Secret Romney Tape Means We Can Finally Stop Talking About Obama's Failed Foreign & Domestic Policy!

Let's not mince words: President Barack Obama is one lucky bastard.

Last week, he got a near-total pass from the press regarding foreign policy due to what was at worst a case of bad timing by GOP challenger Mitt Romney. This week (and possibly beyond), Obama is being helped out big time by the release of a tape in which Romney inveighs against people who receive payouts from the government.

Maybe Romney could have waited another few hours after the killing of our ambassador to Libya but does anyone still think that Obama has any idea of what he's doing with regard to foreign policy?

Yet after disastrous attacks on U.S. people and places in Egypt and Libya - and thoroughly unconvincing claims by the administration that such deadly violence "is not an expression of hostility in the broader sense toward the United States or U.S. policy" - it was Mitt Romney who got tagged as having "the worst week in Washington." According to the media, Romney had finally crossed a line no decent human being ever dare cross by criticizing a sitting president while protesters demonstrated outside something like 20 U.S. embassies around the globe

As Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki put it, Romney's willingness to criticize the president "does raise a question of whether his team is ready for prime time when it comes to these issues.”

You got that? Obama is the president, is the guy who extended the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan, still has folks in Iraq, unilaterally decided to drop bombs in Libya (where our ambassador and other people were just killed by an RPG-armed mob ostensibly annoyed at a YouTube clip), maintains a kill list, and pursues drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen (sites of demonstrations). But it's Mitt Romney who's the screwup.

Romney is hardly blameless in all this, of course; as the failure of whatever Obama's mideast and Muslim policies are supposed to be is coming fully into view, he has hardly proposed a meaningful alternative other than looting the treasury to pay for yet more defense and bellicosity throughout the world.

And now, as Peter Suderman noted, his comments about "the 47 percent" will dominate the news cycle from now until the next gaffe. Romney's comments at a private fundraiser were taped and have been released by the progressive magazine Mother Jones under the headline, "Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters."

In the tape, Romney says

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.

There are plenty of things to pick apart in this statement - and that's already mostly been done. As it happens, entitlement spending generally increases faster under Republican presidents than under Democratic ones, and Romney's devotion to seniors - who often pay no income taxes due to their retired status and reliance in Social Security - has been repaid with their willingness to vote for him. As the conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru wrote before the tape was released, Mitt Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Republicans in general are mistaken when they pin Obama's popularity to welfare payouts. After noting that seniors are increasingly voting Republican even as government payouts to them have increased, Ponnuru goes on to say

It’s true that Americans with low incomes -- more and more of whom now receive food stamps and federally subsidized health insurance -- have generally voted for Democrats over Republicans. But in 2010, these voters shifted toward Republicans even as food stamps, unemployment benefits and the like continued to increase.

Conservatives have even less reason for worrying about people who don’t pay federal income taxes. A major reason that the number of those people has grown is that a Republican-controlled Congress created, and the Bush administration expanded, a tax credit for parents. If there is any evidence that in recent years middle-class parents have become more Democratic, relative to the general electorate, I haven’t seen it.

While the tape may have a different effect on voters due to its "secret" nature, the fact is that the GOP has been pushing the "makers" versus "takers" line for a long time. If that distinction hasn't pushed "takers" such as seniors and younger households who only pay payroll taxes into the arms of Obama and the Democrats already, it's not clear that this story will. As blogger Ann Althouse summarizes her reaction, "Presented at Mother Jones as if it's quite disturbing, but I don't see anything bad in there at all."

From a purely political perspective, the real question is what effect, if any, on swing voters who voted for Obama in 2008 but are up for grabs. These are the people Romney talks about as "the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side." Recent polls had shown Romney up by 15 percentage points with independents, but that could all vanish if they start to feel an ick factor attached to Romney's fundraiser-event comments (despite however much they mirror his stump speeches).

