Mitt’s “Macaca Moment”

Wow. Just wow.

By now, half of America has seen and heard the surreptitious recording of Romney telling a group of well-heeled donors that 47% of Americans would vote for Obama no matter what because they were non-taxpaying moochers who depend on government for handouts.

A few thoughts–none, I’m sure, original.

First of all, in an age of pervasive digital technology, why on earth would anyone be stupid enough to say something like that? No matter how congenial the group, no matter how hand-picked, in today’s world the odds of your “confidential” statements staying confidential are exceptionally low. The days when political candidates could say one thing to one group and something very different to another are long, long gone–and failure to realize that is probably as great a sign of being “disconnected from reality” as the actual sentiments being expressed. Ask George Allen (he of the “macaca moment.”)

Second, how immensely ironic that a man who pays far, far less than his fair share of taxes would characterize people who don’t pay taxes as moochers. Forget how inaccurate and unfair his statement was–forget the fact that even people who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes¬†nevertheless pay all manner of other taxes, from payroll taxes to sales taxes to gas and property taxes. Forget the fact that most of us in middle America not only pay income taxes, but do so at a far higher effective rate than Romney. Here is a man running on a platform that would decrease his own tax liability and the tax rate of people like himself; a man who has used offshore accounts and other tax avoidance strategies, and who has defended that behavior by saying he’d be stupid to pay more than he owed, denigrating ¬†Americans who don’t pay because they don’t owe. (And where are¬†your tax returns, Mitt? How do we know you paid anything in those years you refuse to release?)

Finally, this dismissive and self-satisfied man seems utterly oblivious to the extent to which he and his wealthy donors are themselves “moochers.” Recent articles have detailed the extent to which Romney and Bain used debt and public subsidies of one sort or another. It is particularly distasteful to watch crony capitalists who have benefitted from multiple public and private privileges crow about how they are “self-made” men. Can we spell “un-self-aware”?

Before the GOP convention, we were told the American public needed to be introduced to the “real Romney.”

I think we just were.


  1. Agreed. But it’s clear Romney is content to speak to one side of the country and one side only. And that side believes in the “welfare queen” myth-as-reality as much as it believes in the “apology” meme and on and on and on.

    The Romney defenders chalk this up to “liberal media bias.”

    It’s hard to argue a point with someone who rejects facts.

  2. Romney’s every word gives us an inside view of how he ran his business life and how he became one of the 1%. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth; sometimes both at once which tends to confuse all of us as to who and what this person really is – other than the most quoted liar in this country today. Coming from his mouth, the term “entitlement” is an insult. He has lost sight of the fact that the 98% spend our entire working lives paying into these funds and some are now reaping a very small portion of what we sowed.

  3. Beautifully put. A few tiny quibbles:
    – Surprisingly, a great deal of behind-the-scenes political talk does remain secret. I hope it will become outmoded soon, but this still remains a large part of business as usual.

    – Romney’s diatribe isn’t that outrageous when seen in the context of recent GOP scripts. “Makers vs. Takers” has ben a frequent theme on Fox News for the past 1 or 2 years. This is just another example of Mitt telling the crowd what his handlers say they want to hear.

    – Will this sink his campaign? Probably not, because of the above.
    Does it matter that the 46.4% pay other taxes? Nah.
    Does it matter that the “paid no income taxes” is more effect than cause? Or that those who “pay no income taxes” end up paying more *total* taxes than Romney himself paid? None of it will sway most of his base, since the more contrary facts they face, the more intransigent they become.

  4. Wasn’t his dressage horse worth a 77,000 dollar deduction from his taxes? More than I EVER made in a year and according to our tax refund, we paid 23% last year in INCOME TAX. That is not including the rest of the taxes we pay like state, local, and property etc.

    Who are the moochers here? ROMNEY and his oil tycoon NASCAR owners friends. They are the real moochers lobbying congress for more and more favors. Which makes me think that this is EXACTLY what the Republicans wanted, right? They kept lowering taxes so we are living their fantasy world nonetheless. Poor people be damned. Not only can they not afford food, health care or shelter, but are now being SHAMED for it. Yeah, that’s some Christian values, right there.

  5. The Romney gaffes are coming so fast that we can hardly keep score anymore. Mitten thinks there’s nothing wrong with what he’s saying–that’s the pathetic part. On the old vaudeville stages the guy with the shepherd’s crook cane would have pulled Mittsy offstage by the neck after the very first fumble! Not presidential stuff, me boy, not presidential at all!

  6. In terms of “Cronie Capitalists”, I think President Franklin Roosevelt said it the best, “Government by organized money is more dangerous than government by organized mob.” Mitt Romney fits this description of FDR almost verbatim. Im sick of tired of America being owned by the throwbacks to the guilded age and the Reagan cults (Tea Party). We have got to go back to FDRs New Deal philosophies are we are going to risk being in a disasterous state of nature with an even longer recovery. No more deregulations, no more tax cuts, no more intolerant social orders, and finally no more centristism. Its time for integrity, cooperation, and investment in human capital to become the new establishment.

  7. I agree completely with political stupidity, including saying a group of people cling to “guns and religion”, or, they’ll be wanting “alligators in the moat, or the ‘You Didn’t Build That’ chapter that still resonates.

