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Nov 16 2012

Romney and Obama’s ‘Gifts’

I’m sure you all know by now that Mitt Romney did a little Monday morning quarterbacking after losing the election, explaining to a group of major donors that it wasn’t his fault. He did all he could, but Obama just bribed all those poor and dark-skinned people to win their support:

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”

“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.” …

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.” …

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

We talk a lot about privilege; this is another form of it. It’s the privilege of rich white people to think that government programs that benefit them are just good public policy, while programs that benefit poor and minority people are “bribes” for “special interests.” Cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans? That’s not a bribe. Pledging to get rid of health care reform so the insurance companies make more money? Not a bribe. Promising to cut regulations, thus boosting the bottom line of corporate America? Also not a bribe.

Those wealthy donors who gave huge amounts of money to Romney’s campaign aren’t just being nice and most of them are not political ideologues. They are shrewd businessman making an investment that they know will pay off, in the form of thousands of decisions that will make them richer, often at the expense of the very people that Romney is attacking now. And Romney was promising them enough gifts to fill Santa’s sleigh. But they are rich and white, so that doesn’t count. Helping rich white people is what the government is supposed to do; helping poor minorities is something only Muslim atheist communist America-haters do.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    Jasper of Maine

    How is promising tax cuts and jobs not a bribe from either side? Isn’t any campaign promise a bribe?

  2. 2
    jesse

    You know what? If you add up all the “special interests”:

    – women
    – African-Americans
    – Latinos
    – Asians
    – LGBT
    – Native Americans
    – People under 30

    You get a majority of the population. Which means I call them Americans, Mitt. They are not some strange group of aliens foisted on us. They are citizens and more than a few are defending you right now.

    Why do we refer to women, half the population, as a special interest? If anyone is a special interest it is corporate leadership, and if we’re going to count corporations as people, well, they are a pretty narrow interest since they are 0.00001% of the population as a whole. And generally, what is good for corporations’ profits tends to be horrific for the rest of us.

    (Really, we make a lot of how the drive to profit improves lives, but I can’t think of too many examples where it could operate without very strict controls to avoid hellish outcomes. See slavery in the US as exhibit A).

  3. 3
    democommie

    “Those wealthy donors who gave huge amounts of money to Romney’s campaign aren’t just being nice and most of them are not political ideologues.”.

    It makes no difference WHY they support such odious policies. They’re fucking scum in my book. Someone who is already wealthy, kvetching about having to pay a significant portion of their income (when a lot of their income is the result of grifting the rubes, paying shitwages and denying health benefits to their employees or simply exporting the jobs to countries with dismal records on protecting the lower classes from predatory employers) gets fuckall in the way of sympathy from me.

    Romney was, is and will continue to be a piece of shit.

  4. 4
    andrewjohnston

    @Jasper: Precisely. Strip away the royalism, and Romney’s whole complaint is that people voted for the candidate they felt would best represent their interests.

    Of course it’s still rich coming from a guy who promised an across the board tax cut without cutting programs or lowering revenues.

  5. 5
    fifthdentist

    Translation: “They’re trying to steal back all that money we stole.”

  6. 6
    Ace of Sevens

    His promotion of government-guaranteed loans was the most blatant gift he advocated. If you have enough seed money, invest it in a project he likes and he’ll make sure you at least break even.

  7. 7
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @andrewjohnston, #4:

    For someone whose shtick requires people to vote against their interests becase OOGA BOOGA DARKIES TERRURISTS SOSHALIZM, that has to be a problem.

  8. 8
    wscott

    If you haven’t seen this new meme yet: https://twitter.com/search/%23ObamaGifts
    Personal favorite: “Was hoping for an iPad Mini from Obama, but will have to settle for universal health insurance coverage.”

  9. 9
    Taz

    “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,”

    Does it even cross his mind that this is a problem that needs to be solved? That maybe these people need some help? I’ve been amazed at how completely oblivious the Romney types are to the problems of average Americans. The CEO of Papa Johns Pizza whines and cries about having to raise the price of pizza 10 cents to give his employees health care, but shows no indication that he understands it’s a problem that his employees don’t have health care.

  10. 10
    cry4turtles

    Oooo I’m a special interest. Hope that makes me especially interesting!

  11. 11
    Jasper of Maine

    Taz
    Does it even cross his mind that this is a problem that needs to be solved?

    It costs quite a bit more to defend us from foreign armies than diseases, per family, but he doesn’t appear to have any problem with that kind of defense.

  12. 12
    matty1

    How is promising tax cuts and jobs not a bribe from either side? Isn’t any campaign promise a bribe?

    Not unless you want to use bribe to cover any and all interactions between people. Bribery of the sort people actually get arrested for involves paying for the rules to be broken and usually a clandestine element (the briber hides either the fact of the payment or what it was for). Neither of these apply to political promises so the use of term is just silly.

  13. 13
    erikjensen

    I have to disagree with Ed’s characterization of campaign contributions to Romney as the work of “shrewd businessman making an investment that they know will pay off…” Romney lost and will likely never run again. Any influence these people bought is now basically worthless.

  14. 14
    dobby

    Niall Ferguson writing in Newsweek said similar things. Obama bought the election with welfare, and welfare is primarily Social Security and Medicare. Just one problem, the people getting those benefits voted overwhelmingly for Mittens.

