbalancedbudgetslowertaxesfairydusthigherdefencespending. Haven’t you been paying attention at all Murray?

  21. sam says:

    @OliviaC:

    If a paring back of our entitlement state is necessary then those most dependent have to be brought into the conversation. Obviously it has to be an honest conversation. Veterans and the poor can probably be excluded. That leaves senior citizens, those who rely on medicaid funds to aid them in caring for their aging parents, permanent disability dispensations, etc.

    Ah, so you propose that, in the interests of paring back the entitlement state, “senior citizens, those who rely on medicaid funds to aid them in caring for their aging parents, permanent disability dispensations, etc.” be brought into the conversation. Seriously? Why don’t you imagine what such a conversation would be like, and report back to us?

  22. C. Clavin says:

    The Obama comment was a direct opposite from Romney’s…it was about inclusion, and how his policies would help the people he described. Romney’s was about dividing the nation in two.
    But here’s the thing….
    Romney’s comment was based on another rightvwing talking points that is total BS. Most of the 47% pay more in taxes than Romney because they pay payroll taxes which are higher than Romney’s 13% effective rate.
    Second most of the 47% are in Red States.
    And lastly a huge chunk of the 47% are elderly on SS who will props my vote for Romney.

  23. sam says:

    @OliviaC:

    Also, don’t minimize the boomerang effect that a ravenous media can produce to the benefit of Romney.

    The only boomerangs flying around these days are the ones going up Romney’s fundament.

  24. mantis says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Indeed. The point of “spread the wealth around” was that if nobody has any money to buy goods and services, nobody can successfully start a business. The only way it sounds like socialism is if you distort the quote and take it out of context. Hey, that’s the Republican strategy again this year! They even named their convention after a distorted out-of-context quote! Real stand up folks, the GOP. I totally trust them to govern well.

  25. Jib says:

    @KariQ: I dont think so. Remember W story about the DUI breaking the weekend before the election? It happened too late, too late to change peoples attitudes and too late to really get going with talking heads going over it day after day.

    It is is even more true these days when most news is moving through social media. How you feel about a story is largely determined by how your friends feel about (this is from old studies, pre-internet) so it takes time for stories like this to peculate.

    Polls show most people dont pay much attention to the race until the conventions and make up their minds sin the 4 weeks following the conventions. I doubt this is the fatal blow to Romney (I think it has already happened and it was not 1 thing, it is …. well Romney) but it is happening at the worse possible time for him. Right at the point people start paying attention and are making up their minds.

  26. Rob in CT says:

    Ok, letting go of policy for just a sec…

    How much love do I have for the guy born on 3rd base talking about how others don’t take responsibility for their lives? Oh, so very much.

    This is not just anti-poor rhetoric, btw. This is anti-middle class rhetoric. I sorta-kinda knew a guy (online) who was a physics PhD grad and ended up becoming a quant for Goldman. And within months, he was spouting off about how the most pampered, useless people on Earth are the American middle class. I wonder how far that meme goes in certain circles.

    The middle class is a construct. A large, healthy middle class is an unnatural thing. And certain folks resent the hell out of it. Mitt was sucking up to a group of them for money (which, to be fair, is an actual talent of his), and this is the result.

    If you think that the people bankrolling Romney have your back b/c you work hard and make six figures, you’re wrong. They think you’re a moocher too.

  27. mantis says:

    I love Special Ed’s analysis:

    Of course, sometimes perception outruns facts, and the perception of Romney as out of touch with the working class has already been advanced by Team Obama.

    Yes, it is merely perception that Romney is out of touch with the working class. The fact is this millionaire vulture capitalist, governor, son-of-a-governor, car elevator owner is totally in tune with the problems and desires of the working class. Don’t let perception outrun that fact!

  28. DRE says:

    @Murray:
    And what is the central message?
    “That Kenyan Socialist is the cause of all our problems and if I’m elected everything will be perfect in America again, automatically.”

  29. mattb says:

    @OliviaC:

    Also, don’t minimize the boomerang effect that a ravenous media can produce to the benefit of Romney.

    This is completely true. Despite what @Jan and others think, the MSM is not so much in it for Obama as they are in it for a sensational and close race. A blowout for Obama (or for Romney) is fundamentally bad for their business (which is based on repeat viewership and getting the scoop first).

    So it’s entirely possible that there could be a boomerang effect. However, to take advantage of that, the Romney team needs to be able to successfully deploy a message or deliver a devastating soundbite-able piece of evidence (like these clips). Unfortunately, they’ve yet to demonstrate a real talent for doing either thus far.

    For all the talk of Romney’s discipline, the campaign has really yet to actually demonstrate it now that the real competition is on.

  30. anjin-san says:

    No, but his “spread the wealth around” comment surely did which is actually a better example of how Obama thinks, particularly as it relates to policy.

    Does it really bother you that Obama thinks a tiny percentage of the population should not own the whole country?

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Most of the 47% pay more in taxes than Romney because they pay payroll taxes which are higher than Romney’s 13% effective rate.

    Correction:

    Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) 12.4% of earned income up to an annual limit must be paid into Social Security, and an additional 2.9% must be paid into Medicare. That limit is $110,100 for 2012.

    There are no earned income limits on Medicare taxes — so even if your salary is well above the cap for Social Security tax, you will still owe Medicare tax on your total earned income.

    If you’re a wage or salaried employee, you pay only half the FICA bill (In 2012, 4.2% for Social Security plus 1.45% for Medicare), and the tax is automatically withheld.

    Your employer contributes the rest.

    (my emphasis) The reason the rates are so low right now is because of the stimulus acts.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ooooppppss. forgot the link.

  33. Jim Treacher says:

    How dare Romney say Democrat voters are dependent on the government? Only Democrats get to say their voters are dependent on the government!

  34. Ben says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    Uhhhh, you do realize that a large portion of the people who receive public entitlements and/or don’t pay federal income tax (elderly, soldiers/veterans) are solid REPUBLICAN voters, don’t you?

  35. James in LA says:

    @Jim Treacher: From the Friendly Advice Dept., I would be spending my time now on deciding what the future conservative party is going to look like because the “modern” GOP is completely finished as constructed. I know it, you know it, Bob Dole knows it, and you waste precious time with your childish red/blue taunts. You have much rebuilding work ahead of you. Here’s a hint: a party dies when it closes so tightly not even a plurality may enter.

  36. Fred says:

    I think Romney’s words are spot on. a lot of ppl have felt this way for decades as the Democrats have created generational dependency for many Americans. hard working Americans are bitter over this b/c our tax dollars are spent on ppl who are encouraged not to try, to succeed in life, that they are “entitled ” to their govt benefits for not contributing to society. I’ve worked in the service industry, out every morning at 7am an seen these recipients trade food stamps for things other than food, drink beer in lawn chairs outside of liquor stores sitting in lawn chairs laughing at me working while they expound on the fact that they get a check for free. everyday hard working Americans are tired of non-contributors idling on our backs and complaining about not receiving more, not being thankful for what they got, no encouragement to do better for themselves. I am lower middle class, I work hard fir my money, not so Obama can give it way to buy votes. I know mentally challenged people who receive entitlements who get up everyday and go to a workshop and contribute something to society. and its not just here in the states, the world knows we love giving out money. Haitians are still mad b/c we haven’t built them back up. its your country, get off your arse and rebuild it. right on Romney, right on.

