So Mitt Romney says, "I'm not concerned about the very poor…" Oookkkkay…I'm just sayin, as Piers Morgan on his show this evening said, "There's no need to know the context of this statement or what comes after it. Why would those words come out of his mouth?!"(my paraphrase) The problem is, it's not just foot in mouth disease with Mitt. THIS IS HIS MESSAGE. All he had to say was, "I'm concerned with the middle class…I don't care about the very wealthy. They, meaning I, can take care of themselves." Instead, Romney has just alienated both parties with his statement. Liberals are like: You heartless bastard! You don't even care about the plight about poor people! This is my daughter's position. She said, while watching the evening talk shows with me, eating the chocolate brownies we made, that she doesn't like Mitt Romney and thinks he shouldn't be running for president. "He's not nice. We need to care about the poor people because they don't have any money…because they're poor. I want to help the poor people mommy!" A child after my own heart. Conservatives on the other hand, are not "against" the poor. They feel, as Rick Santorum puts very well, that welfare programs destroy the work ethic of the poor and actually are not beneficial to them in the long run. They think entitlement programs cripple the poor and want to limit the time people spend on the public dole; hence the welfare reform acts of the 1990s.
However, as James Carville puts it, Mitt's statement only feeds a rapidly forming narrative that he has no connection whatsoever with regular people. He makes $10,000 bets, pockets $42 million in 2 years from dividend income alone, he likes to fire people, he can't have illegal immigrants working for him, not because it's wrong, but because he's running for office, and…he "knows what it's like to get a pink slip"….yeah…right..uh huh…you keep on thinking that.
Mitt Romney has a single job as the Republican frontrunner: to keep the country focused on Barack Obama's dismal record. Comments like this one distract from that purpose in two ways. They put Romney on the defensive. Of course I care about the poor, he now must say. (There are 46 million of them after all, even if they don’t vote much.) They also make it much harder for him to paint the president as out of touch when he looks out of touch himself. Predictably, Romney has been hit from the left for his insensitivity and cluelessness. From the right, commentators say his answer doesn’t sound very conservative because it seems to accept the permanence of the safety net. Newt Gingrich naturally pounced on Romney’s mistake. Citing the remarks in a rally Wednesday, Gingrich said he was “fed up with politicians dividing Americans.”
Dickerson goes on to make the point that Obama made a similar mistake in '08 with his infamous "cling to guns and religion" statement, which republicans have NEVER let him forget. Since we apparently have two somewhat detached candidates, Dickerson asks who does better at connecting with everyday, average americans? Well, I just re-watched a clip of Obama where he talks about buying his first condo with his wife. Now stop there. That he didn't buy a single family house, but a condo for his first home, is mighty middle class. Upper middle class, perhaps, depending upon where they bought it, but middle class nonetheless. He then goes on to say that looking at the closing contract made their heads spin; and remember, he and Michelle are both lawyers! Now I don't know about you, but buying my first house was rough. I got tooken (ebonics for taken) by a house flipper who sold it to me with all sorts of problems, and did all sorts of slimy stuff (so much that I wrote a song called Don't F**k with Me" to let off a little steam). The contract was literally a one and a half inch thick stack of legal size papers. There's no way I understood everything in it that first go round. So I connected personally with the presidents experience.
When I was in 8th grade there was a class trip to Spain. I didn't go for a variety of reasons. But one of the kids did go. There was a deposit of $1500 that you had to bring in. Well…one of the kids did this: he walked into spanish class, pulled out of his jeans pocket a crumpled piece of paper that took me a while to figure out was a check for $1500, and handed it to Señora Elena Lopez, our teacher. He did this like it was nothing. I was astonished and had no idea how to deal with what I had just witnessed. I was 12. So was he. I'd never seen a check for anything like $1500, and certainly not all balled up and messy like that. That check would be like Willy Wonka's golden ticket or something; angels would start singing as I held it. I couldn't just crumple it up like that. THAT'S MITT ROMNEY. He doesn't even have any IDEA what his words mean! You can think whatever you want, but you don't let the words, "I don't care about the poor" come out of your mouth, you idiot! You, Mitt Romney, have earned the standard catch-phrase of this blog: REALLY?!