Not a Gaffe

This morning the Republican Party, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, found itself in a very deep hole. And it appears they’re going to keep digging for a while. I say this because the Right doesn’t seem to grasp why what Mitt said on the “parasite” video is so outrageous.

For example, Daniel Foster writes at NRO:

I don’t think there is any way to spin the release of this video as a positive for Romney, but I do think — and I said as much on Twitter — that now that it has happened, Romney’s only play is to turn into the approaching torpedoes at flank speed, Marko Ramius style.

In other words, the more fully Romney owns these comments the less the press can report them as a “gaffe.” Romney is now in a position that he has to bring the fight to Obama on the entitlement state. He can’t coast on poor economic indicators. Which, I think, is to the good, since the polls are showing that that is not a guaranteed winner, anyway.

So Mr. Foster worries that the press will report Romney’s parasite rant as a “gaffe”? He thinks that’s the worst that can happen?

A “gaffe” is meeting with Ed Miliband and calling him “Mr. Leader.” In the video, we hear Romney going on and on about nearly half of the citizens of the United States being parasites who are beneath his concern. And he was speaking clearly, articulately, and with great conviction. That was no “gaffe.”

So often when speaking in public Mitt adopts the expression and tone of a nervous man trying to placate a snarling dog, whereas in the video he sounds both relaxed and passionate. One suspects this is a speech Mittens has made many times before, to close friends and family, and that he believes every word.

(BTW, Foster suggested that Romney explain his remarks this way —

I said they probably wouldn’t vote for me. I never said I didn’t want to help them. I never said I wouldn’t do everything I could as president to make sure that 1 in 7 of them are not on foodstamps, to get jobs for the 8 percent who can’t find them and the countless more who’ve given up.

However, the thrust of Romney’s economic argument these days is that government cannot get people jobs; that government is supposed to get out of the way so that “freedom” can grow the economy. Perhaps this theory needs more work.)

See the abbreviated pundit round-up at Daily Kos for a nice sampling of the reaction to Mitt’s hitting the fan. Even Mark Halperin and David Brooks are disgusted.

But I want to go on to a couple of other points. First, please do read “The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney” by Tim Dickinson, if you haven’t already. This happened in 1995 —

The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain’s debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney’s firm owed the government.

Read the article for the details. I’m saying that if a low-income disabled veteran receiving VA benefits is a “parasite” in Mitt’s book, then by comparison Mittens must be a world-devouring monster. Especially if you add the money Mitt drained out of the federal government to run his Olympics — which helped Mitt professionally if not financially — I bet Mitt has benefited from more federal “hand out” dollars in his life than all the citizens in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, combined. Easily.

Second, if the Right really wants to wade into the “entitlement” argument, I say let ’em. Let them be clear that they see Social Security and Medicare recipients as “parasites.” Let them be clear that the child born with birth defects benefiting from SCHIP, the disabled veteran in the VA hospital, the 6 million elderly whose nursing home bills are paid by Medicaid, are “parasites.”

C’mon, righties, that’s how you think. Come out and say it. Have the courage of your convictions. The fact is, a big chunk of the people who vote for Republicans are parasites in the eyes of Republican politicians, and it’s high time they realized that’s what you think they are, wouldn’t you say?

Update: Michael Walsh at NRO, “Mitt’s Gettysburg Moment.” Unreal.

18 thoughts on “Not a Gaffe

  1. The same people who really are, but don’t think they are, part of the 47% Mitt’s talking about, because he clearly means “The Others” and not “Them,” are the same chowderheads who went on Medicare scooters to Tea Party events to scream “Keep your Government hands out of my Medicare!”

    And what a wonderful direction the country might go in, if only the older white retirees realize that Mitt’s including “Them” with “The Others.”

    And an even better country if Joe and Jane Sixpack – Republican voters, tried and true – were to realize, that in their fervent hopes to make life more difficult for “The Others,” they were also feckin’ themselves and the little Sixpacks along with ’em.

