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Thread: Mitt Romney, the poor, and context

  1. #1

    Default Mitt Romney, the poor, and context

    I'm sure many have heard about the latest trouble for Mitt Romney's campaign for the GOP nomination. For those that haven't, the gist of it is that during a campaign appearance, Romney made a comment that sounded an awful lot like him saying that he doesn't care about the very poor.

    Mitt Romney: 'I'm Not Concerned About The Very Poor'

    Apparently commentators from both the left and the right are piling on about this whole thing (apparently even Rush Limbaugh even went off on the whole thing yesterday). But here's my thing-it seems to me that, while it certainly was phrased badly, if you listen to the whole clip, it seems like he's basically trying to say he'll fix any issues with the social safety nets so that the very poor won't be hosed. Like I said, part of me feels like it's being pulled out of context a bit, but honestly, I don't hold out any ideas that Romney feels great compassion toward the poor.

    So I'm curious what everyone else's take on it is. Is the media writing a story to match a pre-written stereotype? Did Romney's comments really reveal his lack of interest or concern for the very poor? Or, was this just a moment where he chose his words really badly?

  2. #2
    Astra

    Default



    Is the media writing a story to match a pre-written stereotype? Did Romney's comments really reveal his lack of interest or concern for the very poor? Or, was this just a moment where he chose his words really badly?
    I'll take the cop-out and say all three. It was definitely a gaffe in the sense that he didn't mean to come off the way it did, but it probably also reflects his true feelings to some extent. I don't think that necessarily makes Romney a callous person. It's just that he, like most rich people, has practically no understanding of how ordinary Americans live, much less the truly poor. And of course the media love moments like this because they make for great stories, true or not.

  3. #3

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    After watching the clip, it seems to me like Mitt Romney is committing the classic politicians mistake of saying out loud in public what should be his quiet, behind the scenes election strategy:

    "I'm in this race because I'm concerned about Americans...."

    "My campaign is focused on middle income Americans...."

    well, no doubt it is.

    Check out the distribution of household income in the US...

    Household income in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Median household income is c.US$ 50,000 and the income range between $25,000 and $75,000 - what we might call "middle income Americans" - contains roughly 52% of the population. Household above $75,000 pa account for 13% of the population and households below $25 account for 36%.
    The people at the top of the income distribution are politically important for their campaign contributions, and if they're voting their wallet, will vote GOP.
    The people on less than 25K either wont vote or will vote Democratic. Therefore it's the people in the middle that Mitt needs to win over, if he's gonna be President.
    Perhaps people shouldn't vote for a man who has this kind of blithe disregard for "the poor" and "the very poor" - it will offend some people's sense of social solidarity, and other people's sense of Christian charity, so it may be bad politics to be public about it in the way he has, but as a campaign strategy, who's going to fault it?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astra View Post
    It's just that he, like most rich people, has practically no understanding of how ordinary Americans live, much less the truly poor.
    This is what it boils down to, though I'd make an addendum that he, like most people who were born into wealth and have never done without, has no understanding of how ordinary Americans live.

    Ron Paul is wealthy, but Ron Paul wasn't always wealthy. Further, when he was a practicing physician, he directly interfaced with both the working class and the poor both before and after the institution of Medicare and Medicaid. Hence, he doesn't fit under this description of "having no understanding of how ordinary Americans live"...

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBDaddy View Post
    This is what it boils down to, though I'd make an addendum that he, like most people who were born into wealth and have never done without, has no understanding of how ordinary Americans live.

    Ron Paul is wealthy, but Ron Paul wasn't always wealthy. Further, when he was a practicing physician, he directly interfaced with both the working class and the poor both before and after the institution of Medicare and Medicaid. Hence, he doesn't fit under this description of "having no understanding of how ordinary Americans live"...
    True - but Ron Paul doesn't want to do anything about it either.

  6. #6

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    He shouldn't have backpedaled at all. His statement was clear, accurate, and sensible. There IS a social safety net for the very poor. As Jesus noted, there will always be poor. No matter what we do for them, we will never be able to MAKE them rich. On the other side, the rich can take care of themselves. The problem in America right now is that the people in the middle are foundering.

    It would seem that Romney's opponents, and/or the media are trying to make something out of nothing.

    I should note that Romney is not my first choice on the Republican side, and this is one of the reasons. He needs to grow a set.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraRiddle View Post
    True - but Ron Paul doesn't want to do anything about it either.
    No, he just doesn't want to do more of what's been done for the last 40 years and hasn't worked.

    You can't tell me generational welfare was the intended result of LBJ's "New Deal" program.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBDaddy View Post
    No, he just doesn't want to do more of what's been done for the last 40 years and hasn't worked.

    You can't tell me generational welfare was the intended result of LBJ's "New Deal" program.
    it was FDR who introduced the "New Deal" - LBJ introduced the "Great Society."

    And no, it wasn't the intended result, but then they didn't foresee the end of mass industrial employment in USA.
    Free trade and the spiralling costs of privatised health-care had nothing to do with that, of course....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraRiddle View Post
    it was FDR who introduced the "New Deal" - LBJ introduced the "Great Society."

    And no, it wasn't the intended result, but then they didn't foresee the end of mass industrial employment in USA.
    Free trade and the spiralling costs of privatised health-care had nothing to do with that, of course....
    Barrier to entry regulation had nothing to do with that, of course.

  10. #10

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    this is completely taken out of context. he was saying that the poor dont have anything to worry about because they have "safety net" and most of them will be ok.

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