by Benjamin J. Kirby
Just one more word on this whole 47%-gate, the idea that Romney apparently really believe it is not his job to "worry about those people," whoever they are.
Obviously his comments were dumb. Obviously doubling-down on them -- though if we're honest about it, he had little choice -- was just as dumb. None of it should be too surprising to anyone. Remember a few months ago when he said he was "not concerned about the very poor"?
But can you take just a moment, flash-forward, and imagine the Romney/Ryan Administration, should they be elected?
You may have your frustrations with the Obama Administration -- we all do -- but at this point, we have to assume Mitt Romney is perfectly serious when he says he doesn't give two shits about half of America. Is this how rich people really think? Apparently, the answer is yes.
I read a lot of stuff about candidates and officials and presidents -- and a lot of it is about how they make decisions, how they think. The best of this most recently has been the Michael Lewis piece for Vanity Fair, "Obama's Way," well worth your time.
Any reasonable person reading this blog knows I'm already in the tank for Obama, but to be fair to me, I have done my due dilligence with Romney. Campaigns, if nothing else, are about how you appeal to the broadest possible swath of Americans. Or at least they're supposed to be. I've been watching Romney's campaign as closely as anyone, and I just don't see that their strategy is at all about that kind of appeal.
It is, as best I can tell, a two-fold affair. First, it's about tearing down Obama -- which most Republicans are happy to do one way or the other -- and, second, it's about winning what we call in the world of campaigns, 50% plus-one, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
If you're running a campaign, all you need to win is fifty percent of the vote plus one and you're in, right? It's a pretty cynical approach, but it happens all the time. Democrats in the recent past have been notorious for this kind of campaign, and only after the infamous Dean Campaign of 2004 and his fifty-state strategy did we begin to come around.
So as the secret tape makes evident, Romney is not going to run a fifty-state campaign (and he certainly hasn't to date). And that's really not a big surprise, if you've been watching this campaign, even a little bit.
Do you ever play that game with your friends when you drive past the lottery billboard -- you know, the one that has the updated amount of the jackpot on it? I do. What would you do with ___ million dollars? Just insert the amount, whatever it happens to be that day.
What's fun about that game is not the litany of stuff you'd do or buy -- vacation, help the poor, send your kids to college, new house, new car, new boat, kick-ass party -- it's the assumption you and your friends make that you'll still be you when you become an instant millionaire.
You won't. That's the real power of money. You'll be forced to make decisions you couldn't possibly imagine now.
If you do try to stay the same, you'll lose it all in a year, guaranteed. That's why so many people who win the lottery are broke after a year or so. They try to stay the same -- they try to be who they were before -- and they're just not.
I'm not saying being a millionaire or a billionaire is the worst thing in the world. I am not even saying money corrupts everything all the time. It just changes things, it changes perceptions -- yours and others of you. And that means you can't make decisions in the same way, ever again.
Don't take my word for it (I am not, for the record, rich in any way). Mitt Romney has an elevator for his cars in one of his several homes across the country. His Saturday mornings don't involve diaper changes and making a list for the grocery store, figuring out when to take the kids to the park, how much gas to put in the car, budgeting for the bills that are due, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner -- and they never have. And they never will. That's not wrong, it's just different -- very different -- than the life well over 47% of Americans actually know and understand and live day in, day out.
Mitt Romney is running a campaign based on the life he knows: that the well-heeled and privileged make the better decisions for the rest of us -- "parasites," thanks for keeping it classy as always, Mary Matalin.
But if this clown gets elected, this is how he'll govern, too. And that's pretty scary.