There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.
…my job is is not to worry about those people.
-Mitt Romney, speaking to wealthy supporters at a closed-door event. (Source)
Mitt Romney has announced (quietly) that if elected then half the country can go suck wind for all he cares. Now, the actual truth is probably worse than that. This paints a rosy picture where he actually cares about the concerns and needs of a whopping 53% of the electorate. I don’t buy that for a second. But even among his closest supporters, he couldn’t very well announce exactly narrow his area of concern is without making some of them wonder if they’d actually make the cut or not.
Now, a lot of words have been spent on how and why that 47% figure is a lie in the first place, so I’m not going to rehash them. It’s a monstrous lie to say that 47% percent of the country doesn’t pay into the system at all, but it’s an even more monstrous lie to say that the people who pay the least taxes (in terms of actual dollars per person, not percentage) have the least “skin in the game”, as the right-wing pundits put it.
Skin in the game refers to a stake in a wager. It refers to a level of personal exposure and risk.
The people who can’t afford to pay income taxes… the people who have no income, or who are living at a subsistence level (or slowly dying at a sub-subsistence one and hoping that things get better fast enough)… these are the people whose skin is in the game. These are the people whose futures and lives are being wagered by right wing social engineering schemes like the ones Paul Ryan so famously proposed.
Mitt Romney has never had any real exposure to risk the way a working class mother or a homeless vet has or even an unemployed white collar professional has. His skin has never been in the game. His neck has never been on the line. I mean, that’s where the phrase comes from. Your skin’s in the game. You’re exposed to danger if things go badly. It’s “skin off your back” if you lose.
If you can run a company into the ground and sell off its assets and walk away richer for having done so, that doesn’t mean you have more skin in the game. It means you’ve convinced a lot of other people to trust you with their stakes, and you did really well by a few of them by doing terribly for everyone else.
But I digress. Mitt Romney does not say this same thing quite so boldly or baldly when he’s talking in front of the press, when he knows his words will be reproduced beyond his intended audience, and with good reason: it should not be possible for a person to say this and then get elected
But it is. Let’s not for one second lose sight of that fact. I’ve said before that there is no amount of being horrible, no amount of race-baiting, no amount of lying and doubling down on lies and no amount of raw undisguised scorn or apathy for the working classes that will prevent Romney from being elected if we don’t vote against him.
And here’s a big part of why: Romney has insulted half the country, but he didn’t identify any specific person as being in that half. How many people with a roof over their head any kind of an income are going to see Romney talking about people who want the government to take care of them and don’t want to work and think he’s talking about them? There are people who are on full disability, or who have been laid off, who have been out of work for years and are receiving what benefits they’re still entitled to who will bristle when they hear about this 47%, not because they think Romney is insulting them but because they know he isn’t, he’s talking about those people, the ones who aren’t really sick or aren’t really looking for jobs, the people who aren’t as bad off as we are but somehow get handed all the benefits we have to jump through hoops for.
He could make that speech to a hundred Republican voters who were all picked to present a perfect representative cross-section of the economic status of the country, and no one would hear it and think, “Well, if that’s what he thinks of me then I guess I’m done with him.” Because even though by definition 47 of the people in the room would have to be included in his chimerical 47%, none of them would be hearing themselves in his word. No one would be connecting the disdainful way he describes people who need jobs or public assistance to how hard it is for them to get those things
I’m not saying that this kind of talk won’t sway independents. In fact, it will. Interestingly enough, the Romney campaign is giving up on independents and% trying to appeal more strongly to their base, but at the time this private speech was made… well, if you read the article linked as the source you’ll see that he took the time to explain to his supporters that the reason he wasn’t speaking such “truths” in public was it would alienate the independent voters… people who might identify themselves as part of the 47%, or do the math and realize how unlikely it is that no one they care about or admire or need or respect could fall into that scornful demographic.
I need it to bold ‘who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing’
I am beyond speechless, but at this point, is there really more than needs to be said about what kind of person he is?