  37. nitpicker says:

    @Jim Treacher: More of that pithy, nonsensical Treacher analysis we’ve all come to know and ignore.

  38. G.A. says:

    How dare Romney say Democrat voters are dependent on the government? Only Democrats get to say their voters are dependent on the government!

    lol…yes, and tell the truth and and have a great campaign strategy and all that.

    Who gives a crap what the media Obama’s PR agents think about anything?

    Or his brain washed sympathisers?

    OH GOD…HE INSULTED THE KNOCK AND DRAG VOTE!!!!!! lol…

  39. mantis says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    I vote for Democrats, and I’m not dependent on the government in any way. The only time I have ever taken any government assistance was when I took Pell grants for two years of college. That’s it. Never received a day’s unemployment, a food stamp, or any other assistance. I also pay a hefty income tax, and I’m just fine with that. Mostly because I don’t hate my country and my fellow Americans, unlike Republicans and their candidate.

  40. Anderson says:

    Anyone got a clue what Florida law says about surreptitious videotaping?

    I’m a little surprised not to’ve seen anyone on that angle yet.

  41. Ben says:

    @Fred:
    If you are lower middle class, than you’ve been paying into SS and Medicare for years, and will receive them when you are elderly. At that point, you will cease to pay any federal income tax (if you’re even paying any right now, for that matter). At that point, you will be part of the “entitlement class”. Does that mean that you didn’t work your ass off for years and contribute to society? Does that mean that everyone who receives entitlements and doesn’t pay federal income tax is a blood-sucking leech living off of everyone else’s hard work?

    So maybe it isn’t entitlements necessarily that you have a problem with, but with specific individuals who aren’t working. OK, but now that’s a different argument. And not at all what Romney was saying.

  42. DRE says:

    The 47% comment is distracting people from the parts where Romney is fleshing out his policy plans.

    Romney Plan for foreign policy:
    “All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

    Romney Plan for economic policy:
    “…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.”

  43. nitpicker says:

    @Fred: Dear Fred, I’ll be sure to mention my buddies down at the VA clinic you’re unhappy with their mooching.

  44. David M says:

    The idea that the 47% who do not pay income taxes are a permanent underclass mooching off the rest of the taxpayers is a fairly nasty lie. I can’t see how anyone familiar with the facts would repeat it, or people with common sense or decency would repeat it.

  45. Console says:

    Kristoff’s analysis is off just for one fact. If conservatives could actually acknowledge their own privilege, then they wouldn’t be conservatives. So Romney’s comments don’t really hurt him with the base even though they logically apply to some people that want to vote for him. I deal with that stuff all day. People that think unions are killing america… but are in a union. That think the government can’t do anything right but god forbid anyone suggest privatizing our job.
    The elderly people that vote GOP, that don’t pay taxes won’t take Romney’s comments the wrong way because they paid taxes at one point in their lives. It ain’t entitlement if you’re getting something you think you earned.

    This’ll come down to how the media and the Obama ad campaign carries it. This feeds into this idea that Romney is this out-of-touch elitist that can’t see past his own wealth… so it will hurt Romney with people that haven’t made up their minds yet. But Obama has to shape it that way, it won’t just happen naturally.

  46. KariQ says:

    @Jib:

    There’s a pretty big difference here. No one cared about a DUI several years ago. No one, even those opposed to W., could really see how it was going to impact policy and affect how he his job as president.

    Romney’s 47% statement ties into exactly the narrative about him he didn’t want people to think: He is going to govern in a way that will benefit only those who are already doing well and he doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t.

    There’s no analogy here.

  47. LC says:

    A slightly different perspective.

    One of the main arguments for choosing Obama (in the primaries and the general election) in spite of his lack of experience was the manner in which he ran his campaign. That management was proof that he was ready for the job.

    If one applies the same metric to the Romney campaign, the only conclusion one can logically reach is that Romney is not ready to be President.

    The $10,000 bet in the primary debate. The unglorious tour of Britain and the Middle East. His reaction to the Middle East riots. Now this contempt for the people who are committed to Obama. It’s not simply that he doesn’t care about the non-rich. He doesn’t. It’s that he doesn’t think before he opens his mouth. Not a quality to be admired in a person who wants to be President.

  48. nitpicker says:

    @Anderson: If one were able to convince a judge that, in a room with dozens of people, Romney had a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” then there might be a case. I’m guessing that would be a pretty high hurdle to clear.

  49. PJ says:

    Hopefully, for Romney, the campaign has a tape of the fund raiser, because it would be better for them if they would just release the entire speech than if Mother Jones will release parts of it on a daily or weekly basis.

  50. Rob in CT says:

    @DRE:

    It’s really pretty amazing. Elect me and things will just get better. Because you elected me. Not because of what I plan to do. Just ’cause I’m me.

    It’s the Confidence Fairy, taken to 11.

  51. DRE says:

    @Jim Treacher: Only Democrats get to say their voters are dependent on the government!

    No, Democrats say, quite correctly, that we’re all dependent on the government because we are all part of a complex industrial society that depends on the government for law and order, for protection from military threats, for courts in which contract disputes can be resolved, for protection from fraud, for protection of personal property, for protection from poisoning by food contamination or industrial waste, for the provision of infrastructure, education and basic research, for protection from natural disasters, and for the provision of a basic safety net as a form of social insurance, among many other things. We do not believe that the entire way of life that has developed in the United States is a travesty and a violation of our individual rights and responsibilities. In fact we are quite proud of many aspects of our society, and proud of our contributions to it, even if those contributions do not always take the form of paying Income Taxes.

  52. Fred says:

    i didn’t speak against people who have earned it. please dont misconstrue, read again. thanks.

  53. Rafer Janders says:

    @LC:

    If one applies the same metric to the Romney campaign, the only conclusion one can logically reach is that Romney is not ready to be President.

    You know what he really needs to do? Hire a management consultant.

  54. gVOR08 says:

    @DRE: And what is the central message?

    Also, Mitt Romney is a successful businessman therefore he’s a great organizer and manager. Any credibility left for that one?

  55. Jib says:

    @KariQ: I disagree. People do care about DUI and I think it would have made a difference if it had broken earlier.

    Now I will admit, that election was so close, almost anything would have made a difference.

  56. Rob in CT says:

    @Fred:

    Ah, so now you’re conceding that some are worthy. Those who pay in all their lives. Or that disabled person who works, but receives benefits.

    So your whole rant was about “shiftless layabouts”. But long-term unemployed poor people of prime working age (say 25-60) are a pretty small portion of the total. They don’t actually cost very much, either. The foodstamp program isn’t bankrupting us.

    And remember: the Dems are open to entitlement cuts (ones that matter, so Medicare mostly and Social Security a bit). That’s on the table. The GOP? Tax cuts + more military spending, yeeeeeehaaaaaw! This time it’ll work!

