3:48 PM CDT, September 18, 2012
Political historians, answer this question: Mitt Romney is the worst major party presidential candidate since ____. Honestly, I’m having trouble coming up with an answer.
When I wrote the original “Wow Mitt Romney is a terrible candidate” column, it was the early days of summer and the Obama campaign had just begun its line of attack against Bain Capital.
Oh, how I bet the Romney campaign glows with nostalgia for those halcyon days!
Three gaffes on a trip abroad, thirty or so weird fibs by vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, one Clint Eastwood babbling at a chair, one lame, hastily written convention speech, one treating the death of an American ambassador as a political punching bag, one Politico story detailing Romney’s managerial incompetence, and one candid camera moment catching Romney being a weird, rich asshole to a bunch of other head-nodding weird, rich assholes later, and Mitt Romney wishes the Obama campaign was still hammering him for Bain.
The Romney campaign has given Obama so much ammunition, it’s like the French crossed the Maginot Line and started handing the German army bombs and artillery to shove up its own ass.
And the Democrats haven’t even deployed the most obvious line of attack yet: Since Romney won’t release his tax returns for the last ten years, how do we know he wasn’t among those deadbeat 47% who pay no income tax and exist off government largesse?
Seriously, in light of this awesome and revealing video, why shouldn’t voters and the media demand that we know if either of the candidates are in that dreaded 47%? Romney postulates that the reason it’s hard for Republicans to win is not because of the party’s knee-jerk hostility toward Hispanics, women, African-Americans, young people, the poor, science, mainstream economics, and “fact-checker” institutions like the media and academia, but rather because all those deadbeats are voting themselves benefits like “not being kicked off your insurance for developing breast cancer” and other abject assaults on freedom.
I spend a bit of time in “The Great Dysmorphia” (available on Kindle and iBooks for just $1.99! / as an Obama voter, I will accept welfare checks and food stamps) explaining why the 47% meme is a terrifically stupid, inaccurate, and lazy explanation for the state of the economy and electoral politics. Which is bullshit because now basically everyone on the internet is debunking this crap by explaining that by any measure, there are plenty of Republicans in that 47%. However, I’d point you to this excellent piece by Annie Lowery for Slate where she summarizes the inanity of the categorization.
Because the Romney-Ryan ticket is more or less openly advocating a $5 trillion tax cut for the richest people in the country, it’s hard to laugh at these guys (OK, I’m having a pretty easy time). Yet on some level you have to titter at the absurdity of the argument they’re presented to the American people: In a time of unemployment and hardship, struggle and sacrifice, easily the longest period of hard times since the Great Depression, a period that will leave lasting scars on the American workforce for a generation, we are being told that our biggest problem is that the working poor and lower rung of the middle class have it too easy? That’s the argument? That shit is just going too well for them right now? They are too easily staving off foreclosure of their homes, their kids' student loan bills are too low, their jobs are too secure, the chance of losing their health insurance isn’t a terrifying, life-altering possibility? They’re too fat and happy, so we have to raise their taxes in order to cut them for the wealthy? This is the argument you’re presenting?
Please, by all means, go ahead and run on that.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC