Mitt Romney says half of Americans are immoral parasites who think they’re ‘victims’

Mitt Romney says half of Americans are immoral parasites who think they’re ‘victims’ September 18, 2012

The scoop seems to belong to David Corn of Mother Jones,SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He Really Thinks of Obama Voters“:

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, 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. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney goes on to say that such moochers can never be convinced “to take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So with the release of this video, it seems Mitt Romney has shifted from worrying that 47 percent of the country would never vote for him to ensuring that 47 percent of the country would never vote for him.

Josh Marshall tries to make sense of this, saying “Mitt seems to string together a handful of really distinct conservative talking points — and in a way that makes you think he just heard them in a fragmentary way and pasted them together without any clear sense of what he was saying.”

It is true that President Obama has enjoyed the steady support of about 47 percent of the country throughout his first term. It is also true that if you add up everyone who’s retired, still in school or working poor — i.e., people who don’t owe federal income taxes — that this is also about 47 percent of the country. (Or, rather, it peaked at 47 percent following the 2008 financial crisis.)

But it’s really weird to suggest, as Romney does, that this is the same 47 percent.

Last time I checked, there were plenty of senior citizens who are also Republicans. And those folks don’t take kindly to being told they’re “dependent” on government, or that they’re whiny moochers with a sense of entitlement.

No one likes being accused of that. Not senior citizens, not students, not the working poor. Not Democrats, or Republicans, or Independents.

Ari Kohen wonders why Romney even wants to be president: “Why would you want to be president of a country when you hold almost half of the citizenry in utter contempt?”

Josh Barro thinks the “combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who isn’t going to vote for him” will be politically disastrous.

Ed Kilgore wonders what will be more harmful to the Romney campaign: “the video … or the ‘Hell yes!’ reactions to it from the rawer elements of the conservative chattering classes.”

“Romney’s theory of the ‘taker class,'” Ezra Klein says, is “core to his economic agenda.” The idea that America is divided between “makers” and “takers” isn’t true, Klein writes, but “Behind this argument, however, is a very clever policy two-step that’s less about who pays taxes now and more about who is going to pay to reduce the deficit in coming years.”

Conservative Ramesh Ponnuru agrees that Romney’s “makers vs. takers” idea is false. It is also, he says, bad politics: “most people don’t see themselves in that storyline, any more than they see themselves as dependents of the federal government. They don’t see Americans as divided between makers and takers.”

Ryan Chittum has some good background on the roots of Romney’s rehash and mishmash of the old “lucky duckies” canard.

Ta-Nehisi Coates says Romney’s remarks remind him “of Lee Atwater’s famous explanation of the Southern Strategy.”

Coates ends on an unexpectedly hopeful note. “When the party of white populism finds itself writing off half the country,” he writes, “we are really close.”

Charlie Pierce is less hopeful. Now that Romney has “declared a class war on himself,” Pierce says, “There’s really only one campaign left to him now”:

Unfortunately for American politics, that means only one thing. It’s going to get extraordinarily dirty extraordinarily fast. There is going to be pale birtherism and barely covert racism. The body of Ambassador Christopher Stevens is going to be exhumed and used as a bludgeon. There is going to be poor-baiting, and gay-baiting, and ladyparts-baiting, and probably baiting of things I haven’t thought of yet. The polite part of the campaign is going to be Romney’s effort to convince You that he was really talking about Them when he was calling people moochers and sneak thieves. He wasn’t talking about Your Medicare or Your Social Security. Naw, he was talking about Their greed for what You have. That’s going to be the polite part of the rest of the campaign, reinforced in the lower registers by a few million in ads to make sure You remember who They are.

The full video of Romney’s remarks at the fundraiser may not be as initially damaging as his disdainful comments about the entitled moochers who think they’re victims, but as more of the speech receives attention, the rest of it won’t be good for Romney’s campaign either.

Romney’s rejection of a two-state solution in the Middle East, for example, won’t likely win him many votes. Particularly when he outlines his idea of foreign-policy leadership: “We have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

Romney isn’t about “hope and change.” He’s about “hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen.”

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  • Tricksterson

    I cannot remember the name of the icident but there was the “Something Army” that camped out in washington between WWi and the Great Depression.  it was a bunch of WWI vets who had been cheated of their back pay.  I think.  I’m probably remembering it all wrong and am only posting this as a sign post for someone who might have greater knowledge.  One might also point to Shay’s Rebellion and the Whiskey rebellion in the early days of the republic.

  • hidden_urchin

    Bonus Army.

  • Tricksterson

    If Obama wins, while unlikely, I’m not entirely ruling it out.  Likewise a major league assassination attempt.

  • Lori

    Bonus Army. 

    Nonviolent and aimed at the government, so again not really an example of pitch forks and torches directly threatening the rich oppressors.