  57. DRE says:

    @Fred: “i didn’t speak against people who have earned it. please dont misconstrue, read again. thanks. ”

    In fact you did. You said Romney was spot on, and Romney referred to 47%, which includes large numbers of people who earned it. Think more carefully next time.

  58. Ben says:

    @Fred:

    I DID read you. You said you agreed with what Romney said. Did you see what I said at the end of my comment? It may very well be that your problem isn’t necessarily with all people who receive entitlements or don’t pay federal income taxes. My point is that it is a different point from the one Romney is making in this video. Romney condemned 47% of the population who don’t pay federal income tax as not taking responsibility or caring for their lives. He didn’t make any sort of qualification to exclude the people who worked their entire lives to earn these entitlements.

  59. mattb says:

    @Fred:
    Then what’s your point? That the people who “earn it” vote Republican?

    Romney didn’t talk about underserving people on entitlements, he talked about ALL people on entitlements. And he blanketed all of them with a deeply moral judgement that they are feckless.

    Or, do you subscribe to David Frum’s reading of the situation:

    When you ask white Americans to estimate the black population of the United States, the answer averages out at nearly 30%. Ask them to estimate the Hispanic population, and the answer averages out at 22%.

    So when a politician or a broadcaster talks about 47% in “dependency,” the image that swims into many white voters’ minds is not their mother in Florida, her Social Security untaxed, receiving Medicare benefits vastly greater than her lifetime tax contributions; it is not their uncle, laid off after 30 years and now too old to start over. No, the image that comes into mind is minorities on welfare.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/18/here-s-why-mitt-s-100-wrong-on-the-47.html

  60. David M says:

    @Fred:

    i didn’t speak against people who have earned it. please dont misconstrue, read again. thanks.

    There is no such thing as people who have earned it and people who have not earned it, otherwise no young person could ever qualify.

  61. mattb says:

    @Jib:

    I disagree. People do care about DUI and I think it would have made a difference if it had broken earlier.

    For what its worth, I don’t think it would have mattered much at any time. The fact was that Bush’s narrative already included the fact that the had been an Alcoholic. That was a key part of both the narrative of (a) turning things around, and (b) his coming to God.

    If the DUI thing had come out without the narrative being in place, then it would have done more damage. But the way things were, it only confirmed what people already knew about him.

  62. nitpicker says:

    @Fred: Well, Fred, you’re suggesting that Romney’s “right on,” but then you go on to complain about food stamp users. Less than 15 percent of Americans are currently on food stamps and that number is only that high due to the recession. Twenty percent of those “47 percent” of moochers are elderly folks on social security. So, in order for you to think Romney’s right on, you simply must be griping about people like my fellow veterans using the VA, the unemployed, etc. I’m not misconstruing your comments, I’m respecting your comments enough to take them seriously and then treating them with the disdain they deserve.

  63. sam says:

    @Fred:

    Well, I read again, Fred. Can you point us to where in his words he broke out the 47% in subgroups? Did he distinguish between, say, welfare recipients and working poor people who avail themselves of the EITC? Did he make any distinctions at all? No he did not. I’m afraid you’re reading what you want to hear into his words.

  64. john personna says:

    This is another one that looks worse as it sinks in for me.

    Let’s step back. The conservative radio circuit has been saying things (like “half of all Americans don’t pay taxes”) that are wrong factually and morally. The defense that’s been provided for them is “they are only entertainers, not politicians.” I didn’t really buy all of that, because they weren’t just entertainers, but certainly they weren’t running for office.

    I’ve also met Orange County conservatives who at parties or at lunch tell each other “half of all Americans don’t pay taxes.” I’ve cut them some slack myself, because they are busy guys, and just believe a little too much of that talk radio.

    But now w’eve met the end of the cycle. We’ve got a politician who believes in the talk radio world, the bubble world Doug described a few days ago. That wasn’t suppose to happen. That wasn’t part of the deal. The shock jocks were supposed to be excused for mobilizing the troops, and the troops were supposed to be excused for not getting the whole picture, but the leaders were supposed to be holding down the fort, keeping a grip on reality.

    That’s what failed in Romney’s Thursten Howell the 3rd moment. Bubble reality made it to the top of the Republican ticket.

    It makes me reject the whole system, top to bottom now. No excuses for anybody. That includes “friends of the show.”

  65. Rob in CT says:

    And, in the interest of being at least somewhat data-based, let’s remember that the 47% figure was from 2009. Right after the worse financial panic since the Great Depression. High unemployment, incredible amounts of household net worth wiped out…

    IIRC, in more normal times, it’s more like 40%. And again, much of that is made up of students, retirees, and such. Not lazy moochers drinking 40s all day (or whatever your mental image is).

  66. LC says:

    @Rafer Janders

    You know what he really needs to do? Hire a management consultant.

    LOL! But oh such good advice: I hope the candidate doesn’t take it.

  67. OliviaC says:

    @mattb: Very little doubt that he can capitalize on the gaffe.

    But, and forgive the repetition, if entitlements need to be pared back -let democrats make the argument that they don’t- at some point someone will have to speak forthrightly and that means being unafraid to explain yourself.

    Romney still has this in his favor: Outside that solid 45-48% liberal voting block Obama is not viewed as competent. And that’s the percentage Romney can never win over. He shouldn’t have pointed that out either though as the pursuit of unity is important.

    I don’t think President Obama is a unifying leader. Assuming his opponents are the same as those of his supporters, what other President has requested/encouraged them to “punish their enemies?”

  68. ptfe says:

    @Rob in CT: True:

    Roughly half of U.S. households that pay no federal income tax are exempted because of basic provisions such as limitations on tax for low-income earners, according to a 2011 study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

    The TPC found that of the 38 million households that are made nontaxable by tax expenditures, “44% are moved off the tax rolls by elderly tax benefits and another 30% by credits for children and the working poor.”

    (That tends to overlook the fact that nearly two-thirds of households that paid no income tax still paid payroll tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.)

    (Source)

  69. mantis says:

    @john personna:

    That’s what failed in Romney’s Thursten Howell the 3rd moment.

    Indeed. I’m no big fan of David Brooks, but his column today is pretty devastating.

    Thurston Howell Romney

    …Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

    This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

    It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

    It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

    The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor….

    America, Mitt Romney thinks you are all scum.

  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    murray:

    And what is the central message?

    This is the central message of the Gecko/Galt campaign: poor people aren’t poor enough and rich people aren’t rich enough.

  71. DRE says:

    @OliviaC: what other President has requested/encouraged them to “punish their enemies?”

    At the polling place? Pretty much all of them since Washington.

  72. john personna says:

    @OliviaC:

    You can’t use sanity to defend insanity. The fact that entitlement spending needs change does not justify the view that 47% of the people can’t be motivated to take care of themselves.

  73. bk says:

    @Fred: You forgot to mention “strapping young bucks buying t-bone steaks” in your otherwise pithy and original analysis.

