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Romney’s argument that income tax hikes aren’t as unpopular as they once were because fewer people actually pay income taxes meshes with the numbers. The Tax Policy Center reports that 46 percent of Americans, a number too close for coincidence to Romney’s 47 percent, pay no federal income tax. With more than one in three workers not working, one in twenty workers on disability, and more than one in seven Americans depending on food stamps, an electoral tipping point may be near where so many voters depend on government that the party of government can count on Election Day majorities.
And if the grim statistics don’t convince, remember the jubilation of Peggy Joseph over a potential Obama victory during the 2008 campaign? “I never thought this day would ever happen,” the Sarasota voter explained. “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. If I help him, he’s going to help me.’
Surely in conveying how handouts corrupt Americans Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” story has nothing on Miss Peggy’s YouTube clip, right?
Romney asked for Mother Jones to release his remarks in full, which the magazine promised to do until it acknowledged that the remarks weren’t captured in full. Mother Jones claims the camera “inadvertently turned off” while recording Romney before being turned back on. Romney could credibly claim to have been taken out of context. But with the context of Peggy Joseph, and record numbers of Americans asking what their country can do for them rather than what they can do for their country, Romney’s remarks work parsed as well as they do in full. Everyone, save for journalists, seems to understand the context.
It’s not necessarily that Romney’s media detractors find his off-the-record remarks off putting. They find conservatism off putting. Living in deep-blue cities, working alongside partisan crusaders, and educated by an ideologically-narrow professorate, the scribes find uncontroversial remarks so foreign because they’ve been marinated in environments so foreign to their fellow Americans.
Who, really, is out of touch here?
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