  • Lori

    That’s really rich coming from the folks who supported the president who took the most vacation time in modern US history (by a lot).  Unsurprising, but rich nonetheless.

    Even setting aside the issue of Bush’s huge amount of  brush-clearing “me time”, and the fact that Obama is allowed to share a joke with his staff now & then, presidents do stuff like this all the time. It’s not time out from their job, it’s part of their job.  It’s public relations, aka dealing with their constituents. (Some folks apparently need to watch that episode of the West Wing that’s about the one day a year that Bartlett makes the staff see anyone and everyone who lines up to talk about their pet issue.)

  • Daughter

     Drones, yes; Gitmo, no. Not closing Gitmo was a Congressional decision.

  • Daughter

     I had an argument about just this issue on Facebook yesterday. People were complaining about the unemployed, people on welfare and illegal immigrants gaming the system, and I asked them to put some numbers to it. How many? What percentage? And how do you know? I said anecdotes don’t count, and gave a statistic of my own: a House subcommittee investigation this year that found that 1.9% of unemployment claims are fraudulent. The document I linked talked about how to combat that 1.9%, since that adds up to millions of dollars, but I pointed out that that means that 98% of unemployed people are NOT cheating the system.

    Only one woman (of 4 people making this type of claim) gave any number: 67% of newcomers are illegal immigrants are cheating our welfare system, like Muslims that come over with four wives, claiming they’re all different relatives, and collect welfare for all of them. I asked how she knew, and she mentioned the businesses and service providers who offer translation into other languages. I said that means they serve said large immigrant populations, not that undocumented people are cheating the system. 

    So she said something about Google it. I did, and came up with a survey in which 67% of the respondents said illegal immigration was a problem for America. I said that’s an opinion, and in plenty of opinion surveys, people don’t know facts. Then she said she couldn’t reveal her source because she’s been subpoenaed to testify before Congress about this issue. (!?)

    My last point to this group: I feel like one big difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals think people gaming the system are a small minority, and don’t want to punish the honest majority because of it. Conservatives feel the opposite: that most people are dishonest, and so they’ll punish everyone, even people who really need help.

  • Lori


    Then she said she couldn’t reveal her source because she’s been subpoenaed to testify before Congress about this issue. (!?)  

    That’s certainly an interesting approach to getting out of an argument when the facts aren’t on your side.

  • Carstonio

    Some polls define the white working class by income, but increasingly
    the more politically unique group – and the most politically
    troublesome for Democrats — is those without college degrees…

    As most analysts have asserted, they are, as a group, trouble for Obama — in
    mid-August Romney led 48-35 — but there were interesting regional
    differences. Romney led Obama by a staggering 40 points in the South
    (62-22) while Obama actually led Romney 44-38 in the Midwest (hello,
    auto industry rescue?), and the two candidates were nearly tied in the
    West and Northeast. White working-class Protestants favor Romney 2-1,
    while Catholics are evenly split. Likewise, Romney clobbers Obama with
    men, but the candidates are tied for the votes of women. And younger
    white working-class voters support Obama.

    A pattern emerges: Obama is doing surprisingly well with white
    working-class voters — but he may have to write off most older,
    Southern, white working-class Protestant men

    My first reaction was, “Ya think?” This is the same demographic that benefited the most from Jim Crow’s white privilege, and old enough to remember legal segregation. In many parts of my state, legal desegregation wasn’t implemented until the late 1960s, and in at least one Catholic school the white and black students were taught in separate classrooms in the same building.

  • Figures.

  • Thing1

    Has anyone seen this nonsense (relevant to Pennsylvanian’s especially)? Holy crap, what an asshole.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    This is why the whole “DURRR, people game the system!” folks piss me off.

    I like to point out that G-d established a pretty high baseline for when it’s acceptable to punish the innocent along with the guilty:

    22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

    27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

  •  Sweet mother of crap… the combination of arrogance and idiocy is astounding (x.x)

  • Practically, you’re right. But I would still feel better about an overlord who was sort of out-of-touch and clueless versus totally malicious.

    My previous post works better in this voice, though (just because I think this video is awesome)

  • Ross Thompson

    Drones, yes; Gitmo, no. Not closing Gitmo was a Congressional decision.

    Well, kind of. Had he had his druthers, he’d have transferred the prisoners to Thompson Supermax in Indiana, because he didn’t object to indefinite detention without trial of people known to be innocent, he just didn’t like that it wasn’t happening in Cuba.

    Some of Congress voted against it because they didn’t want terrorists on American soil, and some voted for it because they didn’t want to perpetuate the basic iniquity.

    But the point is, even if he’d closed Gitmo, he would have closed Gitmo; he’d only have moved it a thousand miles North.

