09.18.2012 15

Romney’s Opportunity

Mitt RomneyBy Bill Wilson — Mitt Romney is not backing away from comments he made at a May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida fundraiser, captured on video, that Barack Obama’s base consists of half of Americans who do not pay income taxes, “who believe that they are victims,” and are “reliant on government.”

That is good. He shouldn’t back away, because this is a discussion worth having.

At a Sept. 17 press conference, Romney reiterated that “I recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47 percent of Americans, I’m not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes.  That’s not as attractive to those who don’t pay income taxes as it is to those who do. And likewise those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government. And so I then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp.”

At the May fundraiser, Romney had suggested that Republicans’ “message of low taxes doesn’t connect” with those who pay no income tax, and that his job was “not to worry about those people” politically. Because, he said, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

This is actually a pretty astute political analysis of likely voter trends based on income.

But there’s more to it than that. On a more basic level, Romney is telling the truth about the state of dependency in the U.S., and is calling attention to the perverse incentives politically that are created when government assistance becomes a way of life for millions of Americans.

At the same time, Romney was wrong to imply that those same people do not or would not want to escape that web of dependency, that those who are unemployed or poor are so by choice. Therefore, that those stuck on welfare choose to stay there.

Sensing the missed opportunity to connect with those presently struggling in this economy, Romney clarified at his press conference that his “campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again” and that he wants “to help all Americans have a bright and prosperous future”.

He added, “Particularly for those who don’t have work, this whole campaign is focused on getting people jobs again”. This is exactly what he needs to be saying.

After all, which is more helpful to most Americans: a real job and the chance for social mobility, or a meager government check that will not save their homes?

Here, Romney is taking the opportunity to pivot his message to how he plans to help all Americans, even ones who are not planning to vote for him, all the while sticking to the original premise of his message that Barack Obama’s campaign is a direct albeit misguided appeal to government dependents.

He even framed the debate as a mutually exclusive choice for voters: “Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits, or do you believe instead in a free enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?”

Here, Romney is explaining a basic economic truth, that the more dependent an individual becomes on government welfare, the less likely he or she will be able to advance in society and improve his or her standard of living.

This is a very stark contrast, and it is worth expounding upon.

At this stage, Romney has little choice but to make that his message. He cannot run away from what he said. Instead, he must fully embrace it.

Even if he did not originally believe that any headway could be made with those stuck on government assistance, the proper response now is to talk to those voters anyway, to remind them of the strings that come attached to government promises of benefits. To emphasize that all Americans are better off when they can take care of themselves.

And that his plan to unleash the economy is the only one that will allow that to happen. Because, we cannot all work for the government or depend on government assistance.

This video may, in the end, be a blessing in disguise for Romney. But only if he quickly takes advantage of the opportunity it has created for him to explain why government dependency is destroying America.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.

  • loub

    I am almost 78 and very conservative in most matters and have been p[olitically involved all of my adult life. I have never felt as frustrasted as I have in the last 2 elections having McCain and Romney as my choices. The kindest term you can use is they are RINO’S, exactly what we do not need. Obama is what ever is left that didn’t get processed in a sewage treatment plant, They are all spenders of tax payer money and none of them tough except Obama has the Chicago Mafia as a partner. He himself couldn’t take on a 100 pound girl he is such a sissy. Romney is not far behind with his panty waist performance to date. There are many of us who would love to see him come out of hiding in the back of the bus and take some hard shots, draw a lot of blood, break their damned backs like they are breaking his. I would rather lose as a person who went down swinging and fighting than somebody running their mouth everyday about meaningless bullshit. As a purported politician you must be aware, even counting your time as governor of Mass., a state full of idiots that elect and re-elect a family full of misfits over generations and some of them untried criminals and Barney Frank the male whore house pimpess who is the ugliest slobber mouth miscreant perhaps of all, politics is not a game for people who act like and speak like the we are above you crowd. Wake up and smell the roses because you are only a few full shovels from the top of the grave you dug and all by you own stupid self.

  • BOB

    Two points.
    First, the majority of these 47% are in solid red states. (check the maps)Second, what percent of these people reliant on government for their welfare checks and pay no taxes, are major corporations like GE, Exxon, etc?

  • diane kordelski

    At least Romney is still working. Unlike Obama that is visiting his friends in Hollywood istead of taking care of things that have happened recently.

  • Yes, go Bill! Let’s try to squeeze something sensible out of Romney’s dismissal of nearly half the population as parasites with character disorders. At least you recognize that for the dysfunctional attitude that it is. And let’s not forget that his tax proposals would put him in the class of people who pay no taxes; he wants to eliminate the capital gains tax which is all he pays, along with his wealthy buddies in many cases. As for government dependency, here in Colorado, we have Colorado Springs, where a sizeable proportion depend on government for their jobs, being militarily connected, but they condemn government anyway. This goes for most major corporations, as well – your base for the Chamber of Commerce. I admire your awareness that Mitt’s true character, revealed, is strikingly elitist and divisive, but you’re really just putting lipstick on the pig. Oh . . . how about his writing off of the Middle East conflict as insoluble? I like his “can-do” attitude here (NOT).

  • duane richardson

    I believe Romney is right. I admire that someone is finally saying “we have a problem with free handouts”. If you want a handout you should be willing to work (if able) for it. I don’t believe in USA being a welfare country.

  • Danny S

    Interesting. Why should the successful finance the ideas of those who are not successful through government? Let businesses reinvest their money to create more jobs aka return on capital. The return on taxes redistributed by the govt is much lower than that of businesses. Businesses create jobs with their equity, even after they pay the currently highest corporate tax rates in the world. Govt takes away jobs by wasting investible capital. Wish you had an MBA instead of a PHD. You would then know how jobs are created.

  • daveveselenak

    If I was Romney I would run the audio of him telling the TRUTH about the 47% and right behind that, I would run the Muslim-Marxist’s audio of him calling for the redistribution of wealth! That would be the perfect ad campaign, as it says it all succinctly and definitively! It doesn’t get any better than that!

  • JaniceSix


  • Hal

    PHD- what does it stand for? BS, you know what that stands for. MS- more of the same.PHD- pilled high and deep.

  • Patti1947

    Please don’t give up on Romney and vote for Obama. I too am a senior and Obama’s policies are ruining this great nation. Now is talking again about re-distribution of money. I didn’t work my whole life to have Obama take my money and re-distribute it to other people. I am so concerned about what is happening to this country. Obama has to go otherwise this country is doomed forever. He even said Democracy should be with a little d. Wow……

  • Patti1947

    Exactly. Romney has the guts to tell it like it is and what is going to happen if Obama is re-elected. Wake up people. Obama is NOT what you think.

  • swede41


  • mediazorba

    Looks blue to me! CA,NY,IL etc. Are you kidding?

  • newell08

    that would be a grand slam. hit the ball mitt.

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