The videos viewable on Mother Jones at the link below were filmed in Boca Raton, Florida, during a private fundraiser for Mitt Romney. In them, the Republican candidate is completely candid about his disdain for the 47% of people who will vote for President Obama. He claims that we are “victims” who pay “no taxes.” Follow the link to hear (or read) more.
I am one of the 47% who will vote to re-elect the President. Mr. Romney must not have looked at my pay stub (or any other middle class salaries and tax contributions). I have paid taxes every year since I began working at McDonald’s at age 16. I do not feel entitled, as Romney claims, to more than my fair share. I do not claim to be a victim, as he accuses. But I do believe that government has a responsibility to safeguard life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Safeguard it against greed. Safeguard it against those who would put themselves first, and step on those below on their way up. Safeguard it against the huge inequities in income and opportunity that grow more expansive over time. Safeguard it against the ever-increasing power of corporations, whose financial contributions can help elect a candidate who will enact policies to benefit corporations, not individuals.
Mr. Romney — like his running mate has done so often — gives inaccurate information in his comments in Boca Raton. He claims Obama promised to keep unemployment below 8%. Mother Jones disputes this claim. He claims that 50% of graduating students cannot get jobs. Mother Jones disputes this claim. And of course, he blames the incumbent for these supposed failures.
Personally, I blame “no child left behind” and tax cuts that have depleted school budgets for much of the failure we see today in education. Teachers are so busy covering standards, preparing students for testing, and documenting test scores that they cannot teach as effectively as they could if they were left alone to do their professional duties (for which they have been trained and certified). I blame the deregulated financial industries and greed for the slow recovery of unemployment numbers: the so-called “job creators” are not putting the unemployed back to work, but rather pocketing profits for their own use. I blame the obstructionists in Congress whose primary motivation is to see the President fail, not enact legislation for the good of its citizens.
It is easy to campaign forcefully when one does not have to adhere to facts. Mitt Romney says that elections are not won on the details of policies (that he has supposedly outlined in his book), and — in a rare moment of insight — he could very well be right. So are we expected to choose a president based on falsified information, vague promises, and brief sketches of how his term would affect us? Apparently the Republican candidate does not trust his voters enough to think they are capable of more.
I prefer a President who has faith in his citizens to understand the facts and the complexities of government. Oversimplification and dishonesty demonstrate a cynical and insulting view of the electoral process.
Shame on you, once again, Mr. Romney, for not thinking more highly of the people of the United States of America.
P.S. For a slightly different perspective with a similar criticism, see the following NY Times Opinion by David Brooks.