I know plenty of people who lean toward the Republican rhetoric (and it's only rhetoric) when it comes to economic issues but recoil due to the party's positions and attitudes towards gays, immigrants, and broadly defined secularism.

Gallup reports that a sizable 62 percent of independents still think "government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businessess." That can't be good for Obama, whose worldview is very much about expanding government's role in everything.

For me, the real issue is that this mini-flap again deflects attention away from the state of the economy and related issues regardless of who wins. I have little to no use for Romney's platform such as it is. Indeed, the most compelling case for Romney's election was delivered by Clint Eastwood. The Squint's basic pitch had nary to do with the GOP standard-bearer. Rather, Eastwood argued simply that Obama didn't get the job done so he should be fired. That may or may not be effective, but Romney is pretty incidental to it.

But Obama's actual record is worth sussing through. As spun out at the Democratic National Convention, Obama's domestic policy moves have seen nothing but success. Either the stimulus flat-out worked or, if it didn't actually achieve any of its goals in terms of reducing unemployment, it staved off far worse outcomes. You got that, America: If I hadn't gotten to do what I wanted, says President Obama, you'd be even more out of a job. The illegal auto bailout was so successful that it will never earn back what was spent on it. Health care reform, which expands the budget-breaking program Medicare and yet manages to protect completely the budget-breaking program Medicare, will help the country's bottom line because it forces more people to pay for insurance so good they have to be forced to pay for it. The president's plans for the future include more spending, slightly more taxes (but only on the rich) and deficits for at least the next 10 years (his budget proposal only goes that far).

When the focus shifts from economic policy to things such as the drug war, or immigration, or transparency, well...noboby really wants to discuss those things anyway, right?

So thank god for this latest flap over Romney saying in private essentially what he says in public. Because if it weren't for that, we might actually get around to discussing something/anything that actually has a real bearing on just how bad whoever gets elected in November is going to screw things up even more. After all, a presidential campaign is really just not the place for that sort of discussion.

Related: Read Matt Welch's "Romney's 47 Percent Line is a Common GOP Trope, and It's Wrong." And J.D. Tuccille's "Will Americans Things They're Romney's 47 Percent? Or One of the 53 Percent?"

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  • Tim||

    Yes, we have no banannas.

  • Fluffy||

    Gotta admit, I like Romney better now.

    If Secret Tape Romney were the candidate, I'd root for him.

    But you know what? I'm just cynical enough that I don't think this tape "caught the real Romney in an unguarded moment". Even THIS Romney is a put-on. It's just the persona he trotted out for Rich Guy Fundraiser.

  • Tim||

    It's Romneys all the way down.

  • Rich||

    8-)

    And Obamas all the way "forward".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    More like a daisy chain of Obamas all butt-fucking each other, because he's that narcissistic.

  • Fluffy||

    The Wookie has his penis, so that would not work.

  • Generic Stranger||

    He should have let her win...

  • Lyle||

    I agree. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd be happy if he doubled down on his statement.

    He's right.

  • Rich||

    Should be *Jen* Psaki, Nick.

    Other than that, nicely done.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yes, the coverage is due to luck.

  • Fluffy||

    He should secretly leak a sex tape with Ann.

    Then when anyone asks him about "the tape", he can say, "Which one?" or "I'm not going to dignify that with a response" or maybe even "That's not me, that's R. Kelly!"

  • Rich||

    LOL

    It'd be great if the answer to every question in the debates were "I'm not going to dignify that with a response".

  • jester||

    ...and it would dispel all those rumors about exactly how up-standing Mormons do do it. Sheets? No sheets? Does the bishop get to watch? etc.

  • hotsy totsy||

    LOVE this!!

  • ||

    There is never any shortage of squirrels to point to is there?

    A+ on the alt-text on the last picture Nick.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yeah, what is new about this?

    "Romney to NAACP: ‘Vote for the other guy’ if you want free stuff"

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201.....ree-stuff/

  • WTF||

    President Barack Obama is one lucky bastard.

