By Pam Martens: September 18, 2012
There are now three nagging images of Mitt Romney that are seared in the public consciousness. Many years ago, Romney drove 12 hours to begin a summer vacation with the family inside the car and their Irish setter, Seamus, caged in a dog carrier on top of the car. Even after the dog became ill, Romney sprayed the dog off and put him back on top of the car. It’s hard to escape both the inhumanity as well as lack of judgment. Romney has confirmed the episode but said the dog liked riding on top of the car.
Then there was the episode in 1965 at the elite Cranbrook School. Romney was a senior in high school – old enough to be responsible for his actions and thought processes. According to the Washington Post, Romney was repulsed by the long, bleached blond hair of a classmate, John Lauber, a quiet student in eleventh grade. Romney formed a posse, tackled the young man to the ground and cut off his hair with scissors while the young man screamed for help. The Washington Post verified the story independently with five of Romney’s classmates at Cranbrook, four of whom gave their names and went on the record. Lauber is deceased.
Now David Corn at Mother Jones has leaked a video, which Romney has confirmed is real, where Romney tells a group of wealthy donors the following:
“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…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney is redefining the Presidency in the same cruel and contemptible manner endured by John Lauber and Seamus. Most Americans believe it is the job of the President to care about every American – regardless of their wealth or class or circumstances. Romney has attempted to dismiss his statements as being in the context of what it would take to win the Presidency. But his actual statement belies that explanation. When Romney states that “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he is effectively writing off these fellow Americans as deadbeats not worth his time and energy.
Most Americans, including the wealthy, do believe that after paying into Social Security for 40 or more years of their working lives, they are entitled to receive the promised monthly check. That’s not a handout and there is no victim mentality associated with it. By portraying 47 percent of Americans as parasites with a victim mentality, Romney is engaging in the meanest form of stereotyping for political advantage.
The last thing America needs right now as the Nation attempts to deal with intractable unemployment and unprecedented wealth inequality is a mean-spirited President who wants to write off half the population