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 donâ€™t think there is any way to spin the release of this video as a positive for Romney, but I do think â€” and I said as much on Twitter â€” that now that it has happened, Romneyâ€™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 â€œgaffe.â€ Romney is now in a position that he has to bring the fight to Obama on the entitlement state. He canâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t vote for me. I never said I didnâ€™t want to help them. I never said I wouldnâ€™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 canâ€™t find them and the countless more whoâ€™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.)
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 â€“ 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.