Mitt Romney has found a new spin for the resounding chorus of boos he triggered at the NAACP on Wednesday. At a fundraiser in Montana that night, Romney boasted about the boos to a very different crowd, saying: “If they want more stuff from the government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”
Given Romney’s fraught history with the organization — Mother Jones reported yesterday on his antagonistic relationship with the Boston NAACP while governor — invoking the “welfare queen” stereotype against NAACP members who support Obamacare is tone deaf, if not a deliberate attempt to stoke conservative resentment against so-called government freeloaders.
The “free stuff” comment is a mantra Romney uses often. Just last month, in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Romney scoffed, “Everybody likes free stuff, but there is no free stuff.”
The Rachel Maddow Blog cites several more examples:
A few months ago, for example, the GOP presidential hopeful responded to questions about contraception access by saying, “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy.” Soon after, Romney complained that Obama is trying to buy students’ political support by offering them “free stuff.”
There is a pattern to this. If you’re a woman who wants access to preventive care you might not otherwise be able to afford, Romney sees you as wanting “free stuff.” If you’re a young student who can’t afford higher-ed tuition, Romney assumes you expect “free stuff.”
And if you’re an African American supporter of the NAACP who wants your family to have access to affordable health care, Romney suspects you’re just looking for “free stuff.”
Of course, no one will receive free health insurance under Obamacare; the law makes health care more affordable for working and middle class families through tax credits. But everyone pays into the system to ensure that the government does not have to pick up the tab of the uninsured.