….in terms of the opponents he has drawn. That’s how Matt Miller, whom I regard as a centrist, ends a recent Washington Post editorial about Mitt Romney’s latest gaff, the one about the “47% who don’t pay income taxes” who will vote for Obama because they do not take responsibility for their own lives.
There are several problems with the Romney statement, besides the fact it insults 47% of American voters. A majority of that 47% either do pay quite a bit in taxes, most notably payroll taxes which makes up about 36% of federal income compared with about 47% from income tax (the two “47s” are just a coincidence).
The Republicans never mention that 36% figure, or that most Americans pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes, or a number of other inconvenient details about those who do not pay income taxes, such as around one-fifth of them are elderly. That would detract from the Republican fantasy of being the makers victimized by all of those takers out there. Miller provides some of these details in his editorial.
Now my more conservative readers are probably thinking, “you really are an Obama lover and take every opportunity to bash Romney and the Republicans.” Well, if you look around you can find a number of Republican/conservative voices criticizing Romney’s “47 %” statement.
One example, is columnist Andrew Sullivan of the The Daily Beast (linked at bottom), who considers himself a political conservative. He shows a chart of the 47%, and concludes: “Make of this what you will, but in terms of partisan politics it seems very likely that a large share of these elderly freeloaders are actually Romney voters.” Sullivan’s statements are followed by several responses, mostly critical of Romney.
However, reader Jamelle Bouie provided a kind of defense, but not really, when stating: ” To be fair, there’s no way to know if this is what Romney “really” thinks. Remarks to donors and fundraisers are just as crafted and audience-targeted as any speech to the public. This isn’t an excuse, but it’s context worth considering.” This goes along with thoughts I’ve often had about writing a post after the election titled: “Who was Mitt Romney?”
Another Romney critic is Henry Olsen, a vice president at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Despite sharp criticisms of Romney, Olsen ends his editorial, also in the Washington Post, by stating:
“I will vote for Romney despite his flaws. The alternative is unacceptable: In this matter, I really have no choice.”
Those of us who will vote for Barack Obama will most likely have the same feeling about the alternative. But I would bet more of us feel better about our candidate than the opposition does, even those who have grown very skeptical about “hope and change.”
- Romney Unplugged Reax (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)