[Note: I don't often blog two days in a row, but yesterday's Mother Jones/Mitt Romney interplay demanded a response. Or, put another way, I'm a little pissed off today....]
This morning I feel compelled to defend Mitt Romney.
Most of you know that I don’t do that very often. Even as a Republican I find many of Romney’s gaffes embarrassing, and I wonder (too often) if the inarticulate voice of George W. Bush whispers in his ear. It sure seems like it.
Still, this whole Mother Jones thing is way overblown. Here’s how I see it: Romney was talking at a fund-raising event hoping to pick a few greenbacks from a few backseat wallets. Plain vanilla stuff, and an occasion at which you would expect the Mittster to hit the usual aggressive talking points. After all, this is the base we’re talking about here--and the part of it with money.
So Mitt hits the room’s collective amygdala with the standard mythology. Nothing new here; nothing outrageous. However, the liberal interpretation is anything but. What Mother Jones wants us to believe (and which I heard echoed this morning by George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America), is that Mitt Romney doesn’t want to (or need to) worry about those “47%.” That’s simply not what he was saying. What he was saying is that he doesn’t need to worry about getting their votes. He’s not going to, anyway, and he’s right: he shouldn’t worry about it. Does he think that those people are “victims?” Does he think that those people are married to “entitlements?” Maybe a little bit. Did he choose really crappy words? Absolutely (and there’s that Bush homunculus raising its head again). But I’ll repeat myself: What he really said was nothing new, nothing surprising. I interpret his comments thusly:
People who are going to vote for Obama—47% of the voters, by the way—have bought into his vision, the Democratic vision, that emphasizes government-sponsored entitlements and that allows people to live their lives without being held accountable for their actions. Our vision—the vision I’m asking all of you in this room to support—is different. It’s a vision of responsibility and empowerment, one that doesn’t depend on the government, but on the individual.
But, hey: who's going to donate money if he says that?!?
So why is this such a big story? Well, why not? We’ve got lots of news hours to fill and, in fairness, the Mittster has conditioned us to pay attention to the way he says things (since he so often uses the English language as if it were a on a collision course with a tractor trailer). Still, let’s not forget where the story came from. Mother Jones—for all that I respect its journalistic thoroughness—makes no bones about its agenda. It wants to find ways to embarrass Romney.
The bottom line here is that there’s no bottom line here. This is a whole lot of “Tuesday, nothing” (to quote a very obscure reference from The Fugs), one that creates the appropriate Pavolovian slaver that we all seem to enjoy. Now: can we please move on?