Thursday, February 02, 2012

The brilliance of Romney

Top tier politicians aren't stupid and Mitt Romney didn't become a multimillionaire master of the universe for lack of brain power. Also, he's surrounded by the best strategists money can buy. So, let's take it for granted that his asinine-sounding remarks to Soledad O’Brien on CNN  were not a gaffe, but a deliberate message to hard-working middle class people who --let's put it bluntly-- don't want their president to worry about poor people. 

The shrewdness of Romney's approach seems to have been overlooked by the elite liberal media. After the jump you can see John Stewart, and Gail Collins ripping him to shreds, but missing the point entirely.

Romney knows that middle class people resent poor people. We say to ourselves, "We did everything right, like going to school and finding work, whereas they did everything wrong. So why do we have the same standard of living?"

True, poor people may have also done everything right, but been brought down by bad luck, but Mr. Middle Class Voter doesn't care. The way he sees it, the poor guy is a screw up surviving on hand-outs, and it makes Mr MCV furious to see that the poor guy does not seem to be worse off. They have TVs! And Xboxes! And air conditioning!  How dare they!

Romney knows this, and in his remarks to O'Brien, he masterfully tapped into it.

John Stewart:

Gail Collins:

Let’s deconstruct his entire remarks:

I’m in this race because I care about ... (tiniest of pauses)... Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. ...

I don’t think he actually meant to suggest the very poor were not Americans. But still.

We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. ...

Does anybody truly believe that Romney is planning to spend any presidential time dreaming up ways to fix the safety net for the benefit of the very poor? Be real. This is the guy who drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof.

I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. ...

Gee, he should know.

I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who, right now, are struggling. ...

Difficult as these times are, I don’t think 90 percent to 95 percent of Americans are struggling. If they were, the whole country would look like a scene out of “Contagion” or “The Walking Dead.”

We will hear from the Democrat Party (about) the plight of the poor. ...

Not really. If we had a dollar for every speech President Obama has given about the poor, we would ... not have a lot of money. However, it is interesting to hear a candidate directly attacking the opposition for being concerned about the destitute.

And there’s no question, it’s not good being poor. ...

Here, Mitt Romney demonstrates his capacity for empathy.

And we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans. My campaign — you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich. That’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor. That’s not my focus. ...

This is the third time in less than two minutes that he’s mentioned that he does not really give a fig about the people who make under $5,000 a year.

My focus is on middle-income Americans: Retirees living on Social Security. People who can’t find work. ...

Whoa! Do you think he’s suggesting that the very poor do not have a problem finding work? That they’re too lazy to look? Or does he just figure that they’re all disabled, or children, or old people who don’t get Social Security? That would be pretty harsh. And weird, if he’s trying to say: “I only care about the elderly if they made enough money to qualify for Social Security. The rest are doing fine under government programs.”

Folks that have kids that are getting ready to go to college. These are the people who have been most badly hurt during the Obama years. We have a very ample safety net, and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps. We have Medicaid. We have housing vouchers. We have programs to help the poor. ...

Romney seems obsessed with the idea that his enemies are spreading rumors that he’s going to be devoting his presidential campaign to proposing new programs to help the poor. Really, I do not think this is going to be a problem.

But the middle-income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now. And they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.

That’s the end. Rest assured that Mitt Romney is not going to be spending a single second fretting about the problems of really, really poor people. His supporters can breathe a sigh of relief. Now all they’re going to have to worry about is the fact that he’s going to keep talking like this for the next nine months.

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