Monday, September 17, 2012

Romney goes malicious again

Coming off his ridiculous comments about the attack on our embassy in Libya and the death of our ambassador I didn't think Romney could say much more that would surprise me. And granted, he was talking to a group of potential donors. But these remarks did surprise me:

In his comments, Romney says that “these are people who pay no income tax,” but they are people “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.”

Republicans in general think this and say it frequently. But I don't recall this kind of bluntness and embrace of conservative rhetoric before. Ezra Klein does a good job on the technical problems with it in that link I posted above. I'll also send you to Jamelle Bouie for more commentary.

I'll just point out that he obviously has a very narrow definition of "dependent upon gov't". Everyone gets something from the gov't. It's just that Romney and conservatives only believe you are being dependent upon gov't if they aren't getting the benefits too.

For example, he suggests that the gov't doesn't have a responsibility to care for people. Again, it depends on how you define care. But ensuring people's safety is a core function of gov't. And this is something Romney and conservatives value greatly, as evidenced by their desire to increase defense spending. But defense spending benefits them, so it's not an entitlement and they aren't lazy for accepting the benefits.

It's the same for health care. Old people are the biggest beneficiaries of health care entitlements. And most old people vote Republican. So obviously Romney directs that part of his comment only to children, disabled, and poor adults who benefit from health care entitlements.

The part that really surprises me and makes me angry is the suggestion that no one is entitled to food or housing. How can you believe in the rights to life and liberty without believing that you should have some basic amount of food and shelter? You can't live without those things. Liberty means nothing without those things. If you don't think a child should be entitled to have food and shelter what is the point of claiming that child had an absolute right when it wasn't even born yet?

Modern Republicans are just completely freaking nuts. Where they don't have an inconsistent jumble of ideological values they have crazy ones. I hope Romney was just playing to his base here. It would be nice if he really didn't believe this. But even if he doesn't, he would still have to work with a Republican congress that largely does believe the things he said. And that should scare the shit out of anyone who isn't a rich white man.

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