    Last week, he got a near-total pass from the press regarding foreign policy due to what was at worst a case of bad timing by GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

    Romney has nothing to do with the press giving Obama a pass, and luck has got nothing to do with it, either.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yeah, the tape was recorded a couple of months ago.

  • ||

    Love that pic of The One. He looks like a black John Edwards.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    In that photo, he looks like Steve O. from Jackass.

  • Loki||

    The sad thing is I'd vote for Steve-O over Obama.

    Wait a minute, Steve-O, Obama, and he uses a big O as his symbol? I can't believe I never connected the dots before now. Obama IS Steve-O in black face! The last 4 years were just a big elaborate Jackass prank on the whole country.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Holy fuck. Mind. Blown.

  • Mo||

    I'sn't the worst part of the video where he says, "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives"?

    That goes completely contrary to what he's been pitching. Getting people back to work, giving the stink eye to China so manufacturing gets back on its feet and undoing Obama's Medicare cuts all targets those people.

    I agree that Obama has been one lucky SOB. If he was up against a credible opponent, this would be a walk for the GOP.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    That goes completely contrary to what he's been pitching.

    How so?

  • Mo||

    His pitch on helping people get jobs back and through his force of personality will bring manufacturing jobs from China. That message is targeted at unemployed people that are likely in that 47% because they're unemployed.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "His pitch on helping people get jobs back and through his force of personality will bring manufacturing jobs from China. That message is targeted at unemployed people that are likely in that 47% because they're unemployed."

    You mean he's trying to get the votes of the 47% even though he told people he wanted money from he isn't going to get them? The horror.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Who the hell wants a manufacturing job if you're getting all kinds of free stuff for doing, basically, nothing?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I'sn't the worst part of the video where he says, 'My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives?'"

    Except he's talking about his job as a candidate. His point to the donors at a fundraiser is that, true or false, he isn't going to get the vote of people that feel entitled to something from gov't.

  • Mo||

    Hasn't that been his pitch to the elderly? Obama want's to cut Medicare, but I won't let him.

    "I'm old! Gimme, gimme, gimme."

  • Mo||

    *wants

  • John||

    Where do you get the idea that old people don't pay taxes. My dad pays taxes out of the ass. If you have a retirement, they tax that. If you make any money, they tax your social security. If you have any investments or own something, they tax that income.

    Old people pay taxes just like everyone else does. Where did this idea that they don't come from?

  • Mo||

    Depends on which elderly. SS benefits aren't considered taxable income, so if that makes up the bulk of your retirement income (or if other sources are less than standard deduction) than you won't pay taxes. The majority of people that don't pay income or payroll taxes are elderly.

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org.....eholds.cfm

  • John||

    Depends on which elderly. SS benefits aren't considered taxable income

    If you have enough outside income it is. And no way are a majority of people who don't pay taxes elderly. Most old people make more than just social security. And that is all taxable. If you don't want to pay taxes, own a big house, have a couple of kids and make less than 100K a year.

  • Mo||

    And no way are a majority of people who don't pay taxes elderly. Most old people make more than just social security.

    I didn't say a majority of the elderly don't pay taxes. I said a majority of people that pay no federal taxes (payroll or income taxes) are elderly. Which is what the link I posted showed. They didn't break out the portion that pay payroll taxes, but no federal income taxes, but there's likely a decent number of the elderly there as well. Also, not all non SS income is taxable. There are lots of tax advantaged investments.

  • Peej||

    Actually Mo, if you follow your link, you will see that of the 46.4% who paid no federal income tax in 2011, only 10.3% are elderly. That's not a majority. Helps if you actually look at the data on the graphs, rather than how the Brookings Institution chooses to spin them.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Hasn't that been his pitch to the elderly? Obama want's to cut Medicare, but I won't let him."

    Sure, but that has little to do with being at a fundraiser explaining you are probably at a disadvantage with a large percentage of the population in order to try to...oh I don't know...raise funds?