  2. “The fact is, a big chunk of the people who vote for Republicans are parasites in the eyes of Republican politicians, and it’s high time they realized that’s what you think they are, wouldn’t you say”

    No doubt, though I wonder if anything would change their attitude toward our current president. Many of these folks have been raised to hate, they come from backgrounds that are modest at best but see themselves as a step ahead of the stereo-typical “welfare mom”. I doubt Willard will lose too many of them, the real threat to his candidacy is the people in the so called “middle” who have some education and can see this man for what he really is, finally?

  3. Without seeing Mitt’s tax returns, how do we know HE’S not secretly one of the Obama-supporting 47%ers who don’t pay any taxes?

  4. Also too – Mitt Romney said Monday evening that his comments about voters who don’t pay income taxes were “not elegantly stated.”

    How, exactly, do you ‘elegantly state’ that you think 47% of the people in America are parasites?

  5. It takes a lot to disgust David Brooks.

    Romney and his zombie-eyed followers are the parasitic “welfare queens”. How many of these swine ACTUALLY “created wealth”? Damn few. Some scraped coal or oil out of the earth– sometimes Federal land. Some inherited it. Some were lousy businessmen but got richly rewarded for it anyway. The true wealth CREATORS– many from hollywood and silicon valley; some from less-storied locales- are more often in the Dem camp than with the GOP.

  6. Michael Kinsley’s definition of a gaffe is that it’s when a politician tells the truth. In that respect, it’s absolutely a gaffe, in that Romney clearly believed what he was saying.

    The difference is that most of the time we understand that for something to be a gaffe, it has to slip out accidentally. A gaffe is C.J. Cregg on the West Wing saying that the President was “relieved” to be talking about something that matters – something that she recognized as sounding horrible immediately after she said it. Romney clearly meant every word of this, expounded on it at length, and showed no sign that he wanted to retract a word of it.

    • The dictionary definition of “gaffe” is “faux pas” or “a clumsy social error.” It’s drinking from the finger bowl. We’ve been expanding the definition quite a bit lately.

  7. Jeez, could the NRO be any less relevant? Who TF is “Marko Ramius” and why should I care? If he died of severe injuries to his flank, that’s damn bad advice to Mittens anyway.

    The fact that so many righties are in a tizzy after just 24 hours, well, it gives me hope that Mitt is done for and no mistake. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Nate Silver’s numbers the next few days.

  8. Sure, Mitt might have phrased things more elegantly — and certainly would have had he known there was a rat in the audience

    Who was the rat in the audience … The American public?

    gulag….I’m sure there must be a way to express loathing for the American people with eloquence

    • I’m sure there must be a way to express loathing for the American people with eloquence

      For some reason, this sentence made me think of William F. Buckley.

  9. I found this fascinating. In an earlier column than the one linked in your next post (“Keep Dreaming, Baggers”), Jonathan Chait quotes at length Obama’s similar-yet-opposite “gaffe” from 2008:

    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.

    Chait concludes: 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.

    There it is, right there.

  10. It’s generally true that people fear/dislike people they reason are in their same class economically and socially more than they fear people who are not their peers. I guess it can be called ‘competition.’ So, people who think of themselves as part of the 47% fear/dislike others in the 47% who seem to be getting ‘more’ than they are.

    As for Mitt. Fred Allen would say of Mitt, “The last time I saw him he was walking down lover’s lane holding his own hand.”

    And, then there’s this from my latest Harper’s Index (off topic, sort of) – It would take the average American household 20,786 years to spend $1 billion. I’ve been thinking about this for days. We hear of the monstrous divide in this country between the haves and the have-nots, and that little tidbit of a statistic really puts a giant glossy bow on monstrous divide.

  11. But, but, Felicity, the Lord hadn’t even created The Heavens back 20,186 years ago, let alone the Earth and Adam and Eve (NOT SYEVE!), or the dinosaurs for them to ride like lumbering lizard DUV’s.

    So, either your math is off, or we’re paying people even less than we think, since 6,000 years doesn’t bring you even a third of the way to $1 Billion.

  12. cund – just think how the poor guy worth $69 billion, there is one, lives in Mexico I think, must agonize daily on how he can possibly spend his billions before he croaks.

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