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Joe Conason: Mitt Romney’s Sneering Farewell to the ‘47 Percent’

By Joe Conason |

Trying to explain away his decisive, sweeping and very expensive rout to his disappointed supporters — those 1-percent Republicans — Mitt Romney offered a new version of the discredited “47 percent” argument that was so ruinous in its original form.

In a Wednesday afternoon conference call, the defeated Republican nominee told donors and fundraisers that President Barack Obama had won by lavishing generous “gifts” upon certain groups, including young voters, African-Americans and Latinos.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” said Romney, after apologizing for losing what he called a “very close” election (he lost by more than 100 electoral votes and more than 1 percent of the popular vote, perhaps as much as 4 percent when all the state results are eventually certified).

“Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because, as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2009. ... Likewise, with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called DREAM Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

It’s amusing that at this late date, the Republican who distanced himself from health-care reform claims that Obamacare helped Obama win.

Remember, Romney vowed every day to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he clearly knew was bad policy but believed was good politics. He and his fellow Republicans thundered about the president thwarting the will of the people by pushing through Obamacare — yet now he wants to use it as an alibi because it was so popular. Keeping up with his constantly conflicting, endlessly convenient, versions of reality was never easy.

Now before dispensing with Romney for good — as most Americans (including many Republicans) are understandably eager to do — it is worth noting that these churlish excuses to his donors represent the ultimate falsification, not only of his campaign but of his own character.

Recall how he disowned the “47 percent” remarks when he realized how damaging they were to his chances for victory, telling Sean Hannity on Fox News that what he had been caught saying at a $50,000-a-plate Boca Raton fundraising event was “just completely wrong.” His mea culpa was factually accurate, of course — as we have discovered again lately with the news that so many food stamp recipients reliably vote Republican. Those who don’t pay income tax include plenty of Republicans, especially the elderly on Social Security and military personnel on active duty and poor white evangelical voters who simply don’t earn enough. They also include thousands of wealthy Romney supporters who, like their candidate, have learned to manipulate the tax system.

But as a matter of feelings rather than facts, Romney evidently cannot stop himself from sneering at society’s struggling people and the politicians who seek to improve their lives. It is not as if the donors he was addressing don’t want “gifts” from government — such as the big new tax breaks that Romney had promised them, the huge increases in defense spending that would swell their profits, or the various individual corporate favors that they regard as their very own “entitlements.” Just don’t expect that kind of honest introspection from Romney or his crowd.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him. Follow him on Twitter: @JConason.




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» on 11.16.12 @ 10:22 PM

The Republican field of presidential candidates has been a disaster for over 12 years now. Who can forget this years cast of characters and loons ?
Michelle Bachmann-.“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?”
Rick Perry on the BP spill- “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that can’t be prevented.”
Herman Cain- an associate Baptist minister. 13 year extramarital affair and numerous sexual harassment allegations.
Rick Santorum-“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob ... Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image”.
  There is lots more lunacy in the GOP primary speech archives, but ... well ... you get the idea.
  Oh, and who can forget the braying of IKE (AN50)and Petry here on Noozhawk? Pounding their chests and showing us their dubious political acumen in predicting earth shaking election results in favor of the GOP. Ooops.

» on 11.17.12 @ 01:29 PM

I totally agree.  LittleWilly, you are so right - and please DO NOT misinterpret the following as sarcasm…it is not. 

I certainly called that wrong.  Wow.  That said I am now thinking that this was a great result.  I’m actually looking forward to the next four years.  I am looking forward to increasing resistance to any Federal – from just the lowly worker bee ,who becomes fearful of saying that they are a Federal, to the highest level of bureaucrat – maybe, perhaps help them begin to feel fear.

I’m looking forward to the collapse of the American economy – don’t take this as sarcasm.  I really AM looking forward to its collapse.  That means I look forward to the collapse of Food Stamps, Social Security (I opted out a long time ago), Medicare, the Dollar, the Central Bank, Unemployment benefits…heck welfare in its entirety,  I even look forward to massive defense cuts.  I look forward to increasingly broad Wash DC power grabs that actually lead to heavy civil resistance against Federals. 

The America I knew is now no more…that may be the best thing ever.  Because I have a sneaking feeling that more and more people will begin to push back, and push back hard.  The left always pushes until they get slapped.  And I am now seeing that happen all across the nation.  Even better, I am praying that those States that are not Federal Welfare States, like California, begin to reassert their rights under the 10th Amendment.  Am I calling for the destruction of the Federal system?  No, not really…kinda, but not really.  But I will certainly participate in the effort to castrate it.  We are a nation that is at war with itself.  Not since the Civil War has there been such polarization…and we all know where that led.  But out of that horible war a stronger nation was born.  It later mutated into this abortion we have now.  But it was strong at one time.  So I say to you Republican and Democratic progressives, “Go baby, Go!  And I am one hundred percent behind Obama.”  And please remember this – history ALWAYS repeats itself.  LittleWilly you now have an Obama convert on your side of the tent.  Go Baby Go!

» on 11.17.12 @ 02:52 PM

Pope Bogus wants a civil war
he feels the country’s blighted
he wants to scare some federals
and get you all excited.

He rubs his sweaty palms around
and twitches his butt muscles
anticipating things to come
street brawls and barroom scuffles

For he has been pushed far too far
and lost all of his sanity
He longs to be an action star
like rough and tough Sean Hannity!

» on 11.17.12 @ 03:37 PM

I’m with ya 100% dude.

» on 11.17.12 @ 07:07 PM

Were the donosaurs compliant in their demise?

» on 11.17.12 @ 08:14 PM

No…but I bet they had fun.  I’m looking forward to it.

» on 11.17.12 @ 11:54 PM

One more for ya , Petri, lest you forget 2008.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4478156n

» on 11.18.12 @ 01:04 AM

Cool vid.  Love it.

» on 11.18.12 @ 04:10 AM

“Just don’t expect that kind of honest introspection from Romney or his crowd.”

So, I am suppose to believe this kind of honest introspection is forthcoming from Obama or his crowd, such as asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. Of course, all two earner families that happen to make more than $250,000 are now millionaires and billionaires. Never mind there are about 400 billionaires in the US.

Besides soaking the rich, I would challenge anyone to give me any specific proposals on which Obama campaigned. Associating the word, “introspection” with politicians of any stripe is an oxymoron if I have ever seen one.

BTW, although Obama is promising not to raise taxes on the middle class, many people are conveniently forgetting that he has already done so. If anyone needs to be informed of the specific taxes, let me know.

» on 11.20.12 @ 07:13 PM

Of course any tax hike on the wealthy in a down economy will be passed on to the poor and middleclass, something the left will never admit to if they even have a clue.

» on 11.20.12 @ 07:55 PM

AN50, embrace it.  Join us as we push for far higher taxes to solve our ills.  I can think of som many statutes and regulations that need to be in place but a California VAT should definitely be part of the mix.

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