  74. Alanmt says:

    What concerns me most about this latest campaign fiasco – and there is a lot to be concerned about – is Mr. Romney’s press conference to address it. He looked haggard and uncertain. he was largely inarticulate The best “my bad” he could grudgingly muster was that he had spoken inelegantly, and then went on to mischaracterize what he actually had said. He terminated after just a few minutes, leaving the podium almost randomly, while reporters kept calling questions out.

    This is the man we can expect to see making world-defining decisions in a moment of crisis? Sweating, scared, unable to admit to the true nature of a challenging situation? This is who they chose overwhelmingly over the cool, knowledgable, and diplomatic Huntsman? This eggshell of an ego untested by real adversity?

    My god. This should be the end of his campaign. It ought to be, even though it won’t.

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    . @DRE: This.

  76. john personna says:

    @Alanmt:

    Another point for the parliamentary system.

  77. nitpicker says:

    @OliviaC: Well, actually, Fox News found that independents favor Obama by five percent, so if those outside the liberal bastion you describe find Obama “not competent,” they must think Romney has to have someone tie his shoes every night, cut his food into tiny pieces and keep him from drowning himself in the bathtub.

  78. mattb says:

    @OliviaC:

    Outside that solid 45-48% liberal voting block Obama is not viewed as competent.

    Ummm… Source? Because, last I checked — and highlighted by Doug among others — Obama has been leading Romney in a number of competency polls including:
    a. ability to handle Foreign Policy
    b. ability to handle Economy
    c. the competency of response to the ME riots

    All of these are currently available from the OTB homepage, so I won’t link.

    Can you find specific polling that suggests that Romney is tracking ahead on any competency polls?

    You are right, that Obama’s number are below 50%. But considering that Romney’s numbers are below Obama’s that’s a real issue and one that from all appearances, Romney doesn’t know how to get beyond.

  79. michael reynolds says:

    Just a side note. I suspect from the placement of the camera that the video was taken by catering staff brought in for the event. So, a bartender or a waiter. My people for ten years of my life. Still my people though I’m a very different life now. I hope it really was one of the be-aproned class.

  80. C. Clavin says:

    So do all Mormon Bishops, like Romney, have such massive disdain for the poor and the sick and the elderly??? Or is he unique in his a-holishness???

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @Alanmt:

    He had all the calm, credibility and self-control of a married man who just walked in three hours late smelling of another woman’s perfume.

  82. mantis says:

    I must say I am loving the rightwing schism this has caused. You’ve got some of the slightly sharper conservatives recognizing that their candidate is insulting millions of people whose votes they are counting on (see David Brooks, Ramesh Ponnuru, Reihan Salam, Bill Kristol, et al) and then you’ve got those whose stance seems to be to double down on the “F*ck the Moochers” stance (see Erick “Erick” Erickson, Jim “Dipshit” Treacher, Brietbart corpse humper John Nolte, Glenn “Robotsex” Reynolds, and the rest of the single-helix crowd).

    The rest seem to be refraining from weighing in on whether Romney is right or it’s a good message and just attacking the Eeevil Librul Em-Ess-Em for talking about it at all. Their main line seems to be that Obama said some voters in small towns with crappy job prospects get bitter and cling to guns or religion, and he won, so it’s all good, y’all.

    Very entertaining. I wonder which uniform message they will land on after tearing each other to shreds.

  83. nitpicker says:
  84. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug citing ed morrissey:

    How’d that [“cling to guns or religion”] work out for Obama? Not too bad, as I recall.

    In other words: ‘Obama won. This proves that the statement didn’t hurt him.’

    But notice what Ed says in his next paragraph:

    we like to think that John McCain lost the election in 2008 when he announced that he would suspend his campaign …, but after eight years of George Bush … the likelihood of any Republican winning that election looks close to nil in retrospect.

    In other words: ‘Obama won because any D would have won.’

    What a clown. Ed is just like Mitt: he repeatedly argues against himself because he can’t remember what he said ten minutes ago. No wonder they appeal to the same audience: people who have trouble thinking clearly.

  85. jukeboxgrad says:

    And speaking of Mitt contradicting himself, I haven’t noticed anyone noticing this:

    What I have to do is convince the five-to-ten percent in the center, that are Independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion, whether they like the guy or not.

    I highlighted some important words. He’s discussing a group that’s “thoughtful,” which means they vote based on “emotion.”

    He can hardly get through a sentence without both contradicting himself and insulting someone.

  86. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jib:

    Now I will admit, that election was so close, almost anything would have made a difference.

    Well we could start with an honest count of the votes in Florida.

  87. David M says:

    Slightly off topic, but has no one noticed that Mitt Romney of all people is now complaining other people don’t pay enough in taxes? Just when I thought I couldn’t have less respect for the man, he comes through makes sure everyone knows he’s even more of a complete tool than everyone thought he was.

  88. jukeboxgrad says:

    sam:

    a lot of folks, working poor with children, pay no income tax because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax provision that had it’s origin in the work of that great socialist Milton Friedman

    An important point. Why do a lot of people pay no federal income tax? Because the GOP decided to cut their taxes. This is classic Republicanism: implement a policy and then whine about the result of the policy.

    Same thing with the debt. Reagan tripled it. GWB almost doubled it. 75% of the debt Obama inherited was created by these three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush. So now of course the GOP is whining about the debt.

    Their strategy is designed to appeal to amnesiacs and fools.

  89. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Alanmt:

    This is who they chose overwhelmingly over the cool, knowledgable, and diplomatic Huntsman? This eggshell of an ego untested by real adversity?

    Well, they were Republican voters.

  90. jukeboxgrad says:

    john:

    The conservative radio circuit has been saying things (like “half of all Americans don’t pay taxes”) that are wrong factually and morally. The defense that’s been provided for them is “they are only entertainers, not politicians.”

    But that defense was always a crock. For example, Reagan himself described Rush Limbaugh as “the Number One voice for conservatism.”

    Bubble reality made it to the top of the Republican ticket.

    Yes, we’ve now reached the moment where the GOP has picked a candidate who is channeling Rush pretty directly. Which is why people like Erik Erikson are so happy. Also me!

  91. nitpicker says:

    @OliviaC: Also, this is coming out today:

    The new NBC/WSJ poll asks a separate question: Which candidate — Obama or Mitt Romney — is better prepared to lead the country four years from now? On this question, 47 percent of voters pick the president, while 36 percent choose Romney.

  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I suspect from the placement of the camera that the video was taken by catering staff brought in for the event. So, a bartender or a waiter.

    You just can’t get good help anymore.

  93. jan says:

    @Fred:

    “I think Romney’s words are spot on. a lot of ppl have felt this way for decades as the Democrats have created generational dependency for many Americans…”

    If nothing else this election is being clarified as to the principle philosophies which each candidate holds, and whose perspective, in the given voting population, they appeal to. Romney is not a centralized government guy. His personal history supports the idea of people helping people rather than giving that task wholly to government bureaucrats and bureaucracies to carry out.

