Blaise Pascal, PenseĆ© 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Conservative Reaction to Romney's 47% Remark and What It Means

Since writing the entry about the Mitt Romney comments picked up by Mother Jones magazine --

Mitt Romney and Mother Jones

there has been plenty of reaction. First, conservatives and Republicans are clearly worried about this, and Romney, according to the NBC / WSJ poll, is slipping behind in the swing states that he must carry to win re-election. One of the most telling conservative reactions was on The O'Reilly Factor, by Charles Krauthammer, who, as usual, goes straight to the nitty gritty. See this link:

Krauthammer on the Damage of the Mother Jones Video

In The Weekly Standard, William Kristol had this to say:

It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney  supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.

It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.
William Kristol: Romney's Remarks Arrogant and Stupid

Two days ago the Wall Street Journal published the following editorial in which they construct a fictional speech for Romney, saying what they wish he would have said:

What Romney Might Have Said

Kim Strassel, a fine commentator, on the following video offers more advice to Romney ("a tall order," she says). Click on the video tab at the top of the editorial:

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Romney, of course, has had his own response. Romney's attempt to qualify what he said in the fundraiser:

As Krauthammer and others point out, there are many people in that 47% who are not paying income taxes who might well be Romney voters. And there are certainly people I know who pay income tax--and plenty of them--who will be voting for Obama. The best construction is that Romney oversimplified at a fund raiser to make a point. Cold comfort.

Conservatives have a legitimate concern that Clinton era welfare reforms are being destroyed by the Obama administration, that we are creating an ever larger class of unemployed and dependent people, and that Democratic policies make it harder and harder for business to expand and hire. Ironically, government policy interferes with the private sector's capacity to generate the revenues necessary to support a huge entitlement state. The consequences of Romney's remarks are that he may not now be able to successfully address those issues--or any others, such as the serious consequences of American foreign policy as they are now showing up in the Middle East. The debates are probably Romney's last chance.

During the last election, Obama referred to small town people as follows: they "cling to their guns and 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." Poor fools. This is a typical version of academic and progressive arrogance. I don't know how you would rank Obama's v. Romney's comments, either on a scale of being out of touch or for contempt.


As an aside on the politics of this, it's interesting that Jimmy Carter's grandson was the conduit for the Mother Jones Video! See this link:

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