  • Ross Thompson

    Oh, and to extend that, he went on to decide that the best way to get round the trouble of imprisoning people without trial would be to execute them without trial (and, for that matter, without charge). That’s hardly a step in the right direction.

  • Nomuse

    Wait, which one?  The monster?  Or the magnificent creature he brought to life?

  • Antigone10

    Then I would recommend telling your Congress Critters to support Bernie Sanders Amendment: 

  • Tricksterson

    Thank you.

  • Tricksterson

    I’d be more willing to buy that if she hadn’t already changed her story twice.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I’m not sure there’s any practical difference. Someone who can’t afford bread is unlikely to be able to afford cake, and being governed by someone who has no idea that someone who can’t afford bread probably can’t afford cake really isn’t a significant improvement over someone who’s glad that there are people who can’t afford bread.

    It’s my understanding that ‘cake’ in this context refers to the semi-leavened detritus left over after the baking of bread – those spongy bits at the edge of the loaf which sort of have the consistency of cake.  It’s edible, just generally not considered very good…  So the statement wasn’t so much clueless as contemptous.  (Someone made it, it just wasn’t Marie Antoinette)

    Don’t look at me, I’m not one of the people who worship the Civil War as the greatest military event in history.

    Greatest military event in history?  Well, I suppose one could make certain arguments as to its significance… but I wouldn’t necessarily say that.  You’d have to define your criteria, first.

    Nonviolent and aimed at the government, so again not really an example of pitch forks and torches directly threatening the rich oppressors.

    But the (current) army was called out to deal with it, and there was a battle of sorts…


    The poll, taken Tuesday, showed 36% of registered voters indicating they
    would be less likely to vote for Romney after the tapes were released.
    Twenty percent said they were more likely to vote for Romney, and 43%
    said the tapes made no difference.

    20% more likely to vote

    20% more likely

    20% more likely

    20% more likely

    to vote for this incredible asshole?

    I am utterly transfixed in horrified amazement.

  • Tricksterson

    But overall a net decrease of 16%.

  • Windeagle63

    America was brought into being by people who put their lives, property and money (everything they had) to promote liberty. Liberty is the hope of all people who aspire to to being free from the rule, often called governance, of the blue bloods who seek to enslave all common people. Liberty entails personal responsibility. which sitting on your ass and believing someone else owes you a living  is about as obsene as the POPE cursing at mass. The blue bloods promote this false belief to enable their success. The  liberal  population of America is not deserving of the blood sacrifice that has been made for them by real Americans. That strata of population needs to go somewhere else to live or be exterminated. Mitt Romney, is actually speaking truth here, which sit on your ass peiple who call themselves Americans don’t want to hear. Treason is not a constitutional right. Get real or die.

  • As judgey mcjudgeycakes as this may sound


  • Lori

     I’d be highly dubious even then, but yes, I’d be at least somewhat more likely to take her word for it if that had been response #1, not #3.

  • AnonymousSam

    I find it incredibly ironic that you curse the blue bloods while praising Romney. Do you actually know what that term refers to? Nobility, the domain of the rich, those who claimed God himself blessed their bloodlines to be distinguishable from the working class by the paleness of their flesh. Workers would be tanned, dirtier and calloused, and thus their veins wouldn’t show up as clearly.

    Romney is the modern, US equivalent of nobility to a T, down to being conscious of his whiteness, to judge by his recent racist remark.

    By the way, at what point was I sitting on my ass, waiting for someone to drop liberty in my lap when I was working 90 hours a week for $25 a day? Or do your beliefs about us silly liberals extend to not deserving a living even if you’re being worked to death? I sure as hell had no health benefits, no retirement package, no reason to work there at all beyond that it was the only option available. That is, until they cut my position and sold it overseas to the Philippines at even worse pay, leaving me high and dry with nothing except serious illnesses brought on by the conditions I was forced to suffer through for that pathetic pittance of a paycheck.

    I’d say I’ve gotten it pretty fucking real. I’m also within spitting distance of the second part of that shitty, shallow thing to say to people in serious pain who are in no condition to change their circumstances. Victim blaming is the lowest, sickest facet of the human psyche, the disgusting antipathy of being able to look at people worse off than yourself and feel nothing but contempt for them. The world is not just. Plenty of people get slammed down into financial, social and emotional holes every year because of circumstances completely outside their control, and you don’t have the perspective, much less the right, to judge them for being in that hole.

    And you have the bloody nerve to say anyone needs to be “exterminated”? Fuck you. May everyone you know come to know you for the evil within your heart.

  • Lori


    But the (current) army was called out to deal with it, and there was a battle of sorts…  

    Still citizens vs government as opposed to oppressed masses vs rich oppressors (or more precisely, their hired goons). The redneck army at the Battle of Blair Mountain was fighting agents of the mine owners, not the government (at least not until the government intervened on the side of the owners).