    Too much dependency in a nation does not lead to revitalization. In fact here is an interesting quote capsulizing the course of nations throughout history:

    The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:

    From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
    From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
    From Courage to Liberty
    From Liberty to Abundance
    From Abundance to Selfishness
    From Selfishness to Complacency
    From Complacency to Apathy
    From Apathy to Dependency
    From Dependency back into Bondage

    ——————————————————————————–

    — most commonly attributed to
    “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic”
    by Alexander Fraser Tytler Lord Woodhouselee (1748-1813)
    (Scottish judge and historian at Edinburgh University)

    Many would say the United States is at the second to last stage, ‘apathy to dependency,’ which will then put it back into the hands of bondage, more aptly known as tyranny, as the next step ‘forward.’

  94. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    I hate to intrude on your little fantasy with facts. But.

    The American people remain the hardest-working and most productive workers on earth. We take less vacation time. We have less time with our families. We have fewer government benefits than most others in the developed world.

    Which would make your little screed simply, factually, wrong.

    Incidentally, as a matter of history there are essentially no comparisons to American democracy. Comparing us, as you seem to do, not only with Athenian “democracy” but some sort of catch-all of “great civilizations” is worthless. It’s the kind of silly, superficial drivel that ninnies like to pick up and cite as though it made some kind of sense. But of course it doesn’t.

  95. mantis says:

    @jan:

    Romney is not a centralized government guy.

    Then why does he want to be president?

    His personal history supports the idea of people helping people rather than giving that task wholly to government bureaucrats and bureaucracies to carry out.

    Helping people with pink slips? We do know he enjoys firing people.

    Keep trying to defend your guy, jan. It’s quite amusing.

  96. David M says:

    @jan:

    Why do you think the elderly on Social Security should pay more income tax?

  97. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jan:

    From Dependency back into Bondage

    Well, I always knew those Brits were a little kinky.

  98. C. Clavin says:

    Jan is into bondage now?

  99. OliviaC says:

    @mattb: My figures were based on Obama’s steady support, that is, rarely under 45% and rarely over 48%, for the last 18 months or so. That seems to me to be his take-home voting block.

    That he’s preferred to Romney does point to a likely win for him, but current rise in numbers are mainly due to Romney/RNC incompetence -coupled perhaps by the promise of Bill Clinton as Obama’s new first advisor?- and not a solid faith in President Obama’s ability to solve the nation’s problems.

    And this, I think, presents an opportunity for Romney. I don’t claim it’s an opportunity he can’t help but capitalize on just that as the polls remain within the MOE it remains an opportunity. His supporters need not count him out just yet.

    Last word goes to you, Countrymen.

  100. Scott F. says:

    @Rob in CT: I read this and am reminded that even in the midst of what was considered a gaffe, Obama managed to speak fluently about tax policy off the cuff on a rope line. Good stuff!

  101. LC says:

    @Alanmt:

    This eggshell of an ego untested by real adversity?

    Best description of Romney I’ve ever read. OTB should create an award for it.

  102. Ron Beasley says:

    When you’ve lost The Weekly Standard :
    Conservatives Agree: Romney’s Wrong

  103. john personna says:

    @jan:

    As Michael says, a digression about dependency doesn’t really make the claim that 47% don’t want to take care of themselves true.

    Yet here we have a guy building a vision for his campaign and presidency on that perverse fantasy.

  104. C. Clavin says:

    Jan…
    Why do you think Veterans should pay more income tax???

  105. Rob in CT says:

    Heh, I ran that through google.

    According to snopes, there is no record of Lord Woodhouselee ever having written a book on the fall of Athens, and the quotation is most likely apocryphal.

    Jan is basically my mom: she gets wingnut emails, believes them, and forwards them (copy/paste here).

  106. Rob in CT says:

    From wikipedia:

    Misquotation – Tyler CycleThe following unverified quotation has been attributed to Tytler, most notably as part of a longer piece which began circulating on the Internet shortly after the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election.[9]

    A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to selfishness;
    From selfishness to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.
    There is no reliable record of Alexander Tytler’s having made the statement.[9] In fact, this passage actually comprises two quotations, which didn’t begin to appear together until the 1970s. The first portion (italicized above) first appeared on December 9, 1951, [10] as part of what appears to be an op-ed piece in The Daily Oklahoman under the byline Elmer T. Peterson.[11] The original version from Peterson’s op-ed is as follows:

    Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

    The list beginning “From bondage to spiritual faith” is commonly known as the “Tytler Cycle” or the “Fatal Sequence”. Its first known appearance is in a 1943 speech “Industrial Management in a Republic”[12] by H. W. Prentis, president of the Armstrong Cork Company and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and appears to be original to Prentis.

    So this is the synthesis of two ~70-year-old Right Wing memes, projected back on an 18th century Scot to lend it some patina of authority.

    Bravo, Jan. Bravo.

  107. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s sort of funny about all this — in the vein of slapstick dark comedy — is the liberal chattering classes are so lily-white, and so loopy, they’ll miss the obvious key point, like Michael Jordan circa ’94 swinging at a slider.

    Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them.

    Throughout history there have been two interrelated hallmark symptoms of a failing nation: (1) debasement of the nation’s currency to pay its public debts, (2) material segments of the nation’s body politic becoming soft and dependent upon government largesse.

    Sure enough, starting in the 1960’s, with LBJ’s neverending quagmire of a “war on poverty,” the U.S. commenced a radical move to the satisfy the 2nd element of a failing nation. In the present, as the fiscal chickens have come home to roost, we’re in the process of meeting the 1st element. This bodes quite ill for the future. The greatest irony therein, of course, is the left not only won’t be able to grasp the irony of it all they’ll cheer with glee all the way down to the bottom.

  108. Peacewood says:

    @Alanmt: His performance was so bad, Morning Joe whimpered, “Someone please wake me after November fifth” and he put a paper bag on his head.

    Watch it on MSNBC if you haven’t, it’s pretty hilarious.

  109. Rob in CT says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    I’m waiting for you to break out “Mitt Romney? Who’s that?”

    Much love for ya, much love…

  110. Ron Beasley says:

    @Rob in CT: Your right-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fraser_Tytler

    The list beginning “From bondage to spiritual faith” is commonly known as the “Tytler Cycle” or the “Fatal Sequence”. Its first known appearance is in a 1943 speech “Industrial Management in a Republic”[12] by H. W. Prentis, president of the Armstrong Cork Company and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and appears to be original to Prentis.

  111. anjin-san says:

    His personal history supports the idea of people helping people

    Sure. For example, his rich father gave him stock that paid for his elite college education, and 47K in 1960s dollars to buy a first home (what is that in today’s money, 750K or so?) that’s a hell of a starter home for a young couple.

    Great system if you have a rich father. And if you are disabled or mentally ill and you don’t have anyone to help you, well there is alway an overpass you can live under.

  112. john personna says:

    Ye gods, The Atlantic says “it’s time” for Romney to stop listening to right wing bloggers.

    And what, put his campaign on hold for a reality crash course?

    Re. Jan and the meme machine, again it wouldn’t be so bad if Jan were just an animated if not terribly well informed supporter. But it’s much worse. Romney is Jan. Jan is Romeny.