  15. 15
    composer99

    I’m not certain what Romney’s complaint is.

    In an election, a candidate for office must appeal to a sufficient number of voters to ensure victory.

    Different aggregates of voters will have different personal interests, and probably different conceptions of the national interest as well (which, knowing people, probably aligns with their personal interests more often than not).

    The obvious course of action is to craft policy platforms designed to appeal sufficiently different aggregates of voters so as to maximize one’s electoral turnout.

    Romney’s problem is that he, like his donors, conflated the interests of privileged & wealthy white men with the national interest. Not only that, but he campaigned on a platform that could reasonably appeal only to Christianist-authoritarian voting blocs.

  16. 16
    Modusoperandi

    andrewjohnston “Of course it’s still rich coming from a guy who promised an across the board tax cut without cutting programs or lowering revenues.”
    Oh, come on! Everybody knows that tax cuts pay for themselves, and Sesame Street and Pell grants are, like, half the budget!

    Taz “The CEO of Papa Johns Pizza whines and cries about having to raise the price of pizza 10 cents to give his employees health care, but shows no indication that he understands it’s a problem that his employees don’t have health care.”
    This is America! If the millions of working poor want healthcare they should do what John Schnatter did and be CEOs of major corporations.
    And he earned his position in life, starting out his company at the very bottom with nothing and no help from anyone, by buying half of his father’s restaurant.

  17. 17
    garnetstar

    I’m white and middle-class, but $10,000 a year in health care, “in perpetuity”, is a hell of a lot of money to me, too. Only multi-millionaires can afford American health care.

    And, sorry Mitt, but you are still living in fantasy land. $10,000 won’t cover one-tenth of the cost of one major illness, and our lifetime caps will kick in after that, so into bankruptcy we’ll go.

    So yeah, health care is a mighty good bribe for me. It successfully bought my vote, you want to make something of it?

  18. 18
    Cuttlefish

    Don’t forget the other promises that were made to the working poor. Not by Obama, but by Romney’s pals, who promised their workers that if Obama were re-elected, their jobs would be toast.

    Promising benefits is bad. Promising layoffs is just ducky.

  19. 19
    acroyear

    Romney, the true originalist: only landowning white men should vote.

  20. 20
    eamick

    @2:

    If anyone is a special interest it is corporate leadership, and if we’re going to count corporations as people, well, they are a pretty narrow interest since they are 0.00001% of the population as a whole.

    I agree with the broader point, but really? There are only about 30 corporations in the United States? Try again.

  21. 21
    Chiroptera

    Remember when Republicans used to accuse Democrats of engaging in “class warfare”? Ah, good times.

  22. 22
    CJO

    Yeah, people want things, Mitt, things like a working government, things you gave us no reason to believe you had any interest in delivering.

    I have to confess, I’m really enjoying watching the lying scumbags trying to save face over their debacle.

    However, I’ve a suspicion that it’s all part of a bigger game. Allow a few election cycles to go by, let the naive technocrats actually govern, and then when there’s enough in the coffers to make it worth plundering again, rinse and repeat the Bush years.

  23. 23
    thisisaturingtest

    Obama made promises, Romney made promises; the only real difference is in who the promises were made to. Obama’s were for things to people who need them, because they have nothing; Romney’s were for things to people who already had them, more of the same everything they already had enough of.

  24. 24
    Modusoperandi

    Chiroptera “Remember when Republicans used to accuse Democrats of engaging in ‘class warfare’? Ah, good times.”
    Used to?

  25. 25
    yoav

    I seem to remember the fix noise bubble heads telling us that everybody really hate the ACA, and just love the idea of getting kicked of their policy as soon as they got sick, which you would think will make it a terribly ineffective bribe. How the fuck do these guys manage to stop their heads from assploding every time they open their mouths?

  26. 26
    Worldtraveller

    >How the fuck do these guys manage to stop their heads from assploding every time they open their mouths?

    Their heads are so far up their own asses that the explosion is contained….

  27. 27
    brandthardin

    Romney should know now that money can’t buy everything. The racism of yesteryear has come full circle in our county. The entire world embraced our choice of a black President four years ago and most nations of the world still support him. The fringe elements of Republican sect have crept through into the mainstream once again with conservative mouthpieces planting the seeds of hate. The only doubt lies here at home rooting from bigotry. Watch the white hands paint Obama in Blackface at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/bamboozling-obama.html

  28. 28
    Rike

    “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said.
    I wonder how much money he saved from the Bush tax cuts? Of course those are neither gifts nor bribes, they are…they are…well, Mr. Rmoney, I consider them hand-outs.

  29. 29
    Pen

    It’s disgraceful how Obama tricked all those people into voting in their best interests.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I don’t really need that /sarcasm thing here, do I?

  30. 30
    Freeman

    wscott: thanks for the link. Some hilarious stuff there. My favorite:

    Top 5 #RomneyGifts: 1. Horse, for Ann. 2. Elevator, for cars. 3. Jobs, for China. 4. Stench, for Ryan. 5. Presidency, for Obama.

  31. 31
    speed0spank

    I find it extra funny that Romney ad his ilk rally against these “gifts” when they actually need them just as much. How on earth could you pay your employees such a shit wage without them striking if not for SNAP and Medicaid helping them out? Huge companies rely on those people getting help from the government, so they won’t have to pay actual living wages.

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