During presidential campaigns, the candidates are usually very circumspect: careful and deliberate in their comments, wary with reporters, and measured in tone. Every once in a while, however, those same publicly prudent candidates will speak the truth about how they really feel, usually when they think they're in private among friends and supporters. And often, those are the comments that are the most illuminating.
On April 6, 2008, at a closed-door San Francisco fundraiser, Barack Obama said this:
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
It turns out that that's exactly how he saw us. It was then no mystery that that's how he has governed: with strategies designed to divide us by class, race, age, and gender.
On May 17, 2012, at a closed-door Boca Raton fundraiser, Mitt Romney said this:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what..These are people who pay no income tax.... [M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Romney was 100% percent correct. Let's break it down:
1. Everybody knows that Romney was referring to the political challenge he faces in getting the growing dependency class to listen to his message and consider voting for him. He was talking politics here, not policy. Not unlike what Obama said in his taped fundraiser about us "bitter clingers" in 2008. The difference is that Obama has actually deepened and governed on those divided lines, while Romney is advocating pro-growth economic policies in order to get folks OUT of dependency and back into economic freedom and the prosperity that comes with it.
2. Obama's whole policy agenda has been accelerating on a path which appears to want to reach a tipping point where more people are dependent on government than not. If that's his objective, he's had enormous success: unemployment has remained staggeringly high, nearly half of all Americans pay no federal income tax, record numbers of people are on food stamps and other social welfare programs, socialized medicine is kicking in, etc. In fact, it's actually WORSE than Romney stated: he claimed that 47 percent pay no federal income tax, when the truth is 49 percent don't, and 49 percent of households have someone on federal aid. Remember: when people can vote themselves goodies, freebies, and raises from the Treasury, they will. Romney was right to point out that that's the reality in which he's operating right now.
3. A recent Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans believe government is doing TOO MUCH that should be left to individuals and businesses, so Romney is right on principle and he has most of the American people with him.
4. The truth that Romney did not state: Obama's single-minded objective has been to get as many people as possible dependent on government. But the ultimate objective of that is to create a permanent Democrat voting majority. Team Obama and the Left have made enormous strides in achieving this is goal, although they're not quite there yet. Romney is operating in that reality as well---and doing what he can to prevent it.
The Left, the press, and other commentators are going wild with the Romney comments, but the American people know what's real: Romney was correct and he told the truth. Obama HAS moved us from an opportunity society to a government dependency state. Romney must own his comments, as he did Monday night in his statement and press conference, and talk about how economic growth is the solution. He's got a slew of pro-growth economic policies---from tax, entitlement and regulatory reform to repealing ObamaCare---and he's got to be talking about them non-stop.
The Left's attempt to pervert these comments as a way to push their lie that Romney doesn't care will backfire---because taxpayers are pissed. Look at the results in the Wisconsin recall election: the people supported Governor Scott Walker when he protected them. They had his back as long as he stuck to his guns. They will provide back-up for Mitt too, as long as he fights for getting America back to its core principles of limited government; individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, and self-reliance. That's a winning message because it's the truth about America and the source of our greatness.
Stick to it, Mitt. And fight.