For a long time, I felt like a voice in the wilderness with all my talk of hate, hate, hate. With the release of the secret 47 percent tapes, that seems to be all that anyone else is talking about too.
“There is no amount of backtracking and truth bending that can make this right,” Charles Blow writes in The New York Times. “It’s just wrong. It’s not just the patently false implication that half the country is parasitic. It’s not just the bleak view that they wallow in victimization. It is also his utter dismissal of this group: ‘my job is not to worry about those people.'”
“The furor,” the Times’s Kristof adds, “also reflects the central political reality today: the Republican Party has moved far, far to the right so that, on some issues, it veers into extremist territory.”
And it’s not just card carrying liberals. Feeling the election slipping out of their hands, many stunned Republicans are outraged with Romney too. In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan lets fly with her soaringest and most Reaganolotrous rhetoric to rebuke him:
That’s too small and pinched and narrow. That’s not how Republicans emerge victorious—”I can’t win these guys.” You have to have more respect than that, and more affection, you don’t write anyone off, you invite everyone in. Reagan in 1984 used to put out his hand: “Come too, come walk with me.” Come join, come help, whatever is happening in your life.
You know what Romney sounded like? Like a kid new to politics who thinks he got the inside lowdown on how it works from some operative. But those old operatives, they never know how it works. They knew how it worked for one cycle back in the day.
They’re jockeys who rode Seabiscuit and thought they won a race.
I was stunned too. Because it looked to me that Romney was gearing up to press the moocher thing as hard as could, but with a racial subtext.
Many Republicans believe that Obama is a redistributionist, yes, but as they see it, the objects of his largesse are immigrants and people of color. Not only does Obama apologize for America, he uses its wealth to pay reparations. In that sense, he’s not just stealing from the rich but from poor whites too, who worry that they’re not getting their fair share. That was the argument that Romney was building up to with all those fake welfare reform ads, I think–that Obama is taking your treasure and giving it to them. But then he let the cat out of the bag with that startlingly huge percentage, as much as admitting that he views poor whites with no less contempt than he does poor blacks.
His stupid Hispanic joke aside, the funny thing is that the tapes provide evidence that Romney is less of a racist than he might appear; deep down, he only cares about money–an attitude, ironically, that might cost him his presidential hopes. But for all that, I have a feeling that the election is still up in the air. There is a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to class identification that will go far to mitigate the damage. Ask a random non-Federal income tax paying white Republican voter in Mississippi or Kansas where all the entitlements are going, and they’ll tell you about the welfare royalty in New York and Chicago. Most of the people that Romney insulted have no idea that he was talking about them.
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