Maybe it was one of those days weve all had em when Mitt Romney just got up on the wrong side of the bed. But for a man who wants to be president, he ought to be more careful about voicing his impatience with folks who didnt have the advantages of a privileged upbringing, who never managed to strike it rich and who struggle to get by.
A video of a private Romney campaign appearance, obtained and released by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, shows the Republican presidential candidate expressing harsh views about a near-majority of Americans whom he described as depending on government and driven by a sense of victimhood.
As framed by Romney, 47 percent of his fellow citizens will support President Obama no matter what, out of a sense 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, you name it.
And he added, in case his audience didnt quite get the picture, 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax.
Whew! So this is how Mitt Romney conceives of the American electorate. Nearly half of them, he apparently thinks, are self-pitying do-nothings devoid of self-reliance, leeching off productive taxpayers and voting for the politicians who aid and abet their fecklessness.
Perhaps thats an unfortunately prevalent view among those proud of their success and resentful that some of their taxes are diverted to sustain the social safety net. But it also drips with contempt toward people who often have worked their tails off with little to show for it.
Are Americans entitled to health care, to food, to housing? Perhaps not as a matter of constitutional right. But what kind of society would this be if we were so determined to blame people for failing to achieve prosperity that we ignored their basic needs?
Romney concedes that his comments werent elegantly stated. What he should explain is how views such as his would make him a suitable president of all the people.