ONTD Political

And the hits just keep on coming.

8:37 pm - 09/17/2012
Today, Mitt Romney Lost the Election



You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president.

On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are victims." He laments: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

So what's the upshot? "My job is not to worry about those people," he says. He also notes, describing President Obama's base, "These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax."

This is an utter disaster for Romney.

Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them. Now, he's been caught on video saying that nearly half the country consists of hopeless losers.

Romney has been vigorously denying President Obama's claims that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class. Now, he's been caught on video suggesting that low- and middle-income Americans are undertaxed.

(That one is especially problematic given the speculation about what's on Mitt's unreleased pre-2010 tax returns.)

Corn tells us there are more embarrassing moments on segments of the video he hasn't released yet. Romney jokes that he'd be more likely to win the election if he were Hispanic. He makes some awkward comments about whether he was born with a "silver spoon" in his mouth.

But those are survivable. The really disastrous thing is the clip about "victims," and the combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who isn't going to vote for him.

Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are. This video provides an answer: He feels that you're a loser. It's not an answer that wins elections.

Sauce is Bloomberg.

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Mitt Romney versus the 47%

Over the past few years, Republicans have developed a habit of railing against the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay any federal income taxes. It’s a fairly misleading talking point, but it keeps resurfacing. And now Mitt Romney has picked up on it:





Mother Jones’s David Corn recently got hold of a leaked recording in which Romney, speaking behind closed doors at a fund-raiser, heaped a good dose of scorn on Obama’s supporters:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax. 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect… my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.


Let’s set aside the question of whether this is what Mitt Romney really believes deep down in his heart. Maybe this is what he thinks. Or maybe he just thought it was a good line to buck up jittery donors. What we can say is that the last part is wrong. There is no fair accounting in which 47 percent of Americans take no “personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Take this simple breakdown from the Tax Policy Center of what households paid in taxes in 2011:



Here’s what we have:

— 53.6 percent of households pay the federal income tax. Presumably Romney is okay with these folks.

— 28.3 percent of households pay no federal income tax, but they do pay the payroll tax. That means they don’t need Mitt Romney to convince them to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” They already have jobs. Most of the households in this group don’t pay any federal income tax because they qualify for enough deductions that their income tax liability has shrunk to zero. See this Tax Policy Center report for more, which gives an example of “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400. They get an $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700, and that takes their liability to zero.” Indeed, it’s worth noting that many of these deductions and credits were part of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which Romney wants to extend.

— 10.3 percent of households pay no federal income tax because they’re retired and elderly. Many retirees aren’t taxed on their Social Security benefits, which they earned by paying into the system over many years. If Mitt Romney secretly thinks that these households are all irresponsible freeloaders, he has a weird way of showing it, as he keeps insisting that he doesn’t want to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits for those over the age of 65.

— That leaves 6.9 percent of households which are non-elderly and have incomes less than $20,000 per year and aren’t paying the payroll tax. These poorer households pay neither income taxes nor payroll taxes. Perhaps Romney thinks that they should all pay more in federal taxes. It’s hard to say. But this is also a much smaller fraction of Americans.

Meanwhile, just as a reminder, the vast majority of Americans still pay state and local taxes — in fact, these taxes tend to be more regressive. When you add up all the different types of taxes, most income groups in the United States tend to pay an amount that’s roughly commensurate with their share of the national income. Here’s a relevant report from Citizens for Tax Justice:



The United States has a mildly progressive tax system, it’s true. In general, the rich pay more than the poor. But all groups contribute.

Sauce

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Obama campaign seizes on Willard's bout of verbal diarrhea, Romney campaign: "NO U."

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina says in an emailed statement: “It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”

Romney campaign communications director Gail Gitcho issued the following statement e-mailed to reporters: "Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. lololololololololol As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs."

via BuzzFeed.

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ETA: Mittens continues firing indiscriminately into both feet, claims what he said was not "elegantly stated." (Thank you, sio!)

ETA 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: There's now video of the "press conference" that Willard just stumbled his way through. (Thanks palebluedot09 and pseudovirus!)

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Editorial: The Real Romney Captured On Tape Turns Out To Be A Sneering Plutocrat

Presidential campaigns wallow so tediously in pseudo-events and manufactured outrage that our senses can be numbed to the appearance of something genuinely momentous. Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comments at a fundraiser are such an event – they reveal something vital about Romney, and they disqualify his claim to the presidency.

To think of Romney’s leaked discourse as a “gaffe” grossly misdescribes its importance. Indeed the comments’ direct impact on the outcome of the election will probably be small. Romney repeated the wildly misleading but increasingly popular conservative talking point that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. The federal income tax is, by design, one of the most progressive elements of the American tax system, but well over 80% of non-retired adults pay federal taxes. But most people hear “income taxes” and think “taxes,” which is why the trick of using one phrase to make audiences think of the other is a standard GOP trick when discussing taxes. For that very reason, it won’t strike many voters as an insult: Most people who don’t pay income taxes do pay other taxes, and fail to distinguish between them, and thus don’t consider themselves among the 47% scorned by Romney.

Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”) BURRRRRRRRNNNNNNN

It is possible to cling to some version of this dogma and still believe, or to convince yourself, that cutting taxes for the rich or reducing benefits for the poor will eventually help the latter, by teaching them personal responsibility or freeing up Job Creators to favor them with opportunity. Instead Romney regards them as something akin to a permanent enemy class – “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Romney explained to reporters tonight that his remarks were not "elegantly stated," but did not repudiate them as his true beliefs. In fact, it was quite eloquently stated. The Romney speaking to fundraisers was not the halting, smarmy figure so frequently on public display but an eloquent and passionate orator. He had no reason to believe his donors needed to hear him denounce the poor — they would have been perfectly satisfied with a bromide about how cutting taxes on the rich will create opportunity for one and all. Instead he put himself forward as the hopeful president of the top half of America against the bottom.

Some pundits have likened Romney’s comments to Barack Obama’s 2008 monologue, also secretly recorded at a fundraiser, about his difficulties with white working class voters in rural Pennsylvania. But the spirit of Obama’s remarks was precisely the opposite of Romney’s. While Obama couched his beliefs in condescending sociological analysis about how poor small town residents vote on the basis of guns and religion rather than economics, the thrust of Obama’s argument was that he believed his policies would help them, and to urge his supporters to make common cause with them:

But the truth is, is that, 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.</i>


Obama was aspiring to become president of all of America, even that part most hostile to him, in the belief that what they shared mattered more than what divided them. Romney genuinely seems to conceive of the lowest-earning half of the population as implacably hostile parasites.

The revelations in this video come to me as a genuine shock. I have never hated Romney. I presumed his ideological makeover since he set out to run for president was largely phony, even if he was now committed to carry through with it, and to whatever extent he’d come to believe his own lines, he was oblivious or naïve about the damage he would inflict upon the poor, sick and vulnerable. It seems unavoidable now to conclude that Romney’s embrace of Paul Ryanism is born of actual contempt for the looters and moochers, a class war on behalf of his own class.

This sauce is the New York Magazine.

Feel free to link me to other opinion pieces and statements, _P, and I will gleefully add them to the post. Watching this unfold and go viral has been glorious.
hammersxstrings 18th-Sep-2012 04:56 am (UTC)
lol did you see a quote from his interview about the RNC speech?

I figure if somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get.


i have half a mind to think he may have been half fucking with them lol
lord_cellytron 18th-Sep-2012 05:13 am (UTC)
Haha, that would be epic if it's what he was doing.
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