I’m sure by now you’ve seen excerpts from the infamous Romney video where he is speaking to a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser. The remarks are striking to me because of what they — and recent polling — say about the collapsing GOP view of our social contract.
Here it is:
Here are some key excerpts:
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.
Hmm. Does Romney think people not entitled to food? Let them eat cake!
My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful….
No, he’ll never convince those 47% that they should take personal responsibility and feed themselves. Seriously! Then again, Romney probably won’t convince anyone of anything because he is one of the worst communicators to win any party’s presidential nominees in US history. Then again, he’s made a good living not worrying about “those people” — all 150 million of them!
If I can “name it” then I’m also interested to know whether Romney thinks people are entitled to cleaner air and cleaner water — and a livable climate. Or are those matters of “personal responsibility” too? In regulation-free Romney-land, corporations are apparently entitled to do whatever they want (see “Permitting Poison In The Air Means More Money For The Romney-Ryan Campaign“).
Is there no “personal responsibility” not to poison people, not to foul the air and water? Isn’t Romney the guy who said corporations are people?
The Washington Post points us to a fascinating June Pew poll in its analysis of the nonsensical politics of Romney’s callous remarks, “Most independents believe the government should guarantee food and shelter.” I know it is hard for Romney to believe that those independents actually care about their fellow human beings. After all, what’s in it for them? Are they their brothers’ keepers?
The Pew poll noted that partisan polarization has increased in several areas of the social contract — no more so than in the area of the environment.
Republican agreement that we need stronger laws and regulations affecting the environment has collapsed. But other polling suggests this is mostly the Tea Party crowd who get their “news” from right-wing media — see “Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming.“ After all, Yale reported this year that “75 Percent of Americans Support Regulating CO2 As A Pollutant.”
Conservative columnist David Brooks writes in his debunking column, “Thurston Howell Romney“:
Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.
How much has the Republican Party changed? Here is Teddy Roosevelt in his famous 1910, “New Nationalism” speech in Osawatomie, Kansas:
… the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part….
I guess he’d be called a socialist today.