  • MonsieurOblong||

    It's true, but the sad thing is, Romney is the best the GOP has to offer. He was the best of a science-denying incompetent bunch of loons in the primary. Ron Paul never stood a chance, nor did Johnson or Huntsman. The party continually insists on opposing a litmus test on anyone crazy enough to run, and it's only getting worse. What I fear is that the GOP will take away from a Romney loss, after a McCain loss, is "see what happens when we vote for a 'moderate' who doesn't believe in a theocracy?" and insist on even more more extremism in the party.

    The sad thing is, I could have voted for earlier versions of McCain or Romney, but I could never vote for what the party turned them into.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "He was the best of a science-denying incompetent bunch of loons in the primary"

    Oh Hell, that stamement can be applied to either party. For a Mormon, Romney has had a pro-science voting record in his time as Gov. that most neoLiberals will never be able to boast.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "let's not mince words"

    The press is in the tank for Obama. The press will make a fuss over ANYTHING if it will let them duck discussing just how bad a President Obama has been, especially compared to the hype they spread about how great he was going to be. The press has reached levels of sycophantic butt-kissing previously only achieved in countries run by dictators who owned the press. If the journalism majors who are writing this drivel were capable of feeling shame, they would commit suicide.

    Romney isn't perfect. He may not even be very good. It is even just barely conceivable that he is worse than Obama. Compared to the press covering this election, he's Jesus Christ, Einstein, and Mohammed Ali rolled into one.

  • Drake||

    "The Middle East is in flames, American embassies are under attack, and an Ambassador has been assassinated. The economy is tanking and inflation is rising. But our top story tonight - Mitt Romney said something mildly unpleasant."

  • Stephdumas||

    Yeah, what a good diversion for the media.

    Meanwhile, it's interesting to check on Breitbart.com how that story is covered by curiosity.
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-G.....nservative

  • MonsieurOblong||

    Sycophants or not, I'm not taking as credible a source that is only followed by those who do ever-more-painful backflips to ignore the reality behind what was said here. Media bias in favor of Obama is one thing, but "I-can't-hear-you-la-la-la" unwillingness to check any of the actual facts behind the issues at hand is Romney's (and the GOP's) only remaining constituency. I just can't wait 'till the party implodes so we can get an alternative that is, in fact, pro-liberty, pro-science, pro-logic, and pro-human.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Aye, I figure it's only a matter of time before they start referring to him as "The Dear Leader" or some such.

    Their ballprints-on-the-chin love for him is a little hard for me to fathom. I guess love truly is blind...and deaf...and stupid.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    What gets to me is the towering incompetence. They've told the "We're the Press. We're neutral." lie so often that they actually believe it.

    See, the press was NEVER neutral. Read Mencken's memoirs; in any town of any size there would likely be two papers. One would back the party in power (and get the government printing contracts), the other would back the opposition (and was usually bankrolled by some rich guy with ambitions to be Governor). And each side knew that the other existed, and would happily exploit any sloppy writing they did. So some kind of minimal standard was upheld, for purely practical reasons.

    The modern Press has been Liberal Left by a huge margin for so long that they've forgotten what it is like to have real opposition. And in the time since talk radio and the internet became serious political venues, they haven't learned a damn thing. I've see better writing in High School newspapers. That were covering the election of the Prom Queen.

  • Loki||

    That were covering the election of the Prom Queen.

    Are you sure this isn't a Prom Queen election on a national scale?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Would God that it were. Prom Queen doesn't matter one twentieth as much as the School Paper thinks it does. This election is likely to matter a great deal more than the Press is capable of understanding.

    I don't say this in a "Fight for the Soul of the Country" sense. So far as I can see the last President who had a handle on that was Truman. But something needs to be done to get us out of our economic doldrums. Obama is, by his very nature, incapable of doing anything likely to help. Romney may well do anything good that he ends up doing in order to shove money into the hands of people he likes (not that Obama doesn't), but it is at least remotely possible that he will do something that helps, if for the wrong reasons.

