Down The Romney Rabbit Hole

The combined effect of Mitt Romney’s political blunders has likely destroyed his chance at the presidency.


THE STATEMENTS MADE by Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney that were captured in a video released earlier this week by Mother Jones are troubling in two regards.  You can consider Romney’s statements as a political gaffe – the less troubling approach – or you can take Romney’s statements as condemning evidence of his authentic beliefs.   

For those who have not seen the video, it catches Romney addressing a group of wealthy campaign contributors, during which he said that there are 47% of Americans “who pay no income tax.”  Those people, according to Romney, “are dependent upon government,” “believe they are victims,” and “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”  Romney then made it clear that his “job is not to worry about those people.”

For the Romney/Ryan Ticket, these statements were a gaffe in this sense: the statements were made at what was supposed to be a closed-door, private Republican fundraiser.  The political fallout from this video’s release is not about what Romney said or even that Romney said it – indeed many backing Romney believe the same thing.  What is damning for the conservative strategists is that Romney’s statements were revealed to a more general populist who don’t share those views.  The cat was let out of the bag.

In this way, Romney’s blooper is similar to Todd Akin’s rape comment.  Here is how the two accidental-truths are similar from a campaign perspective:  Akin actually believes a woman’s body can biologically reject rape-sperm as much as Romney actually believes lower-income families are not worth his political attention.  But what troubled Akin’s and Romney’s respective campaign’s most is the fact that each candidate’s statements were made out loud and were heard by people outside close Republican circles.

Thankfully for the Romney Party, gaffes don’t typically decide voter’s minds.  Political scientist John Sides, from The Monkey Cage, compiled a compelling chart that reflects the public’s response to both Obama’s and Romney’s gaffs.  It is surprising to see how little each candidate’s electability changed in the wake of their political blunders.  (Whether Romney’s combined gaffes –insulting Great Britain, insulting the London Olympics, and hastily responding to the Libya and Egypt attacks, to name a few – have ended any realistic chance he had at occupying the White House might be a different story.)

But what really matters about Romney’s statements is not that they are making headlines.  What really matter is this:  Romney actually believes what he said about Americans.

Romney’s statements came during a time when he thought the cameras were off; he was behind closed doors at the Boca Raton home of a wealthy private equity manager.  Romney was among friends and colleagues (or so he thought), he was among other Republicans who share his beliefs, and his guard was down.  Given that, Romney had no motive to conceal his most genuine views about his political ideologies.  This was not an Aunt Sally moment or political set up.  Instead, this was Romney being Romney.  

Let that sink in for a moment.  Romney believes that nearly half the American people are freeloaders who consider themselves entitled to government handouts, and who do not deserve a place within his political dogma.

Romney – a gazillionaire – has been criticized for his lack of connection with middle-class Americans (just think Romney’s Swiss bank accounts, his Olympic show horses, his outsourcing, his blind trusts).  Romney’s current statements are the most recent example of that disconnect becoming apparent.  Americans are now becoming more and more skeptical of whether they can trust Romney, and question who the real Romney even is.

There is the pro-choice Romney, and then there is the pro-life Romney.  There is the pro-individual mandate Romney, and then there is the anti-ObamaCare Romney.  There is the back-room dealing, closed-door handshaking, tax return-withholding, Romney, and then there is the Romney, who not long ago during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, when primetime television cameras were rolling, said “MY promise...is to help you and your family.”

Only one thing is for sure at this point: Romney really, really wants to be President of the United States.  Or, at least he wants to be President for all but 47% of us. 


