He should have known that off-the-cuff remarks are always dangerous. Sometimes little bits of truth, like so many crumbs, drop into the cuffs — only to come out later in the wash and cause embarrassment.
In fairness, patrician gentlemen like Romney can’t be expected to do their own wash, and he probably wasn’t aware of the cuff danger when he spoke unbuttoned to wealthy donors.
Unfortunately, his remarks were recorded and the video was given to Mother Jones magazine, which despite mother in its title is a left-wing publication that some people think — to use the word “think” in its most exaggerated sense — despises mothers and is against apple pie, too.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney says in the video. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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.”
To further show his rich friends that he shares their contempt for ordinary Americans, Romney said that 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax and that his role “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney now admits his words weren’t “elegantly stated.”
Well, as someone who is inelegant every day, I was just glad to learn that we the people are we the moochers. I have worked all my life, but I am just as guilty as anyone. Goodness knows I like to think I take personal responsibility, but I realize that my whole life is one of subservience to the government here in the United States of Mooch.
Look at what I did today: I got up and had cereal, no doubt the result of farm subsidies; had some tomato juice with the government-mandated nutrition information; jumped into my car with all its socialist safety equipment, such as air bags; and took government-maintained bridges and roads (not well-maintained, thank goodness, giving me the chance to die as an independent citizen in a bridge collapse) all the way here to the word factory.
And what did I find? A workplace maintained according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, leaving me with no chance to breathe asbestos. At lunch I had some chicken, also subject to government oversight that deprives me of the fun of contracting a bacterial disease.
Is this the life of a free man?
Of course not. It would be much better if I rode a horse to work, perhaps a polo pony from the Romney stable, one that came with one of those dandy mallets ideal for hitting the heads of passing ingrates — you know, the people who think they are entitled to eat and have health care just because America is one of the richest nations on Earth.
How brave of Romney to come out and say this, albeit in private. This is leadership. I look forward to the day when I retire and can sit freely in front of my very own hovel, earned with the sweat of my own sentence construction, and fan myself with a Medicare voucher given to me by that nice young man, Mr. Ryan — that being all the voucher will be good for.
It was thoughtful of Romney to be so forthright about his views on his fellow Americans. All the embarrassing phrases that Barack Obama has said — “cling to guns and religion,” “spread the wealth around,” “you didn’t build that” — had to be creatively embroidered or taken out of context to make political hay.
Not with His Royal Mittship’s pronouncements. They are the stuff of immediate campaign slogans: “I’m OK and I Won’t Worry About You,” “Get a Job or Get a Trust Fund,” “Not a Bar of Government Soap for America’s Great Unwashed,” “Blame Yourself, Victim.”
Still, some of Romney’s supporters may worry that showing disrespect to 47 percent of the American people is not the best recipe for victory in November. Not to worry. While journalists are not good at numbers, I know he can win over the other 73 percent of Americans with his uncompromising views.
As for that cat thrown among the pigeons, it was not previously strapped to the top of the Mittmobile, as the government-loving, victim peasants will claim.
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.