Democrats are giddy with joy this week, popping champagne corks while circle dancing around what they believe is the flaming wreckage of Mitt Romney’s doomed presidential campaign.
I still see plenty of daylight left for Romney to right the ship and give President Barack Obama a run for his money on Election Day. And that word — money — is the reason why. Behind badly in the polls and losing more ground every day, Romney’s staff knows they can’t rely on the gullible American electorate to push them over the finish line. So instead, they rely on the millions contributed by a few very wealthy donors to counter the millions of voters they continue to alienate every day.
Even though the gaffes are coming at a such a furious pace from the Romney camp it’s hard to keep up, and the past ten days have been among the worst in campaign history, there remains among the GOP the reasonable hope that there are enough brain dead knuckle-draggers left out there who can hate a Black president enough to vote against their own best interests.
First there was the GOP convention in Tampa, where racist delegates threw peanuts at a Black CNN camerawoman, and Clint Eastwood turned out to be an incoherent old man who holds lengthy, babbling conversations with an empty chair.
Romney and running mate Paul Ryan had to run away from their own party’s platform, or risk having to answer uncomfortable questions about no-exception abortion bans, and “legitimate” rape. Having just thrown Senate candidate Todd Akin under the bus for expressing the same sentiments, the top of the ticket was forced to remain silent.
The plastic candidate was then chastised by his own party when his nomination speech failed to mention the war in Afghanistan, and failed to thank the troops for their service.
Then Romney shot from the hip in his condemnation of the Obama administration’s response to the spreading riots in the Middle East — one of which resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador. Romney’s rebuke was early and off the mark, and introduced naked political pandering into a situation that called for cooler heads and critical thinking.
Then the tape came out.
Surely you’ve seen it by now, since the whole country has been obsessed with the YouTube video for almost a week. Romney, at a $50,000 a plate fundraising dinner held last spring at the ritzy Boca Raton mansion of hedge fund manager and Sixers co-owner Marc Leder, said that 47 percent of the country are lazy, entitlement moochers who aren’t going to vote for him anyway, so he’s not going to concern himself with them.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said smugly. “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. And the government should give it to them. . . . These are people who pay no income tax."
As a side note, if you haven’t read the transcript of the videotape, available online, I recommend you do so, if only to amaze yourself at the shocking stupidity of the questions Romney fielded from the fat cat partygoers. Their utter lack of insight, political knowledge, and understanding of the world is dizzying, especially when you consider these are the folks who believe they are entitled to rule over the rest of us simply because of the size of their wallets.
But back to the 47 percent.
I wonder if Romney knows that included in his 47 percent of lazy, unworthy moochers is every wounded soldier who goes to the VA hospital for an artificial limb. It’s every grandmother who relies on Medicare for her prescription drugs. It’s the working mom with two jobs who still has to feed her kids ramen noodles and hot dogs for supper. It’s every hardworking student who needs a Pell grant in order to afford college.
They are the people we care for because they need our help, because helping them is the decent thing to do, and because to refuse that help would make us callous, soulless, self-important plutocrats — like the dimwits who pay $50,000 to listen to an empty suit.
Rather than rejoice in his implosion, in the end, I almost feel sorry for Romney. Almost.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.