Tell Me Baby…*
…but is it only me or does it seem that every time Mitt Romney manages to (a) move into a statistically meaningless “lead” over President Obama in head to head surveys and/or (b) manages to persuade the Villagers that he’s actually a reasonable human being, he blurts out stuff like this (via TPM):
When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.
I’ll leave aside the incoherent “wave of approach” — lapses like this are best taken as the inevitable byproduct of the exhaustion and sheer addling tedium of the campaign trail. (I assume Romney meant “wave of reproach” or simply “approach.”)
But for the love of pasta, in Romneyland pointing out the competing interests of plutocrats vs. the rest of us cats is a religious sin! There are sins aplenty in the religion of money…
…but I don’t think we can locate them in the tack taken by President Obama.
There’s something so tone-deaf about this, the claim that one can’t argue over, say, trickle-down vs. broad based tax policy, because that would violate God’s plan for a unitary (theocratic?) state. Even folks inside the Village can’t be comfortable with what amounts to the statement that it is impossible in politics to argue about, you know, politics!
In fact, so egregious was Romney’s obtuseness here that even Romney’s interviewer committed an act of journalism, following up this first statement with what most people would think of as a second softball across the middle of the plate:
QUESTIONER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?
You’d think someone running for President for the second time, someone who knows his major vulnerability is his wealth and the way he acquired it, would have figure out by now some soft answer to turneth away our wrath. You know, something like “the issue isn’t any individual’s wealth — it’s the jobs we need to create…” or some such.
But no. Not the RomneyBot. Here’s what he actually said:
ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like.
Quiet rooms? Don’ trouble your pretty little heads, Americans. Me and the boys will straighten all this out in private. We’ll have “discussions about tax policy” that will lead to tax hikes on the bottom (based on current tax policy), and yet more cash delivered to my Malibu mansion by the bucket load.
Which, of course, is why Romney went on to complain that
…the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street.
Well, yeah. Back room deals haven’t worked out so well, and the President is willing to say so…which is why the last thought out of W. Mitt’s mouth is better read as a pious hope than as reasoned expectation:
It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.
Snark aside. Does anyone outside the Romneyverse think that suggesting that Wall St.’s wise men figure out what to do with the money is not exactly a winning message? All I can say is that I hope this is the candidate we get for the next ten months. It’s going to be a brutal campaign, and I, for one, will take every own goal I can get.
(PS: I note that as I was writing this, Steve Benen got in there first with much the same thought, only more so — not to mention video of the exchange.)
*With apologies for putting such a fine song to so base a use.
Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, Danse Macabre. XXVIII. The Miser, before 1543.
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