  113. anjin-san says:

    @ Jan

    rather than giving that task wholly to government bureaucrats and bureaucracies to carry out.

    Please produce some citations that show where Obama or any other Democrat has called for the elimination of charity or any other form of “people helping people” so that the task could “wholly” fall to government.

    Or, you could just admit you are full of it.

    The sad truth is that even with government assistance, AND charity, AND people simply helping each other out, there are still gaps that the poor/disabled/elderly/chronically ill fall through that you could drive a freight train through.

  114. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them.

    Speaking of missing the point, anyone (Romney) who doesn’t understand the 47% number is nonsense isn’t qualified to hold higher office. Even if your ugly distortion was true, it’s not permanent, the young college family who doesn’t pay income taxes ends up part of the income tax paying middle class soon enough. Same with the retiree who paid income taxes for most of their working life and is now living on Social Security.

  115. mantis says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them.

    Bullshit. As has been pointed out repeatedly, the people who don’t pay income tax are comprised of seniors who have paid in all their lives (they already put their skin in the game, you ingrate), veterans, especially those on disability (they put their actual flesh and bones in the game, you ingrate), and the working poor, who certainly pay taxes on payroll and sales, etc.. All of these people pay taxes when they buy goods, if they own property, and so on. They all have skin in the game. Too bad you haven’t devoted any brains to the game.

    Sure enough, starting in the 1960′s, with LBJ’s neverending quagmire of a “war on poverty,” the U.S. commenced a radical move to the satisfy the 2nd element of a failing nation.

    Bullshit. As has also been repeatedly pointed out, Americans work harder than pretty much anyone else on Earth. Why must you constantly lie to trash your own country? Why do you hate America? Go live in Russia like your namesake, scumbag.

    In the present, as the fiscal chickens have come home to roost, we’re in the process of meeting the 1st element.

    Funny, my money still buys shit. Maybe you’re using something other than US currency.

    The greatest irony therein, of course, is the left not only won’t be able to grasp the irony of it all they’ll cheer with glee all the way down to the bottom.

    The greatest irony is an inability to grasp the irony? What is that, an irony ouroboros?

  116. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them.

    From TPM:

    Antle’s blog post was approvingly tweeted by Ryan Ellis, the top lobbyist for anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. He was joined by Salam and Ponnuru in noting — and defending — three decades of Republican-driven policies that built the current tax system via tax cuts and credits. They also argued that the 53-47 analysis papers over economic mobility.

    “Conservatives have even less reason for worrying about people who don’t pay federal income taxes,” wrote Ponnuru. “A major reason that the number of those people has grown is that a Republican-controlled Congress created, and the Bush administration expanded, a tax credit for parents.”

    (my emphasis)

    Tsar? Stop. Just stop. Your self immolation is too painful to watch.

  117. wr says:

    @jan: I’d be amused at you quoting a centuries dead scholar who spent a lifetime expressing a contempt for the very idea of democracy, but I’m too busy laughing at you for reprinting a fabricated quote falsely attributed to the man, which actually appeared first in an Oklahoma newspaper in 1951.

    You’ll just regurgitate any crap you think will help get you through the next minute, won’t you? Makes me wonder what it is you’re taking in to be able to vomit this out.

  118. Fiona says:

    As always, Jan, it’s amusing to watch you defend the indefensible. Bravo!

  119. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You:

    Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them.

    Ronald Reagan on the EITC:

    “The best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.”

  120. mattb says:

    @OliviaC:
    That makes sense Olivia. And I agree that there is an opportunity for Romney. The issue is that’s its a narrow one and clearly he’s beginning from a position that’s further behind than a lot of his supporters are willing to admit (I’m not directing that comment at you).

  121. MM says:

    @Ben: Treacher spent a week spamming this blog with “Obama ate a dog” posts. He’s paid to write, not to think about anything he writes.

  122. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Ronald Reagan on the EITC:

    “The best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.”

    Damned socialist!

  123. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mother Jones has now posted the full video.

  124. jukeboxgrad says:

    treacher:

    How dare Romney say Democrat voters are dependent on the government? Only Democrats get to say their voters are dependent on the government!

    Consider these two things:

    A) You “are dependent on the government.”

    B) At some point you might need some help from the government, which you paid for by paying all sorts of taxes all your life.

    What Democrats say is B, not A. You’re hoping that most people are too stupid to understand the difference between A and B. Good luck with that. A high proportion of Republicans are that stupid, because the smarter ones have already left the party.

    You should also notice this:

    Thanks to Utah politicians and the 2002 Olympics, a blizzard of federal money—a stunning $1.5 billion—has fallen on the state, enriching some already wealthy businessmen

    And this:

    How the Salt Lake Games came to receive more money than any games in American history isn’t much of a mystery. The organizers, including Romney, asked for it. In his 2004 book, Turnaround, Romney acknowledges the central role of the federal government in making the Olympics possible. “No matter how well we did cutting costs and raising revenue, we couldn’t have Games without the support of the federal government,” he wrote.

    Why did Mitt run an Olympics that was “dependent on the government?” I guess Mitt didn’t build that.

  125. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Re. Jan and the meme machine, again it wouldn’t be so bad if Jan were just an animated if not terribly well informed supporter. But it’s much worse. Romney is Jan. Jan is Romeny.

    And, when the National Review is acknowledging this you know it’s become a real issue:

    Rich Lowery diagnosing Romney and @Jan among others-
    “The overall impression of Romney at this event is of someone who overheard some conservative cocktail chatter and maybe read a conservative blog or two, and is thoughtlessly repeating back what he heard and read,”
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/322478/romneys-comment-rich-lowry

    The fact that the Conservative “Elite” are beginning to really break rank, while the Conservative Talkers and Populist Bloggers are calling for “more”, helps demonstrate the increasing number of cracks that are starting to show in the Republican/Populist Conservative coalition.

    This does not bode well.

  126. C. Clavin says:

    Rob in CT…
    Who uses “apocryphal” in a blog comment…right on!!!
    Imagine…jan using made up shit to defend Republican made up shit. Who’da thunk it?

  127. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    I guess Mitt didn’t build that.

    OK. This thread is over. jukeboxgrad wins.

  128. C. Clavin says:

    “…Largely because of the EIC and other tax credits the harsh reality is that around half the populace pays zero net federal income taxes. Meaning they have no skin in the game. Meaning it’s all a game to them…”
    Actually that is far closer to a discription of Romney…who has never, ever, had any skin in the game.

  129. john personna says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    At some point you might need some help from the government, which you paid for by paying all sorts of taxes all your life.

    It is really amazing that something so simple is not part of the narrative.

    It is true that I cursed California for the share they took of my “big years” but then again, I only paid $89 dollars a semester at a California State University.

  130. Rob in CT says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I used that particular word not only b/c it fit, but because it was in the snopes entry. If I hadn’t seen it there, I might not have thought to use that word. I’m aware of it, but I don’t use it much in conversation, you know?

