Friday, June 15, 2012

Romney Gaffes: Oops, did I just say what I really think?

Photograph: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images
Politicians tend to be a disingenuous bunch.  They pander, flatter, distort, and sometimes outright lie just to get elected.  Democrats do it; Republicans do it.  But the extent to which Romney does it is beyond anything I remember in recent memory.  I'm creating this post (and will update it as necessary) to chronicle what seems to be a constant stream of comments, answers to questions, too candid remarks, and otherwise idiotic things he has said that betray what he really thinks and how he really feels (in no particular order). 
  • "He [Obama] wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers.  He says we need more fireman, more policemen, more teachers.  Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?  The American people did.  It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."  --- A Romney speech opposing more stimulus to hire more government workers.  It's one thing to rail against the faceless, nameless government bureaucrat but something else to actually name those good-for-nothin' parasitical government workers. (June 2012)
  • "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."  --- As if that isn't obvious based on his distinguished record at Bain Capital.  This was, to put it mildly, Romney's unfortunate choice of words while advocating for consumer choice in health insurance plans (January 2012)
  • "[My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs." --- As if everyone has two cars at their disposal!  I get that the Romney clan maintains separate residences so having two cars is reasonable but the casual nature of his remark suggests he is completely out of touch with the 'ordinary' American.  Romney said this while out campaigning for president in Michigan (February 2012)
  • "I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much." --- Romney's version of "not very much" is, I suppose, consistent with his wealth but comically at odds with the "not very much" most Americans envision.  This quote is in reference to the $374,000 he earned in speaking fees in one year according to his personal financial disclosure (January 2012)
  • "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love." --- Is Romney channeling Palin here? (January 2012)
  • "I love this state. The trees are the right height." --- You seriously can't think of anything else good to say about a state aside from the height of the trees?  Which states does he hate based on the (wrong) height of their trees?  He said this while campaigning in Michigan.  (February 2012)
  • "I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners." --- Again, props for his honesty here.  He desperately needs to woo the Nascar-loving segment of the electorate but, instead, he comments on how chummy he is with the team owners. (February 2012)
  • "I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks." --- Oh, Christ.  I thing he's trying to be funny here but there is nothing amusing about making people feel self-conscious.  He said this while addressing a group of NASCAR fans wearing plastic ponchos at the Daytona 500. (February 2012)
  • "Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend." --- You'd think given Romney's education pedigree (MBA and law degrees both from Harvard!) he would know the definition of a corporation.  Per the Legal Dictionary, a corporation is "an organization formed with state governmental approval to act as an artificial person to carry on business (or other activities), which can sue or be sued, and (unless it is non-profit) can issue shares of stock to raise funds with which to start a business or increase its capital."  This comment was in response to a heckler at the Iowa State Fair who had the audacity to suggest that higher taxes should be considered as part of a balanced budget.  (August 2011)
  • "But he [Obama] spent too much time at Harvard" --- This comment might have more traction if Romney hadn't spent more time at Harvard than Obama.  Romney earned both an MBA and JD during four years at Harvard whereas Obama earned just a JD (three years).  So if Obama spent too much time at Harvard and Romney spent even more time there than Obama did, what does that make Romney?  (April 2012)
  • "My own view, by the way, was that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that’s finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy. That was the right course I argued for from the very beginning. It was the UAW and the president that delayed the idea of bankruptcy. I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back." --- Umm, no, you can't take credit for the auto bailout, Mr. Romney, unless credit means talking out your ass both before and after the auto-bailout.  Too bad for you the internet makes it a bit more difficult to revise history these days (May 2012)
  • "We're only inches away from no longer being a free economy."  --- Romney's claim (for the third time!) that government spending has become so high the United States is at risk of becoming a socialist state (January 2012).  PolitiFact marshals evidence to show that this comment is a boldface lie (and using estimates from a conservative think tank, no less!).  US government spending as a percentage of GDP has remained relatively stable since 1996 although there was an uptick in 2009-10 due to increased government spending after the global financial crisis.  Also, taxes and regulation in the US are comparatively low when considered alongside other industrialized nations.  
  • “You’ll see my income, how much taxes I’ve paid, how much I’ve paid to charity, I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”  --- Romney's effective tax rate in 2010 was 13.9%, a rate considerably lower than most middle-class and well-to-do Americans pay.  To be fair, Romney's tax bill in an absolute sense was a lot -- $6.2 million to the federal government -- but as a percentage it was lower than the rates paid by Obama and Gingrich.  No rational person is going to volunteer to pay more taxes than he/she owes but what Romney fails to recognize (or appreciate?) is this:  he benefited magnificently from the infrastructure, laws, and business environment our government/country nurtured but then refuses to fully acknowledge the role government played in his financial success.  Sorry, Mr. Romney, but no one -- not even you -- can claim they "made it" by their efforts and their efforts alone.  Yes, you are a smart, ambitious, resourceful, hard-working man but government cultivated an environment in which you could succeed.  (January 2012)
Updated 06/18/2012:
  • "Well, we’ll go through that process with Congress as to which of all the different deductions and the exemptions —" --- Romney in response to a question posed by Bob Schieffer asking about how Romney would generate revenue by cutting taxes.  Mr. Schieffer's question was, "You haven't been bashful about telling us you want to cut taxes.  When are you going to tell us where you're going to get the revenue?  Which of the deductions are you going to eliminate?  Which of the tax credits are you going to -- when are you going to be able to tell us that?"  Since the economy and jobs are the cornerstone of Romney's platform you'd think he would have more specifics in mind.  Perhaps he does but he is remaining coy until his campaign can repackage and spin them such that they won't seem as objectionable to the average American?   
Updated 08/01/2012 (this isn't so much as a gaffe as an idiotic response to a reasonable question):
  • "I tend to tell people what I actually believe, and referring to the comments that were made in the media was something which I felt was an honest reflection of what was being concerned, what was concerning folks and having had the experience I'm absolutely convinced the organizing committee did what people hoped which is overcome the challenges and produced a brilliant product."  This long-winded, Palin-esque reply was in response to a question from ABC News' David Muir re: Romney's comments about the London Olympics.  This statement is ridiculous on so many levels, not least of which is his claim that he tends "to tell people what I actually believe."  Well, Mr. Romney, you better be babbling at the mouth non-stop because what you believe seems to change much too frequently. 
Updated 09/18/2012 (this isn't really a gaffe since Romney was being remarkably candid during a private fundraiser about the 'moochers' of American society paying no income tax) :
  • "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."  His disdain for the American common man is astonishing. 
Updated 09/27/2012.  Maybe it's the grueling travel schedule, or maybe it's the fact that he's been campaigning for so long that he's lost touch with reality.  Either way, this is awesome:
  • "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem."  Romney commenting on the smoke-filled airplane his wife was flying on and how the windows don't open.  Pressurized cabin, Mitt?

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