There are a lot of legitimate reactions to a video in which Mitt Romney is trying to persuade some fat cats at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., that he’s their guy. Surprise certainly shouldn’t be one of them. You can’t even inject the word surprise into it because of the dumbness factor. Somebody’s probably compiling a book right now of dumb things Mitt Romney has said. Two volumes.
The element of surprise requires an absence of suspicion, and whosoever among us is so deluded as not to suspect that there is something of a condescending elitist snob in Mr. Romney? The closest Mr. Romney will ever come to the overalls of the common man is a pair of ironed jeans and he seems to be the only person who is unaware of the fact.
The surreptitious video, tentatively titled "Bad Day at Got Bucks," was made at the home of another beneficiary of the Reagan Revolution, a private equity lender by the name of Mark Leder. Unlike Mr. Leder’s infamous naked pool parties in the Hamptons, the participants here are unfailingly well-mannered, even managing an occasional "heh heh" toward Romney, whose speechmaking prowess probably prompted the host to consider offering his guests No-Doze instead of an appetizer.
(Sex party purveyors and Las Vegas casino moguls under international investigation for money laundering and pedaling prostitution -- the GOP is bedding down with some strange partners for the sake of promoting its family values.)
There has been a lot of damage control from Romney’s camp since the video surfaced, but it is beginning to look like trying to shore up Hoover Damn with matchsticks.
In the video, this man who, as Maureen Dowd so aptly pointed out, "was born on third base" and now likes to represent himself as the triumphant symbol of American entrepreneurial spirit, blithely dismisses nearly half the population of the United States as serial moochers, who are beyond the redemption offered by his "Father Knows Best" beneficence. (The comment generates some nodding heads and an understated heh heh amongst his kind of people.)
So now, not content with completely alienating women, Mr. Romney seems to have set his sights on offending anyone in America who ever needed help or labored under the foolish supposition that one of our primary responsibilities as a civilized society is to help those less fortunate. It’s an odd way to run a campaign. That, evidently, is an opinion shared by many Republican incumbents, who booked passage on the next bullet train from wherever Mr. Romney was after the story broke.
A fundamental aspect of successfully running for an elected office -- it’s right up there with the money! -- is not to say things that are going to alienate great chunks of the population. The overriding problem with the American system of government, at least from a Republican standpoint, is that they have not been able to devise a scheme whereby a rich person’s vote counts more than the vote of someone who isn’t wealthy -- and there are just so many more poor folks than there are rich ones, especially after W.
There is a lot of concern now about voter fraud, prompting many GOP lawmakers to demand more stringent voter identification regulations, especially as they apply to people who probably won’t vote for them. It’s a bad time to make the process even more complicated. I am not sure the general public would go for the notion that, since the rich herald themselves as the movers and shakers in the United States, their votes should have more impact on an election. I’m still surprised that someone with the exceptional vacancy of an Allen West hasn’t proposed it. It worked for taxes.
There are people, of course, who, despite collecting Social Security, benefitting from Medicare and maybe taking advantage of veteran’s or disability benefits, will vote for Romney simply because he isn’t Obama. They will vote for Romney knowing that he and his sanctimonious sidekick have their sights trained directly on the security that, in many cases, literally puts a roof over their heads because he isn’t the dreaded bogeyman that Fox News has warned them about.
It’s called cutting off your nose.
Mr. Obama has reacted with his usual infuriating civility, although the president must be reaching the point where he figures that there is just no need to comment, much less gloat. He told David Letterman that he will represent "100 percent of the people," which is about as retributive as the guy ever gets.
Obama’s reply to a reporter that "everybody makes mistakes," is the same observation, if my memory serves me correctly, that the White Star Line made about Captain Smith after the Titanic.
In response to questions as to how the Comeback Team is going to effect their miraculous transformation of America, they have the colossal nerve to say to the people of the United States that, "We aren’t going to tell you right now." So there.
Just as our suspicions were confirmed by the Florida video as to whose best interests a Romney presidency will slavishly serve, we should have absolutely no doubt as to who will pay for it, whether they want to vocalize it at the moment or not.
Alden Graves is a reviewer and columnist for the Banner.