    Stepping back… for those that could be described as the underclass (born poor, die poor, often receive public help), what’s the plan here? The rhetoric strongly suggests that the plan is to cut the support they currently receive, which will then force those folks to work. Sink or swim. As if there are jobs for them, but they’re too lazy/dependent to go out and get said jobs. But we know that just isn’t true. People out there actively looking for work – people who have skills and held jobs before the crash – can’t find jobs.

    So cut ’em off and… and… what, exactly? Where are the jobs going to come from, if even more people don’t have money to spend (indeed, if you cut off food stamps, how many grocers take a hit?)?

  131. Nikki says:

    @michael reynolds: Wow. Driven to disavow Reagan. The circle is complete…

  132. Rob in CT says:

    Also, too: remember *why* the EITC was created! As has been noted, it was a GOP idea. That’s nice, but even more interesting is the reasoning behind it.

    It was noted that when people earned enough money to get off public support, it didn’t phase out smoothly, meaning you could do all the right things and end up with less money (yay, you got a raise, but you lost your XYZ public assistance in its entirety, so in the end you lose). Since the general idea of public assistance is to help people who have fallen on hard times pick themselves up (if they can) and rise back up, this was deemed to be a problem. And so the EITC was born. It was billed as an incentive to work!

  133. MM says:

    GOP strategy: Reduce taxes paid, then complain when fewer people pay taxes. It’s the political version of “the food was terrible and the portions were too small”.

  134. Mr. Replica says:

    I won’t take credit for this, as I picked up on my travels on reddit.

    /insert picture of Mitt Romney

    Mitt Romney: thinks 47% of people don’t pay their fair share of taxes, and yet, feel entitled to food and basic healthcare.
    Mitt Romney: doesn’t pay his fair share of taxes, and yet, feels entitled to be president.

    LOL

  135. jukeboxgrad says:

    This thread is over.

    Ozark, thanks for the kind words. But I didn’t build anything myself; these threads are fun because we build them together. And we should always appreciate the help we get from people like Treacher, because if no fools were willing to appear, how could we have so much fun knocking over fools? That’s why I always thank them for their inadvertent public service.

  136. nitpicker says:

    @jan: I get it. You hate America. That’s your prerogative, I guess.

  137. jukeboxgrad says:

    matt citing rich lowry:

    The overall impression of Romney at this event is of someone who overheard some conservative cocktail chatter and maybe read a conservative blog or two

    Also notice that john said this:

    The Atlantic says “it’s time” for Romney to stop listening to right wing bloggers.

    In the full video released today, we hear this (link, scroll to 1:10):

    … this president, instead, speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick

    Notice this from a thread at pjmedia (3/4/12):

    Obama speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick

    I demand equal time. When is Obama going to start using lines he finds at OTB?

  138. Rob in CT says:

    When is Obama going to start using lines he finds at OTB?

    Wrong question.

    When is Obama going to start using lines he finds at Balloon Juice or Daily Kos?

  139. jukeboxgrad says:

    I like both those places. I have great respect for John Cole and I used to write at dKos (look for my name on this page to see my 2006 Kos diary that got over 300 votes and hit memeorandum; it also got my name onto this memeorandum page), but I think the crew here is hard to top.

    So Obama better start using our lines soon! (Maybe he could us one of my lines from that diary: “All the fuss about profanity is a fucking alibi.”)

  140. jukeboxgrad says:

    I like both those places. I have great respect for John Cole and I used to write at dKos (look for my name on this page to see my 2006 Kos diary that got over 300 votes and hit memeorandum; it also got my name onto this memeorandum page), but I think the crew here is hard to top.

    So Obama better start using our lines soon! (Maybe he could us one of my lines from that diary: “All the fuss about profanity is a fwcking alibi” [not mangled in the original].)

  141. Jc says:

    I wonder if Mitt’s dad ever called Mitt a moocher? Wish my parents would have paid for my first house, what a mooch. And all taxes are a redistribution of income for christ’s sake.

  142. mantis says:

    The right has to deceptively cut Obama’s words down to three-second, out-of-context lines to attack him.

    The left releases 50 minutes of unedited honesty from Romney to attack him.

  143. David Lampo says:

    @Mr. Replica: @Jc: That is of course ridiculous. Romney pays more in income taxes than 99 percent of Americans, and he doesn’t pay his fair share? Socialist bullshit. And he was specifically talking about income taxes, not all taxes, and he was right. He may not know the details about who makes up that 47 percent, but his larger point was that more and more people are off the tax rolls and fewer people are pulling the wagon. An entirely reasonable, and correct, concern.

  144. David M says:

    @David Lampo:

    The fact that Romney pays a lower tax rate than people who make much less money is pretty much the exact definition of not paying his fair share. The actual amount he pays is an irrelevant distraction.

    If Romney doesn’t know the details of who makes up the 47%, how can he use it make a larger point?

  145. nitpicker says:

    One aspect about this no one’s commented on is that is this is the second time Romney’s been overheard being “honest” to donors at a fundraiser, but, in public, he says he give any specifics because it would only provide ammunition to Democrats who oppose him. In his mind, it seems, only Americans who have proven their loyalty with their pocketbooks have earned the right to hear the truth.

  146. Jc says:

    @David Lampo:

    Of course he doesn’t pay his fair share. What is Mitt’s tax burden? Also, do we know for sure he is paying his taxes per the law. I believe him when he says he never paid less than 13%, but why no 2009 return? Anonymous amnesty, he is probably paid up now that the IRS got the Swiss piece.
    So as more boomers age and start drawing SS benefits and paying less taxes, do you want to raise their rates? Do you want to tax the poor people more and eliminate all support programs for them? Was the country more socialist in the past when wealthy folk paid higher marginal rates and the code wasn’t 70000 pages? Please, I ain’t gonna kiss Mitts ring because he paid 15% in taxes. Most people with much less face a much higher burden even if they don’t pay fed income tax.

  147. jukeboxgrad says:

    lampo:

    his larger point was that more and more people are off the tax rolls and fewer people are pulling the wagon. An entirely reasonable, and correct, concern.

    Do you know why “more and more people are off the tax rolls?” Because for about 30 years it has been GOP policy to push “more and more people … off the tax rolls” (National Review):

    the Reagan tax cuts and Bush’s expansion of the EITC have a lot to do with pushing that 47 percent number higher.

    Like I said: it is classic Republicanism to implement a policy and then whine about the result of the policy.

  148. @David Lampo:

    You are the perfect example of a guy who should offer a budget to go with his tax fairness arguments.

    Show me something that is fair, by your rules, and that actually works, and balances the budget within 10 or 20 years.

    (Romney himself can’t do it, which is why it is all vagueness and “a discussion to be had.”)

  149. Mr. Replica says:

    Sure, Mitt may pay a lot more in taxes than the average person, at least in the years we know about. The years in which it was politically convenient for him to release the returns for.
    Sure, it may be legal for Romney to hire others who specialize in finding as many loopholes as they can so that he pays a lower tax rate than he should.
    Sure, it may be legal for Romney to use tax havens to stash away money to keep the U.S. government from taxing it.

    However, that being said, in no way does the word “legal” equate to the word “fair”.

