Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Romney Follows in Obama's Footsteps in Making Statement Ridiculing Average Americans

William Kristol of the Weekly Standard pens an article noting the similarity between Mitt Romney's statement that 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes are dependent on government and wouldn't support him anyway with a statement then presidential candidate Barack Obama made four years ago in which he ridiculed Democratic voters who might vote for his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who had a much stronger appeal to blue collar workers:
Mitt Romney
"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. And it's not surprising then 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."
Obama's statement at the time was rightly seen as a gaffe as is Romney's.  Both displayed an ignorance of who their potential voters might be.  For Romney, many of those 47% he managed to insult would, and still may be, his voters on November 6th.  There are a lot of senior citizens, the unemployed who can't find jobs, students getting an education to improve their chances in the economy, who are Republicans but are not now paying income taxes.

The fact is both Obama and Romney are elitists, candidates who do not have a strong appeal to working-class Americans.  That Romney would make a gaffe is nor terribly surprising.  He spent the primary season stumbling from one gaffe to another, despite facing an extraordinarily weak field of opponents.  Romney's real weakness is that he is firmly entrenched in the old-line GOP establishment.  His 47% statement is the antithesis of the populist principles represented by Tea Party Republicans and Reagan Democrats.

The GOP missed a golden opportunity to nominate a Republican who could appeal to average working Americans.  In the most populist era in decades and facing an opponent who could have easily been cast as someone out of touch with working class Americans, Republicans managed to nominate maybe the least populist Republican in America.  And you know what?  Romney may still win. At the end of the day, this election is about President Obama and the economy. 

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