Plutocracy: --noun 1) the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy. 2) a government or state in which the wealthy class rules. 3) a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.
Mitt Romney: "I was too important to go to Vietnam."
While many genuine conservatives* were criticizing Governor Romney and/or his incompetent campaign in the aftermath of a release of the surreptitious recording make while he was speaking at a $50,000/plate fund raiser held at the Boca Raton home of controversial private equity manager Marc Leder last May, reactionary Glenn Beck, so desperate to see President Obama defeated this November, was distracting his listeners this week by distorting what Obama said four and a half years ago and by whining about what the media should have been covering besides the content of these revealing statements from Romney.
First, for those who have not heard what Romney said at the fund raiser, the following two videos are available at the liberal Mother Jones Magazine website. This is what Beck thought the media should be ignoring.
According to the source of these recordings, the recording device was accidentally turned off here. He noticed this after 1-2 minutes and turned the device back on to capture the rest of Romney's remarks at this fund-raiser.
Now, what was Beck's response on his website? The link from Beck's newsletter reads " See the not-so-shocking shock video and Glenns reaction," which goes to a page entitled "SHOCKING LIBERAL VIDEO: MItt Romney thinks people can take care of themselves." Consistency is not the hallmark of Beck or his reactionary crew, but I digress. Beck's only relevant response on that page was:
I have absolute disdain for those Americans who can support themselves but do not. I don’t for those who can’t those who can’t make it. That’s what we’re there for. That’s what we do as people. We help each other. But there are far too many people that can help themselves that don’t.The lead paragraph to this piece on his site begins: "The media are falling all over themselves today at a so called ‘controversial’ comment from Mitt Romney that was ‘caught’ on secret hidden video at a private fundraiser." Got that? Controversial is in quotes because Beck ignores who are actually in the 47% to whom Romney referred to focus on a small segment of the population who can but do not work. (Like wealthy millionaires, who have retired young for example, and other would-be supporters of Gov. Romney.)
I'll come back to the make-up of the 47% momentarily. First, Beck, the self-proclaimed rodeo clown and shill for the Party he just months ago (falsely?) claimed to hate, Beck thinks the media should ignore what Governor Romney said to his fellow millionaires to cover any of nine stories overseas. Pay no attention to the man behind the waiter, and look: there is a strike taking place in South Africa. Beck also reminded listeners that President Obama had previously derided Middle America as “clinging to their God and guns”. Except, not surprisingly, that quote is wrong and he wasn't referring to "Middle America." Obama actually said:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Count on Mr. Beck to distort the facts or to convey a quote either wrong or out of context. It is one of his many techniques of propaganda. Beck certainly did not want to focus on who makes up the 47% of people who do not pay federal income taxes. This is explained on the Politico website:
Half of those nonpayers earn too little to pay any taxes, and half of them get there through tax deductions and exemptions, according to the Tax Policy Center. Of the latter half, 44 percent use tax deductions designed to help the elderly, and 30 percent use tax deductions that aid the working poor or children.
The Tax Policy Center uses a family of four earning less than $26,400 as an example. After the $11,600 standard deduction and four $3,700 exemptions, they have no taxable income. Romney was just deceiving his audience (yet again). No wonder Mr. Beck wanted his viewers to not pay attention to the man behind the waiter. Romney came across in this fund-raiser as an indifferent plutocrat. Two days later, Romney flip-flopped yet again and tried to argue that he supports "the 100%." Maybe he listened to Obama on David Lettermen the night this video was released; maybe someone in his campaign reminded him what office he was seeking.
At any rate, Republican commentator, Peggy Noonan wrote in The Wall St. Journal that "The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.' " Romney, the businessman who turned companies around (or destroyed them with debt) wants people to vote for a man whose campaign is a "rolling calamity."
cheerleader for the 0.001%
Beck's response, on the other hand, was to claim that a video about Romney and his supporters was "LIBERAL," a word that discredits what is in the video in the minds of Beck's reactionary supporters, and to ignore it to make sure that plutocrat Romney gets elected. Beck, recently, has been all about getting Obama out of the White House, and to this end he conveyed on that same webpage the following:
“Here’s the good news: They didn’t see you coming then. They don’t see you coming now. They didn’t know you would wake up in time. That you would apply yourself. That you wanted to learn about your country. Learn about history. That you would take the time and teach it to your children. They didn’t know you would ignore the mainstream media, and then find new media or make media yourself. They had no idea you would have been involved in spreading the truth to anyone who would listen. They had no idea you’d go door-to-door. You’d go all night long if you had to. ”
“They had no idea and they still don’t. They had no idea. They didn’t realize that you would save America. Because they’ve never seen it as worth saving. They don’t understand you. I do.”