  • Lori


    20% more likely

    to vote for this incredible asshole?

    I am utterly transfixed in horrified amazement.   

    I’m actually encouraged. It looks like the national 27% crazifaction index has dropped. That’s good news.

  • Lori

     Apparently Wingedeagle63, charming creature that s/he is. Apparently 20% of registered voters are just like him/her—-low on facts and high on violent fantasy.

  • Beroli

     I doubt anyone is actually “more likely” to vote for him. 20% of the people polled, who were already at 99.99999% chance of voting for Romney, just looked for the “most vehement expression of support for the Republican.”

    *The remaining .00001% chance being that Romney will make a campaign promise to have those people, individually and by name, thrown in an oubliette if he wins.

  • The_L1985

     But….but Republican Jesus said that 1 bad apple spoils the bunch!!1!!!!!111!!!one!!

  • The_L1985

     I think we have officially determined the percentage of utter assholes in society.  20%.

  • The_L1985

    “The blue bloods promote this false belief to enable their success.”

    Er, no.  “Blue bloods” mean RICH people.  And the overwhelming majority of America’s wealthy are calling everyone else lazy and stupid for not being rich like they are.  They do this in order to “enslave all common people,” because if they can keep us stupid and complacent, and make us believe “Oh, we don’t mean you, we only meant those other people over there,” they can keep getting richer in ways that actually make everyone else poorer.

    Also, if I genuinely want a job, but have a severe spinal defect that makes it impossible for me to stand for any long period of time, walk without assistance, or life damn near anything, am I lazy for receiving SSDI?  Some disabled people legitimately can not work, and demonizing all unemployed people as lazy is cruel and unjust to these people, and to those who want a job, are looking for a job, but can’t afford to get to anyplace that has job openings because they have no money, as a consequence of having no job.

    Furthermore, as has been pointed out in this very thread, a lot of the people who are severely disabled and can not work are being denied SSDI benefits in a ham-fisted attempt to punish the tiny, tiny percentage of people who game the system.  Is that justice?

    “That strata of population needs to go somewhere else to live or be exterminated.”

    No.  People are allowed to disagree with each other.  Just because you disagree with someone on political grounds does not make them a bad person.  This sort of argument–that patriotism somehow means “AGREE OR DIE”–is what is killing democracy and freedom in America today.

    “Treason is not a constitutional right.”

    And the Constitution defines treason as follows:  “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War
    against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and
      (verbatim from Article 3, Section 3)

    Please explain how “I don’t agree with an American presidential candidate” or “I don’t like that particular political party” is the same thing as declaring war on the United States, because I honestly don’t see the connection.  Free speech includes things you don’t agree with, as well as things you do agree with.  It also means that you have the right to make fun of us, and we have the right to make fun of you.

    It is impossible for everyone to agree about everything.  People are going to disagree with you.  DEAL WITH IT.

  • The_L1985

     Windeagle63, apparently.

  • The_L1985

    Personally, I’m still surprised that a 49-year-old hasn’t figured out “life’s not fair” yet.  Most people learn this at the age of 10.  Not to mention, there were civics classes in public schools in the 70’s and 80’s.  How did he not learn better?!

    (I’m assuming the “63” stands for a birth year of 1963.  I apologize if I’m incorrect in making that assumption.)

  • Ima Pseudonym

    “The  liberal  population of America is not deserving of the blood
    sacrifice that has been made for them by real Americans. That strata of
    population needs to go somewhere else to live or be exterminated.”

    …and then there’s this asshole. 

  • Oh boy. How did I miss THAT? O_O

  • Lori

    Just blessed with good fortune I guess.

  • Ross Thompson

    My wife’s grandfather won several Purple Hearts during WWII, and was strongly liberal. I wonder if he’s one of the “real Americans” who made “blood sacrifices”, or if he’s “not deserving” of what those blood sacrifices bought?

  • Vermic

    I’m as appalled as you.  “Strata” is plural.  He should’ve written “That stratum of population needs to go somewhere else to live or be exterminated.”

    Good grammar: your key to a brighter tomorrow!

  • BaseDeltaZero

    “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War 
    against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and 

    It’s that last part that’s sticky.  Simply define ‘Enemies of the United States’ as you please, and assume that anyone who says something that might be construed as semi-favorable to your enemy du-jour is ‘giving Aid and Comfort’, i.e. “You said that all Muslims aren’t actually evil killbots?  Then you’re giving them aid and comfort, therefore TRAITOR!”

  • Barb_Vass

    I have a sister who I voting for him for the wrong reasons. I’ve tried telling her that Romney ., hates women! I told my 2 other sisters, I did not want to be around her.