    For all anyone knows, Mitt may have paid zero taxes(including income tax) in one year or many years.
    Sure, that may just be speculation, but we will never know if it’s a falsehood.

  150. jukeboxgrad says:

    Sorry about that duplicate post up there. I got filtered so I ducked the filter but I should have realized I might unfiltered. Fwck.

  151. al-Ameda says:

    @Fiona:

    I think the other thing that really hurts Romney is not just what he said but how he said it. His tone just reeks of contempt. Plus, he seems entirely comfortable and confident in what he’s saying, far more “real” than he is on the campaign trail. I don’t know if it will cost him the election, but it surely doesn’t help him to win over wavering voters. Instead, it does, as Doug states, reinforce every negative meme out there about Romney being a rich, smug, out-of-touch white guy.

    I can’t say it it any differently, or any better than that.

  152. jukeboxgrad says:

    anjin-san:

    his rich father gave him stock that paid for his elite college education

    Yes. And speaking of riches, these tapes are so rich with material that no one has mentioned this:

    I have inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have, we earned the old-fashioned way

    This is a good moment to remember some things Ann Romney once said in an interview, years ago. Describing their college experience, she said “they were not easy years … we couldn’t afford a desk … [we were] struggling students … we were living on the edge … [we] learned hard lessons.” In the same interview she also admitted that they both had “wealthy” parents and that they were both unemployed by choice because they were able to live off the stock portfolio handed to them by George Romney. As far as I can tell, this was where their money came from until Mitt got his graduate degrees from Harvard at age 28. As far as I can tell, Mitt never worked until he was 28.

    So when Mitt says “earned the old-fashioned way” he means ‘Daddy handed us lots of money.’ And this happened long before Daddy died, so Mitt’s claim (“I have inherited nothing”) is true but only superficially.

    More about that interview here.

  153. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “So this is the synthesis of two ~70-year-old Right Wing memes, projected back on an 18th century Scot to lend it some patina of authority.”

    I read that in wikipedia as well (before I posted my remarks). The construct of my quote was in the substance and not in the necessarily giving the proper reference to everyone who supposedly contributed to it. Go back to your sandbox, Matt, and try throwing sand elsewhere.

  154. jukeboxgrad says:

    The construct of my quote was in the substance and not in the necessarily giving the proper reference to everyone who supposedly contributed to it

    Fake but accurate.

  155. Andre Kenji says:

    Again: Romney is doing the same errors that Dukakis did. This video has the same effect of Dukakis answering Bernard Shaw about the death penalty for someone that killed and raped Kitty Dukakis.

    The problem is not a matter of policy. It´s a matter that someone may ask if he has a heart.

  156. Dazedandconfused says:

    Doesn’t happen often, but my initial reaction to it was exactly like Joe Scarborough’s was. It sounded like a different person. Someone being sincere and talking from the heart. There were none of the usual small hesitations and the tone wasn’t the same. The difference is about that of how one talks to other adults and how one talks to children.

    I have been wrong about Mitt. I thought he didn’t stand for anything. Now I am convinced he does. Why did John mop the floor with him last time? John, agree with him or not, believes in something, something he isn’t embarrassed about.

  157. sam says:

    @jan:

    You know, Jan, I’m be far more worried that we’re well on the way to fulfilling the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

  158. Rob in CT says:

    I read that in wikipedia as well (before I posted my remarks). The construct of my quote was in the substance and not in the necessarily giving the proper reference to everyone who supposedly contributed to it. Go back to your sandbox, Matt, and try throwing sand elsewhere.

    Wait. You saw that the “quote” was misattributed before making a post the included the misattribution, and this somehow makes me (not Matt, who are you talking to?) a child (playing in a sandbox)?

    You are utterly delusional.

  159. mattb says:

    @jan:

    I read that in wikipedia as well (before I posted my remarks). The construct of my quote was in the substance and not in the necessarily giving the proper reference to everyone who supposedly contributed to it.

    Really… Thanks for incontrovertible proof of of how intellectually dishonest you are. You *knew* that it was an incorrect attribution and you chose to do it any way.

    Fact just don’t matter do they. That’s why you continue to LIE about things the president didn’t say or repeat bullshit talking points.

    You are intellectually dishonst and you are intellectually lazy. And, quite frankly, you are exactly what is wrong with the populist conservative movement.

    The thing is you didn’t *have* to attribute it. You could have simply posted the words. But, no, you chose to post false information because it suited your argument. Winning at any cost, and the truth be damned.

    That says so much about how little fact matters to you (something we already know from the number of times you have continued to post incorrect information, even after corrections.

    Jan, I used to think you tried to be honest and open minded. The fact is you don’t care about being honest. You’re pathetic and I feel truly sorry for how self delusional you are.

  160. jukeboxgrad says:

    That’s why you continue to LIE

    Yes, Jan is a liar (example).

    It’s important that we speak plainly about these lying liars who lie. The GOP is packed with liars, all the way from the very bottom to the very top. Serial, brazen, shameless liars. Hardly an hour goes by without another vivid demonstration of this sad reality. And it’s entirely natural and predictable that the leadership and the base would become increasingly congruent, in this manner. Everyone eventually gets the leaders they deserve, and leaders eventually get the base they deserve. Birds of a feather etc. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to watch a party flushing itself down the toilet.

  161. Rob in CT says:

    And here’s the other thing… this:

    From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
    From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
    From Courage to Liberty
    From Liberty to Abundance
    From Abundance to Selfishness
    From Selfishness to Complacency
    From Complacency to Apathy
    From Apathy to Dependency
    From Dependency back into Bondage

    Doesn’t make any sense. I’m familiar enough with the fall of The (Western) Roman Empire to know that this wasn’t really what happened at all. Or the switch from Republic to Empire, if you want to pick that point instead. This just doesn’t follow.

    Athens? Wasn’t something like 90% of the population of ancient Athens denied citizenship? Didn’t they keep getting into wars with other city-state protoempires, until finally the Macedonians showed up? This has to do with the welfare state how?

    It’s nonsense.

  162. Alanmt says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Yes, it is nonsense. Nonsense from people who have had no interest in history or the study of government or civilizations but suddenly feel they are qualified to offer as truth the ridiculous, often simplistic opinions they heard or read somewhere that comfortably fit into their prejudices and ostensibly support some sort of political point they wish to prove. Yet another example ofthte Dunning-Kruger effect at work.

  163. jukeboxgrad says:

    sam citing Reagan:

    The Earned Income Tax Credit is the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.

    An excellent article in the Economist about how this works:

    … the genius of the “they-don’t-pay-income-taxes” complaint is that it takes the tax cuts that were implemented in order to get poor people off of welfare and encourage them to work, and uses them to accuse poor people of being shiftless and dependent on government. This creates a sort of permanent resentment machine, a renewable fuel source for class warfare of the rich against the poor.

  164. Rob in CT says:

    It reminds me of another likely-apocryphal quote, often attributed to robber baron Jay Gould:

    I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

    This was never sourced properly, so I doubt he said it, or at least put it quite so crudely.

    It’s also known as divide and conquer. “See that schoolteacher? She’s trying to take your cookie!”