So a video comes out, one that shows Mitt Romney’s (inaccurate) comments about the 47% who pay no income tax (well, no federal income tax, and well, some of those are kids, and well, some of those are seniors, and well, 4,000 of them are millionaires who paid no taxes last year).
Romney blows that group off, claiming he has no chance of getting their votes because they see themselves as “victims,” “entitled to health care, food, housing” who won’t take responsibility for their lives.
And, of course, this has blown up all over the media today, with Romney attempting damage control last night (didn’t work) and commentators from MSNBC to David Brooks in the Times (you can read him here) ripping Romney.
Deservedly so. In his comments, Romney simply apes the Fox News Nation view of the world, the “job creators” vs. the “deadbeats.”
But does anyone remember a presidential candidate four years ago, taped making somewhat similar comments? A guy out in San Francisco at a fund raising dinner?
A guy who said, “But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of 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. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Yeah, that guy. Barack Obama.
And here’s the kicker: To their audiences, what both candidates said was accurate. Speaking to their bases, Romney and Obama conjured up caricatures that appealed to the audience’s notions of what the “other guys” look like.
That might be the saddest part of all. Two intelligent, successful men dive into stereotypes to appeal to their audiences.
Ironic in that both men are subject to stereotypes as well.
And that’s the nature of American politics: Find the right narrative, one that usually involves distorted views of the world, and pound away.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.