As Mitt Romney tried to reboot, reset, restart his campaign this week, he did something he hasn't done since he announced his intention to run for the presidency....he committed truth. It is an unforgiveable, unpardonable sin because the entire Republican strategy has been to "not" be Barack Obama. They key component of that strategy is "not" to say anything specific...not offer alternative policy...not explain the Romney/Ryan fiscal policies and just remain "not" being Obama. The goal was to run against the economy and avoid letting this be an election of choice between two competing visions. That was the intention....up until now.
In front of folks who paid $50,000 a plate, Romney told the truth. He is now paying the price. Romney announced there were 47% of the American people who were never going to vote for him and would cast their ballots for Obama. True. He said they look to government to help them navigate an economy which ate up their savings, home equity, jobs and hope. True. He said he,"...doesn't worry about these people." True. He reminded his audience many of these people don't pay income taxes. True. He promised to cut many of the tax breaks for the working poor and middle class to reduce the size of government. True. If what he said was true, why is he taking so much heat?
The last thing regressive Republicans want is an honest debate about the direction of this country. Truth is their kryptonite. They don't want to admit their real agenda because they know the votes of the 1% cannot take them to the White House. Romney lifted the curtain to reveal what the wizard is really up to and now his party is scattering like roaches when the light's turned on.
The remarks Romney made which are really killing him came after the above. He claimed this pro-Obama, government dependent 47% saw themselves as victims, (this is bad for some reason), and they refuse to take personal responsibility for their lives. These greedy, ungrateful, leaches think they have a right to food, health care, shelter, clothes and he is here to tell America he won't let that happen. He won't let the 1%'s taxes go up to support these cretins. He won't allow them to "redistribute" wealth from the 1% to the 47%. He will keep the great unwashed in their place by cutting everything from food stamps to Medicare to Medicaid. He will keep them from "burdening" industry with clean water and clean air regulations and Wall Street with demands for reform and transparency because they feel "entitled" to breathe clean air, drink clean water and not be on the hook to bail out the thieves who occupy Wall Street.
Romney seems offended by Americans who feel victimized. How could anyone come to such a conclusion? The same Americans who were lied to and stampeded into two wars are the same middle class and working poor who saw trillions (with a T) of their tax dollars used to bail out banks and Wall Street, and watched as Congress failed to help them stay in their homes or help with the financial burden of educating their children. As tuition skyrockets in state schools and the U.C. system, there is no money to help. There is plenty of money for big business and industry, the Dow is rocking and corporate profits are rolling, but the middle class has lost 10 years of financial gain and Romney says they are greedy and feeling entitled. How could any reasonable person conclude the game is rigged and not in the favor of the 47%?
This is the same Romney; bemoaning the fact many Americans pay no income taxes, who refuses to release his tax returns to show he isn't one of them. This is the same Romney who has used Swiss bank accounts and accounts in the Grand Caymans and Bermuda to reduce, if not eliminate, his tax burden on millions in income. This is the same Romney who wants to cut tax rates 20%, on top of the Bush tax cuts he would make permanent, for the 1% without explaining how he would pay for this grand gesture. This is the same Romney who would have to raise taxes on the middle class and cut programs for the 47% shredding the social safety net they need at the moment. (how could they feel victimized?)
Of the 47% cited by Romney, 18% pay no income or payroll taxes and most of them are elderly receiving Social Security benefits which they did pay taxes on most of their lives. Another large group are children and of those who didn't pay income taxes, almost 25% paid payroll taxes. This means they are working, but not making enough to warrant taxes or they benefit from the earned income tax credit which kicks in for working Americans earning less than $28,000 a year. (something Romney/Ryan promise to eliminate)
In full damage and spin control, Republicans say bring on the debate. This election should be about two different visions for America. Obama envisions an America where college is affordable... students aren't burdened with so much debt it follows them for the rest of their lives...health care is available for everyone...the roll of government is to make sure the vast wealth created by capitalism doesn't just accrue to the 1%, but raises all boats. Romney/Ryan see a nation where its survival of the fittest (thank you Ayn Rand)...caveat emptor (are the food and drugs we ingest safe or not?)...a nation where the federal government is weak, regulations rolled back, industry given free rein and wealth goes to the wealthy. They yearn for a return to the Gilded Age (look it up), of Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller and Harriman when there was no income tax, no inheritance tax, no payroll tax, no strong federal government. They strive for a world with no F.D.A. or S.E.C. A world where what is good for Wall Street is good for America. This is what this election should be about according to the Republicans, well so be it. Because of Romney's slip, their real agenda is on the table. They don't care about the
worst off in America (Romney's words). They resent all these handouts. They object to all these programs for people who won't take responsibility for the fact they are poor and struggling.
Obama has to welcome this debate. Finally the true parameters of this election have been revealed. Romney/Ryan aren't trying to grow the economic pie. They aren't seeking the White House to turn the economy around for average Americans. (They don't care about them according to Romney) They are running, in George Bush's words, for the haves and the have mores.
Former Texas Governor, Ann Richards once commented George Bush was born on third but thought he hit a triple. Romney's comments show a disdain and disrespect for working and middle class Americans which is breathtaking in its scope. He has defined the last 2 months of this campaign as about two visions. BRING IT ON !!