Romney and Obama's 'Gifts'

I’m sure you all know by now that Mitt Romney did a little Monday morning quarterbacking after losing the election, explaining to a group of major donors that it wasn’t his fault. He did all he could, but Obama just bribed all those poor and dark-skinned people to win their support:

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”

“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.” …

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.” …

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

We talk a lot about privilege; this is another form of it. It’s the privilege of rich white people to think that government programs that benefit them are just good public policy, while programs that benefit poor and minority people are “bribes” for “special interests.” Cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans? That’s not a bribe. Pledging to get rid of health care reform so the insurance companies make more money? Not a bribe. Promising to cut regulations, thus boosting the bottom line of corporate America? Also not a bribe.

Those wealthy donors who gave huge amounts of money to Romney’s campaign aren’t just being nice and most of them are not political ideologues. They are shrewd businessman making an investment that they know will pay off, in the form of thousands of decisions that will make them richer, often at the expense of the very people that Romney is attacking now. And Romney was promising them enough gifts to fill Santa’s sleigh. But they are rich and white, so that doesn’t count. Helping rich white people is what the government is supposed to do; helping poor minorities is something only Muslim atheist communist America-haters do.

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