Frankly, I don’t tend to believe that Romney is done. With a little less than 50 days out, anything can happen. Although the GOP looks divided among those who have distanced themselves from Romney’s obvious disdain for people on any type of assistance, including Seniors, Vets and students, and the far-right which actually runs their media, it seems Romney is doubling down and taking the far-right, “hate the poor,” approach from here on out.
Now, was Romney’s 47% comment an insult? Of course! Beyond insulting the poor, Seniors, Vets, and students (also student-workers), Romney insulted a nice chunk of those who still support him despite his awful policy proposals on the economy and health care. Democrats seizing on the opportunity by railing on Romney is just one part of the equation. Turn out of the poor, which more than likely is lower than most of the electorate, is crucial. As far as Romney is concerned, is telling his prospective support within those in the safety net, “I didn’t mean you people, I meant those people” and a wink-wink enough?
It is pretty obvious that Romney was attempting to speak to that 5 to 10 percent of undecided and/or independent voters who would easily believe that our federal budget is bloated with freeloaders–which we know is not.
About 13 percent of the federal budget in 2011, or $466 billion, went to support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. Spending on safety programs declined in both nominal and real terms between 2010 and 2011 as the economy continued to improve and initiatives funded by the 2009 Recovery Act began to expire.
Another 20% goes to Social Security–those freeloading senior citizens!!! And another 21% goes to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP–healthcare for those who need it. So much for Romney-Ryan’s fake defense of Medicare.
Some Indies may feel that 13% is too much, but the way Romney stated that he would not even worry about the 47% more than likely left some of these folks a bit shocked. Sure, millionaires may talk about the poor in this way in cigar rooms and country clubs, but not on video!
No, Romney is not done, but as he presses forward without apology, he is sure to strengthen his far-right base, continue alienating once prospective supporters (wink-wink), and give those who seldom vote a reason to show up at the polls.
This does not a winning combo make. How Democrats seize on this opportunity to create a narrative that works for down-ballot candidates becomes even more important from here on out.