    Former Governor Romney’s lack of disclosure on income tax returns prevents us from having all the information we need to make a decision. We have had a similar lacking in disclosure from President Obama in the Fast and Furious documents, requested of the White House by Congress, as well as the educational and health records that are traditionally expected of any presidential candidate (including those running in 2008).

    The reality of approximately 47% of America not paying federal income tax is that even if they chipped-in, we can’t pay for all our spending. The U.S. corporate tax rate is leading the globe or darn near. Sawing off the entire limb of the defense department amounts to 20+% of federal spending- versus 60+% devoted to entitlements. Whether Romney has horns growing out of his head and each American receiving a government check has a halo floating overhead- we still spend $4B each business day we don’t have. Seizing all the taxable income of the “evil rich” won’t be enough either.

    With genuine appreciation for a dead Osama Bin Laden, the necessity to encourage alternative energy, and a space program looking for a cheaper way- electing someone who managed the rescue of floundering businesses, seems like an improvement over someone who seems to lack experience in managing anything.

  8. I might concede your last point, except for that offshoring of everything to do so, including his profits, apparently.

  9. Won’t happen if he’s to bring us domestic jobs, will it? We can take a chance on the record of Governor Romney, or on an Obama administration giving us disarmed foreign embassy security as riots rage, American business sitting on their cash afraid to invest, and Canada moving towards China as suitor in lieu of a Keystone pipeline.

  10. Well, I’m afraid that Romney will allow Israel to start a big regional conflagration over Iran because he “owes” his prime benefactor. So, where’s an economy “fit” into that picture?

    Besides, security at embassies hasn’t changed. It’s always been this bad. Most just never notice. American businesses aren’t “sitting” on their cash. They are paying it out to valueless managers at a record pace. The Keystone oil is destined for foreign customers anyway. Why else pipe it to a port? And, that pipeline won’t create sustainable jobs for Americans. Ever seen large pipeline construction? Doesn’t take a lot of people anymore.

    Think Romney can “manage” a pushy China (over Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines)? Can’t offshore diplomacy very well.

    Should have come up with a better candidate. Could have, if a candidate didn’t seem to have to pander to so many fringes. I don’t want to take a chance on somebody who only seemed to be able to add value to his own portfolio. That won’t help me.

  11. I can’ disagree on economic “fit” in backing Israel. However, if that’s the lone criteria, why did we back Britain in WWII? When is the right time to go to war or to defend an ally (presuming the country and your president agree upon allies)? Even if to tell him, “No”, evidently meeting with Prime Minister Netenhayu face-to-face was judged to be not as important as Las Vegas and David Letterman.

    I’ll take your word for it that embassy security hasn’t improved. However, I’m not recalling as similar killing of a U.S. ambassador in the Middle East during the Bush era. Given the front-page importance given to the emails of Sarah Palin- seems like it would have plenty of coverage- but I may have missed it.

    It would be nice if “valueless managers” were the sole culprit for the stagnation of business growth, desperately needed to fund the President’s government expansion. A September 9th article in The Atlantic (usually not a GOP zealot), included these reasons: uncertainty, deficits, regulations, and taxes. I think these are concerns of most working Americans headed to the polls in November.

    Given the standard of death, flames and furor in President Obama’s Middle Eastern “diplomacy”, I don’t think President Romney can do any worse in Asia.

    I’m not a bit happy voting for either candidate. Out of our poor choices, I remain convinced in the overall standard of living in the competition of free enterprise capitalism, versus trying trying to reap socialism’s universal benefits from universal productivity (of human beings who are not universal). Neither way is free from corruption.

  12. Well, let me start with the UN non-meeting. Apparently the President didn’t meet one-on-one with any other world leader, so it’s not like his was rebuffing Nentanyahu personally. Second, sometimes one might want to ignore a particular leader in order to send a subtle message, diplomacy-style. In this case, I don’t know. Plus, these leaders didn’t come to the USA, they came to the UN. It’s a subtle distinction, nevertheless an important one.

    Now, when to go to war or defend an ally? Well, when they are attacked or we are attacked, that’s when. Not when one thinks they are going to be attacked, or not when the ally decides to take preemptive actions on their own. That is not (or should not be Gov. Romney!) the American way. Apparently, it may be Iran’s way, and I hope we are on guard for it.
    Embassy security has always heavily dependent upon the security forces of the host country. When that system breaks down, security suffers. This particular ambassador took a serious chance in an attempt to safeguard his personnel, and it ended in failure. Not all ambassadors are willing to toss the dice like that.
    Regarding the economy, what causes uncertainty, deficits, regulations and taxes? Congress does. Blaming a President (any President) doesn’t really address anything. Unfortunately, everyone in Congress sucks except MY Congressman and Senator (in most voters’ eyes). It is Congress that needs to changed, not the Presidency (necessarily).
    From my point of view, that someone else could not do any worse is a poor reason to vote someone out. What about the transition period where the new administrators have to learn their jobs? Sometimes, a little continuity goes down better than flip-flopping like a fish out of water.
    You may be right about your last paragraph. Hard telling. But, historically, a capitalistic system given free rein has turned out some pretty big stinkers over the last couple of hundred years, and I truly feel that some people are just waiting to perpetrate another one upon us at their earliest opportunity. Cynical of me, I know.

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