A top advisor to Mitt Romney said Tuesday that the controversy over the GOP nominee’s comments about President Obama’s supporters as dependent on government and not paying income taxes would blow over.
“It has to,” said senior advisor Kevin Madden, though he said that whether the dust-up would subside was partly dependent on the media. “I think we’ve put in context the focus of the voters out there. And the voters I think are really focused on the big issues related on the economy and the direction of the country. And if we keep our focus on that, then I think ultimately we’re going to be in a better position to win on election day as a result.”
Take a breath, Washington. It’s too early to write off Mitt Romney…
Americans are hurting, and the president owns this economy. Two more unemployment reports are due out before the election. “It’s not over for the simple fact that the economy means [Obama] has a national ceiling of about 51 [percent],” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who has witnessed the premature burial of many candidates…
Romney is not a good politician, and his staff’s performance has been uneven at best. But these are not dumb people. Odds are they’ll figure out a way to pull out of this spiral and shift attention to a more positive narrative. A series of policy speeches might do it. And there is the important fact that Republicans are girded to outspend Democrats by a sizable amount this fall: A killer ad or an innovative get-out-the-vote operation could make a difference in a close election.
“I’ll relax when Karl Rove wakes up one morning and realizes that Mitt Romney can’t win the White House, and he needs to throw all his money at other races,” the [Democratic] adviser told POLITICO hours after Mother Jones posted hidden video of Romney describing Obama supporters as a government-dole-addicted 47 percent of the population who will never vote for the Republican.
“Until Rove does that, we are going to get outpaced by two to one, at least, by these super PACs. Add a couple of good debates for Romney, and the fact that he’s doing well in North Carolina, and [Paul] Ryan’s put Wisconsin in play — there’s your tight race.”
Far from a gaffe, Romney’s remarks reflected both a long-standing belief among conservatives that the nation faces a “tipping point” in which growing dependency will create an insurmountable electoral majority for big government — and Democratic candidates. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney’s running mate, has delivered similar arguments for years. “We risk hitting [a] tipping point in our society where we have more takers than makers,” he said recently. “President Obama’s policies are feverishly putting more people into the column of being takers than makers … being more dependent.”…
That language pointedly echoed arguments from the Ronald Reagan era, when Republican claims that Democrats supported a redistribution of income from the hard-pressed middle class to the idle poor helped the GOP make enormous inroads among whites, particularly those in the working class. Those disputes between the parties receded as Bill Clinton promoted welfare reform and tough measures against crime, but hard times have brought them back to the surface in recent years…
GOP pollster Whit Ayres says that focus groups still find a powerful response to the basic argument Romney delivered in his taped comments. “Much of what he was saying in the tape is stuff we hear in focus groups all the time — where people are complaining there are too many people who are not carrying their own weight and too many people living off the sweat of others,” Ayres said. “The fundamental message that we have too many people taking and not enough people giving is very consistent with a majority of voters in this country.”
The Romney campaign should double down on what he said. They should own it. The trouble for the left and media (but I repeat myself) is that most Americans agree with Mitt Romney. Most Americans consider themselves part of the 53% and it is not a winning proposition for Barack Obama to convince Americans they are less than they think they are when most Americans already recognize he has made them less than they were.
Team Romney should force this debate onto the national stage. They should not walk it back. The American people are with him. It is the perfect time to remind people that Barack Obama, who authored Obamacare, wants to now be the arbiter of people’s fair share. To Obama, fair share means you fork over your money so others can have a life of government dependency. Romney’s point about government dependency ties perfectly to the dreadful economic news of late and is a perfect pivot back to that.
In fact, one of the least appreciated differences between the Republican and Democratic conventions is that the GOP put people on stage who had succeeded in life and the Democrats put a bunch of people on stage portrayed as victims. This all goes perfectly together.
Someone working in a meat processing plant in Omaha, Nebraska makes about $12 per hour. That’s $24,000 per year. Throw in some overtime, and maybe he makes close to $30,000. Now deduct the nearly 8% that goes to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Imagine that this guy is lucky and his employer provides health benefits, of which he pays some of the cost. He’s married with two small kids. His contribution is around $250 per month. Now his actual monthly take home pay is $2,050 each month. Rent is $800. Car insurance for one car is $100. According to the USDA, a very frugal family of four can survive on a food budget of $600 per month. They get their clothes, furniture, and appliances at Walmart, and with rigorous budgeting only spend $100 per month.
Okay, now our imaginary American who is working more than 40 hours a week at a physically taxing job has $400 per month that isn’t spoken for. He wants to be independent, so he forgeoes a cell phone and has no internet connect and no cable TV (which together might cost $200 per month). He never goes to Starbucks. He never has a beer after work with friends. His family never eats out. They take no vacations. But wait. His car, which is an old one that he prudently paid $2,000 for two years ago, breaks down. And one of his kids gets sick. And his wife needs monthly medication.The $400 evaporates quickly…
So, to return to Romney’s crude comments, yes, they are “takers,” but it is absurd to say that they’re not also “makers.” More importantly, it’s an insult to suggest that someone working more than 2,000 hours per year at a necessary and unpleasant job is somehow mooching off the “producer class.”
“I don’t know what he was referring to but I can tell you this. When I won in 2008, 47% of the American people voted for John McCain, they didn’t vote for me. And what I said on election night was, ‘Even though you didn’t vote for me, I hear your voices and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be your president.’ And one of the things that I’ve learned as president is you represent the entire country. And when I meet Republicans, as I’m traveling around the country, they are hard-working family people who care deeply about this country. And my expectation is if you want to be president, then you’ve got to work for everybody not just for some.”
Via the Daily Rushbo.