Once there was a candidate who was at a political fundraiser and referred to the diehards on the other side in a derogatory fashion. Unfortunately for him, the comments were secretly recorded. His opposition made much of the embarrassing video, in which the candidate said things he evidently would not say before a general interest crowd.
Yes, things were looking bad for that candidate, all right.
Then he went on to crush John McCain in the general election.
A lot has happened in the years since Barack Obama mocked the “bitter clingers” — Republican bumpkins who “get bitter and cling to their guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them as a way to explain their frustrations.”
But Obama came out of it doing OK.
Well, today everyone is all a Twitter (thank you! thank you very much) about a new secret video in which Mitt Romney says:
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.
The man has a valid point. He expressed it in a poor fashion. (Keep in mind that Mother Jones‘s David Corn has not yet released the full video — which, given Corn’s hyperpartisan and dishonest history, should be seen as suspicious and should be mentioned in any account of this video.)
But the media jackals are going to run with a narrative that the Romney campaign has run off the rails. That victory is impossble. He has no chance. The POLITICO infighting story and the Mother Jones revelations are a fatal blow! The damage is beyond repair!!!!!!!eleventy!!1!
Unemployment is still higher than it was when Obama took office. The debt is $5 trillion higher. Job reports are pathetic.
Americans are not better off than they were four years ago.
Those who see themselves as sucking on the government teat — a much smaller group, by the way, than the group that actually is sucking on the government teat — will be offended and won’t vote for Romney. Guess what? They weren’t going to anyway.
Independents may be put off by Romney’s seemingly callous attitude towards the 47 percent of people who don’t pay income tax. He’s going to have to work to come back from this.
But it’s hardly the end of the world.
Don’t be a sucker for the Big Media spin.
UPDATE: Here is the transcript of Romney’s press conference. Defensive and lacking in forcefulness. This may hurt him worse than the comments. He could have come out swinging, saying something like this:
I wrote off those who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them. Does Barack Obama take ownership of those voters? Good, because that is his base. I don’t want the votes of victims. I think people in the middle are hardworking and this president’s massive overspending has put them and their children in the hole. I think hardworking Americans are looking for a change.
And maybe he could say that 47% was a gross overestimate. Because it was.
It’s bound to be awkward, but for God’s sake, man, stick by the point you were trying to make.