“My dad . . . was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico, and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this.” Mitt Romney’s rather lame effort to make rich donors laugh comes from the same talk he gave in which he asserts that 47 percent of Americans “will vote for the president no matter what” because they are dependent upon government, believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. . . .And the government should give it to them. . . .These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Acknowledging his remarks were “not elegantly stated,” Romney is standing behind their substance. And well he should, as the image he paints of a nation in which almost half the people are freeloaders being carried by the half who produce the wealth is a dominant, if sotto voce, theme in his campaign.
As David Brooks points out in this morning’s column, the comments betray Romney’s ignorance of America. Most government beneficiaries are the elderly poor, disabled veterans, the unemployed, and the working poor – who do pay payroll taxes. Romney’s campaign increasingly reveals a party for whom a united nation has become as much of a pariah as the United Nations.
Whether Mr. Romney is himself part of the 47 percent, we do not yet know.