Trent Latta is a Kirkland attorney and may be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ken James September 21, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Julius -- If you want to have a discussion about economics, you need to spend time learning the issues. No honest economists dispute that lower taxes lead to a healthy economy. Consumers drive the economy and less tax expense will result in more consumer spending. Do you really believe that Romney is merely looking out for his own personal interest? Financially, the job of president would represent a huge pay cut so I doubt that he is in it 'for the money'. Both he and President Obama are running because they love the country and want to see it prosper. They have very different ideas and principles, but they are driven by love of country, not more money for themselves.
Ken James September 21, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Greg... You can't use the comment "Not taking either side" to inoculate yourself if you constantly 'take a side'. You have a pretty clear track record that can be revealed if you merely read the comments you have written in response to the political articles. If you aren't "taking a side," how then would I know that you are a left wing Democrat even though we've never met? ...not that there's anything wrong with that.
Ken James September 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Question Mark; Thanks for giving me permission to "think what I want". I prefer to think based on facts... like these which show you are incorrect: http://www.statjump.com/lists/public-assisstance-dp3c123ts.html But more importantly, common sense and general observations reveal that the Democrat party promises "better benefits" and the Republican party promises "better opportunity" You've probably noticed that demographically, the most ardent, immovable, Democrat base are those who want the monthly check instead of a job. I certainly can understand that the Republican party would not be attractive to that group. Those who seek the upper rungs of the economic ladder are more more likely to see the benefits offered by the Republicans.
Greg Johnston (Editor) September 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Wrong again Ken, I'm not a member of any party at all. I would urge you to read my comments for the words they are and not between the lines.
Ken James September 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Greg, I wasn't talking about your registration status, I was talking about your ideology as represented by your commentary. I too am an Independent.
Saira V. September 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM
This election boils down to two choices--liberty or tyranny.
Greg Johnston (Editor) September 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Ken, you're right about only one thing in reference to me: We have never met. My comments here represent no ideology other than that of a sometimes frustrated editor. But I can categorically state that I am neither a Democrat nor "left wing."
Trent Latta September 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Hey Dude, Mitt Romney is an attorney. Trent
Joy Woodcock September 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Let the fact that Romney really Believes what he said about the 47%. He had his guard down, was around like minded people and could be himself. Do we really want a president that thinks so little of 47% of the people he plans to govern and represent. Is this the kind of people we have become? To hold such contempt for nearly half of your constituants and then smile and try to brush off ones beliefs as simply another gaffe is insulting. We each need to stand up and Make a Noise, because this is not ok. We must not forget the truth we heard. In the upcoming weeks the Republicans are going to throw a lot of "gorilla dust" and try to distract us from the truth we witnessed. Do Not let this happen. Republicans are counting on us or at the least 47% of us to be to lazy, irresponsible moochers to hold what we know to be true and take action. The Republicans are hoping that by marginalizing us and by attacking our self-esteem and self-worth as human beings, as Americans we will just lose steam and fold. As a culture we identify ourselves as Americans who never give up and never leave anyone behind. Now more than ever we must stand up and be counted, and help your fellow American stand up and be counted because unlike Romney we never leave our own behind. Mitt Romney just left 47% of us behind and we must never forget.
Saira V. September 22, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Edwin, you understand the issue- Romney promotes American liberty while Obama seeks to let USA down.
Local Guy September 22, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Nope, you got it wrong. Sorry...
Bob Smith September 23, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Just wait until next year when our dollar falls due to the government printing money. We can then hand out a million dollars free to every person. It's nice to be generous but what are we being generous with? Paper money? Notice the emergency preserved foods being sold in stores now? Better buy it now before the printing presses go into high gear. Look up the definition of ponzi scheme then take a look at how social security is set up. If you or I were to do the same thing, we'd be arrested. Wake up people!!
Jeffery Owen September 23, 2012 at 07:59 PM
"always be on one's guard", like when Obama promised so much and we got so little?
Jeffery Owen September 23, 2012 at 08:01 PM
"lies they've told us", like the lies we have gotten form Obama? What ever happened to, "If I cant do this, it will be a one term proposition"?
Jeffery Owen September 23, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I believe he wants to be president to remove Obama from office.
Jeffery Owen September 23, 2012 at 08:05 PM
This is a good vetting pocess. At least we are hearing more about Romney before an important election than we ever heard about Obama before he was elected.
Jeffery Owen September 23, 2012 at 08:12 PM
The comments I read here are all good, but when we take a detour off the map of what is really important to our future, like the $16T in debt that both parties have accumulated, social issues act as an effective distraction. We are headed down the tubes, here in America and in the rest of the world and if we don't get our fiscal house in order we won't be able to debate abortion or who we marry.
Don September 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Big, well, it's better than talking out of your bigyaz! LMAO!!
Don September 23, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I agree. Mitt offers us Liberty and Obama offers us tyranny.
Don September 23, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Trent, Why do you feel the need to end your dribble with, Trent, when Trent is already at the top of the page?
Jeffery Owen September 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Continued focus on how much and who pays taxes is a distraction from the real issue of the many in this contry that depend on entitlements.
Robert Martin September 26, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Tony, I believe your comments are pretty spot on. Politics has always been ugly, but I believe the media has done us an injustice by being biased for the last 10 years or so telling us what we should believe. I was always told by my Father to vote for the person that is best qualified and can do the job regardless of their party. I also believe that there are too many special interests groups on the left and right that lobby way too hard on on single subject politics rather than looking at a candidate as a whole. If Americians would look at things from what is right for America rather than what is right for me, we would be better off.
Keith Best September 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The quality of the NFL refs now in the game are akin to a community organizer overseeing the world's largest economy. NOBAMA2012!
Lise October 03, 2012 at 07:44 PM
2008 the national debt was? Now? 2008 price of gas was? Now? 2008 unemployment was? Now? 2008 Food stamps users? Now? 2008 Free cell phones? Now This is just a sample check it out before you vote. CHANGE?
Eagle October 05, 2012 at 10:23 AM
This 'political reporter" Latta is not really reporting, he's representing himself as merely a mouthpiece for the extreme leftwing. What's up with that?
Eagle October 05, 2012 at 10:28 AM
Here's what I heard about why Gov. Romney wants to be president: He is a turnaround specialist. And unless you live under a rock, everyone knows this country NEEDS a turnaround. Romney has said that b/c he's been involved in turning around large failing organizations (the Olympics, for instance) for a long time, he feels strongly that he should run for president to offer those skills to the country because our country is ailing at present. That's exactly what we need at this time in our history, from a presidential candidate. Democrats should recognize this unique talent of his and appreciate that aspect. It couldn't be more important for the times we find ourselves in.
Eagle October 06, 2012 at 07:00 AM
John Kerry and his wife were said to have close to a billion dollars when he ran. Romney reportedly has 1/4 of that, a relative pauper compared to the pompous one, John Kerry. So when people say "Romney's too rich", know that you're simply being played yet again by democrats, who will say anything to win----even if it's a ridiculous statement and they all voted for John Kerry in '04 without caring at all how rich he is.
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Lise, in very few words you have asked the best questions while bringing across the most profound points. Liberalism fails everytime it is tried. Obama spews about spending and how he is going to cut the deficit in half, while expanding the deficit by 400%, then he continues to speak about cutting the deficit. Obama is either mentalyy retarded are a Manchurian candidate that hates this country. The writer of this column had no interest in answering your questions cuz he is an ideologue who is in the tank for Obama and who happens to be an idiot. Romney/Ryan 2012 for real change.
tom m October 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Bill Clinton telling crowd in Parma that Romney Is right http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeBCWLGoJb0
Tom Jamieson October 19, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Nope, Obama's finished alright. ;)


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