The Romney campaign is now pushing the line that his infamous fundraiser comments were pointed at the growth of government under President Obama and the evils of dependency. He’s even saying now that his comments help clarify his position and sharpen the ideological debate.
Of course, this is not what he said.
What made Romney’s comments damaging was that they weren’t really aimed at critiquing government at all, something conservative politicians have long done and with great effect. His comments were directed at people. Half the population whom Romney characterized as shiftless and entitled freeloaders.
Let’s review the quote.
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 … I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.(emphasis added)
This isn’t about the role of government. And it’s certainly not a comment about electoral politics. It’s an attack on people with deformed personal character. Who make up, according to Romney, half the population.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.