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Quiet Room

During the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney said he believed income inequality was a topic best discussed in "quiet rooms."Now we know how he likes to discuss class politics when he's in a quiet room with a few like-minded donors. Referring to the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax, Romney told a small group of supporters, "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Good to get that straight.

Romney got himself in trouble a few months ago by saying he was "not concerned about the very poor" because they had a safety net. But that was in an interview being broadcast by CNN. When Romney doesn't think the poor might overhear him, he makes it clear the real reasons he's not concerned about them are that (1) they're unlikely to respond favorably to his promise of lower taxes since they don't pay taxes to begin with and (2) they, along with much of the lower middle class, are incorrigible freeloaders who believe themselves "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."

In a hastily arranged press conference, Romney conceded late this evening that his quiet-room remarks were "not elegantly stated." That is not incorrect and not remotely reassuring. Romney has revealed that he despises half the country, and there is no elegant way to make that fact palatable to most Americans in the other half.

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Based upon the stories I get from Mormons I know, Angela has hit the nail on the head:"The Mormons extend aid to their own members and to non-Mormons whom they hope to convert, but most of the churchs income appears to go toward buying up real estate."

"10s of millions of religious hunters. Are there really that many?"I wonder how many of these hunters, when they miss their shot, say "G-d damn, I should've made that shot/landed that fish!"Doe that make them religious?

Why am I reminded of Ronald Reagan's welfare queen description, and how that hurt him with the voters?Oh, wait.

Mark, it was a lie then and it's a lie now, whether it helps him or not.

Unagidon--What makes you think it was a lie?

How many were there, Mark? Given Reagan's intentions for the whole program?

Unagidon--I don't think you answered my question. What was the lie?

The lie was that the welfare system in the United States was a scam benefiting a bunch of welfare queens. That was Reagan's lie. Romney's lie is that 47 percent of the country is scamming the other 53 percent.

UnagidonAgain, what makes you think Reagans description was a lie? Are you saying, despite all the evidence, that there was not significant welfare fraud. Youve made a serious accusation against our president. I think you should either back it up or take it back.

In this harsh economic environment, I think it is not very strategic for Romney to be dismissive of people not paying taxes. This is the worst recession of my lifetime, and a lot of people have lost their jobs and homes. A remark like that might resonate with some during prosperous times, but I don't think it will be well received at a time when most of us are struggling.

@Mark Proska (9/18, 9:47 pm) A couple of things:1 - Ronald Reagan is not now "our president"; Barack Obama is.2 - Reagan told his "welfare queen" fable while running for president in 1976.3 - A few seconds of Googling led me to the following Wikipedia entry which, to my eyes at least, documents pretty clearly that it's reasonable to come to the conclusion that Reagan's story was a lie.

@Charles Camosy (9/18, 5:41 pm) Here's one way to respond to the "Romney-is-a-secret-moderate" theory: Mitt Romney is an utterly ambitious man who---for whatever mix of reasons---has spent the past 20 years of his life aiming to become president of the United States.In pursuit of that goal---like the deal-making, bottom-line-focused, private equity businessman he was for most of his working life---he will say and/or do almost anything to close "the deal". He will pronounce himself a stronger supporter of gay rights than Ted Kennedy. He will demonstrate himself to be more conservative than Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.He will even take the single greatest accomplishment (Romneycare) of his life, that one thing which has done more good for more people than anything else he has done or is likely to do, and disown it. (See Charlie Pierce's Esquire article for more on this: http://www.esquire.com/features/life-under-romneycare-1012?click=main_sr)If Mitt Romney is elected president (along with a Republican Congress), he will, in all probability, sign into law virtually every bill that Congress passes---including, for starters, Paul Ryan's budget plans. His foreign policy will be dominated by the neo-conservative approach of the Bush-Cheney administration.How's that?

Luke has got Romney motivation history down correctly.

Luke--I think all our presidents, past and present, deserve a certain measure of respect based on the office of the presidency. If a contributor to a respected publication would take the time to claim that a president has lied, then I think the contributor should also take the time to support the accusation, credibly.Note, I am not saying that presidents don't sometimes lie, about important things, and should not be held to account. But naked accusations are not helpful. From your link:"In 1976, the New York Times reported that a woman from Chicago, Linda Taylor, was charged with using four aliases and of cheating the government out of $8,000."Ok, enough of that. Getting back to the main point of the thread, I agree with Romney that his off the cuff remarks at a fundraiser were inelegant. (Whoever here has not been inelegant from time to time, raise your hand). But I think the thrust of his comments hit upon a serious problem we have in our country with respect to an entitlement mentality, though 47% overstates the problem (I hope). Nevertheless, I think his comments will resonate with voters, and I think they should.My concern with Romney is that he seems more of a technocrat than a true man of ideas (the foil to Newt Gingrich). He assumes once he gets into office he will, like he always has, figure out what's wrong with things and fix them. I'd prefer he have, and profess clearly, an ideology that will guide his actions.

@Mark Proska (9/19, 12:18 PM) Thanks for your response. Since you read the linked Wikipedia article enough to quote the reference to the NYT story about Ms. Taylor, I assume you also read the following excerpt:"During his 1976 presidential campaign, Reagan would tell the story of a woman from Chicago's South Side who was arrested for welfare fraud: "She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.""The future President Reagan never, so far as I have been able to determine, provided documentation for the story he told repeatedly around the country as he ran for president in 1976. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would welcome it.I trust you'll agree that this provides some "clothing" to unadigon's "naked accusations" above (9/18, 8:34 pm and following).

Here is David Brooks on Governor Romney, from the column that Matthew (I think it was) mentioned above:"Personally, I think hes a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not some sort of cartoonish government-hater."That sounds right to me.

Personally, I think hes a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not some sort of cartoonish government-hater.That sounds right to me.Jim,The question would then beWhat's he going to pretend to be if he becomes president?Is Romney fighting this hard, and spending all this money, to become a one-term president who bluffed his way into office as a staunch conservative who, after taking the oath of office, becomes pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-health-care mandates, pro-social safety nets? Or will he do whatever he thinks will keep just enough people on his side so he can narrowly win a second term?

"Is Romney fighting this hard, and spending all this money, to become a one-term president who bluffed his way into office as a staunch conservative who, after taking the oath of office, becomes pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-health-care mandates, pro-social safety nets? Or will he do whatever he thinks will keep just enough people on his side so he can narrowly win a second term?"Of course he will (would) do whatever it would take to be re-elected. But my take on him (and I'm mostly just a casual observer, so take this with a grain of salt) is that gay rights and contraception don't interest him very much, he's not rabidly pro-life, he has no choice but to be anti-health-care mandate, and he's mildly pro-social safety nets and wouldn't blow them up even if he could - and he wouldn't be able to. I also think that the economy, unemployment, deregulation and taxes are genuine priorities for him, and the belligerent tone he takes toward foreign affairs is real - but that reality would drag him back to the foreign-policy center within months of taking office.

Re: Romney being pro-gay rights: http://religionandpolitics.org/2012/09/10/why-mormon-men-love-church-bal... author of the piece is LDS.

jbruns ==Yes, Huntsman would have been a better choice. But he didn't stand a chance this time because he was willing to agree with the Democrats on a few points. If the GOP has not learned thata it must compromise at times, then it is truly dead.

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