“Millions of Americans do. You are not alone. You are not in the backseat. You are in the driver’s seat. Make no mistake of that. No matter what the mainstream media says. No matter what the government says to you know that you are on driver’s seat. They are more afraid of you than you are of them. They have reason. That’s why they’re building these gigantic server farms to monitor everything you do because they are terrified of you and listen to me now Washington. You should be. Because come this November we are coming to re-claim our rightful place as the owners of this country.”
It is claimed by many that this will be a "base election" meaning that Republicans and Democrats will be working to get their known supporters out to the polls. Beck is certainly doing his level best to do this and has been for months. With Romney suffering the worst week of his campaign to date, it is possible that the election will fall to the slice of low-information voters who are only now beginning to tune in.
As if what is in the video is not damaging enough for Governor Romney's quest for the White House, remember that not long ago he said, "I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires." Yesterday, Romney released his 2011 income taxes as he said he would. His tax rate for 2011 would've been around 9-10 percent but he did not take some deductions to intentionally increase his tax bill. So Romney cooked his tax return and used an accounting trick to pay more than he actually owed in order to not undercut his previous claim that he paid at least 13% every year. Romney is paying more in 2011 than is legally due. By his own admission, he is not "qualified to become president." You will not hear Beck explain this to his gullible followers, but voters in swing states can count on hearing about this from the Obama campaign in the coming weeks if they are not already.
Can you say "rolling calamity?"
Update, 9/25/2012: The following video from a school teacher in CO demonstrates, again, Romney's condescending, plutocratic attitude toward the working stiffs who make this country great:
At one point, I said to him, "I have an answer for that." And he said, "I didn't ask you a question."
How very "presidential."
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* From The American Prospect newsletter: DAILY MEME: PARTY FOUL
- The progressive response to Mitt Romney's secret remarks released by Mother Jones yesterday was well-documented and resounding, but the conservative response was a little more mixed.
- David Brooks was not impressed by Romney. "This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. … It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. ... It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture."
- John Sununu was not impressed with Mr. Brooks: "David Brooks ought to be ashamed of himself for re-categorizing what Mitt Romney said that way.”
- Reihan Salam name-dropped a bunch of conservative thinkers who don't quite agree with Romney's take on the tax code, and said, "We need conservative politicians who are willing to explain why low-income and middle-income parents should be removed from the tax rolls during the years they are making the biggest investments in their children."
- And as Ramesh Ponnuru points out, most people "don’t see Americans as divided between makers and takers. To the extent Republicans do, they’re handicapping themselves."
- A Daily Caller reporter (Daily Caller!) called the 47 percent line of thinking "incredibly shortsighted politics and economics."
- Michael Walsh says "the hell with them" to all those fake conservatives, and throws in a Civil War analogy to boot. Because right after declaring war on half of America, it's the perfect time to bring the bloodiest war in American history to mind.
- Jim Treacher, on the other hand, is like, duh, of course that's what Romney believes. That's what we all believe, you moochers!
- Bill Kristol tries to have his cake and eat it too: "It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant."
- Rich Lowry isn't eating that cake: "The overall impression of Romney at this event is of someone who overheard some conservative cocktail chatter and maybe read a conservative blog or two, and is thoughtlessly repeating back what he heard and read."
- Matt Welch writes that "the reason this controversy will have legs is ultimately because many Republicans think Romney's comments were just fine. They are about to learn what the rest of the country thinks about that."
- The real solution, says Erick Erickson, is for the Romney campaign to see the press as they truly are: archenemies. There's a tack they surely haven't tried before!
- But in the end, as Nick Gillespie sums it up: "Let's not mince words: President Barack Obama is one lucky bastard."