    Why do I care if we slump through four more years of doldrums? Because I expect a big terror attack sometime soon. Something that will make the 9/11 attacks look like a skinned knee. If we are economically depressed, we will be likelier to lash out. We probably will anyway, but I want to play the odds as much as I can.

    I'm really scared that the idiots in the Middle East are going to push us into Imperialism. They don't have the power to destroy us. They probably don't really have the power to seriously hurt us. They DO have the power to make us seriously angry, and if that happens, when the smoke clears we are going to be stuck running most of the Middle East for a couple of hundred years. And that's the OPTIMISTIC outlook.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Aye, I figure it's only a matter of time before they start referring to him as "The Dear Leader" or some such.

    Makes me wonder how much of the propaganda in places like North Korea is forced at bayonet point and how much is just self delusion.

  • T o n y||

    You've typed words, but all I see is "waaaaah!" Like the media shouldn't cover this tape out of, what, fairness?

    There are lots of conservative and liberal blowhards in the media. The hard news only seems liberal because Republicans have evolved to be completely incapable of telling the truth except by accident. It's only natural when your basic political platform is to oppose the president no matter which facts get in the way.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Fairness? Who gives a flip! What I'd like to see is some small degree of competence. If you are in the tank for one candidate for office, you are supposed to be at least less obvious than a chess-club geek who the head cheerleader is leading around by the nose ... while she's still dating the quarterback. My god, people, have a little PRIDE!

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "It's only natural when your basic political platform is to oppose the president no matter which facts get in the way."

    . . . and as to those determined to suck Executive Cock, reality be damned?

  • dinkster||

    Facts don't stop the big O either, he just drone bombs them.

  • Jackand Ace||

    "Yet after disastrous attacks on U.S. people and places in Egypt and Libya - "

    Hey Nick...I've got news for you...disastrous attacks occur all the time and under any President. Bush had 8 embassy attacks in his 8 years. Reagan had the barracks bombing that killed 241 Marines in Lebanon. If Gary Johnson gets elected (and it would be great if you once in a while spoke about him) he will have his moments as well, unless you reside in a fantasy world.

    But even more telling is this comment from you:
    "Because if it weren't for that, we might actually get around to discussing something/anything that actually has a real bearing on just how bad whoever gets elected in November is going to screw things up even more."

    Brother...how about you being proactive about electing Gary Johnson instead of just whining about everyone else? If you've already given up, whats the point of all this?

  • InfernalBear||

    Yes, PLEASE! Ignore reporting on topics that are in the news and focus your laser beam journalism on Johnson. Narrow your sights a bit!

  • Jackand Ace||

    Report away, but for God's sake stop the incessant whining about everyone else. If all you can do is complain about the other guy, it means your guy has nothing to say.
    If you don't take your guy seriously, why should anyone else.
    The pessimism and resignation is getting old.

  • MJGreen||

    'Our' guy is not going to win. Pessimism and resignation are only logical traits.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Well, thanks MJ for being honest about it.
    Then the remaining problem is this...you are still advancing a cause. You may not win this time, but the whole point of this blog, and Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Paul for that mater, is to one day win.
    If 99% of the effort is just complaining about the other guy, you won't win many converts.
    This website should have one interview per week here with Mr. Johnson, just to advance the cause. An in-depth interview with him just on the Romney tape would be great.

  • FAILtastic||

    Best anonobot ever!

  • Jim Treacher||

    Either they've forgotten about "Julia," or they hope you have.

    http://www.barackobama.com/life-of-julia/

  • Alex the wolf||

    It is a self evident truth that without the stimulus the earth would have been destroyed by a giant asteroid

  • Azathoth!!||

    Aren't you supposed to wait until October to use your 'October surprise'?

    Because that's what this looks like.

    In fact, what this whole thing looks like is that Obama's screwed the second 9/11 thing so badly that he's going to launch his entire October surprise arsenal now in the hopes that his media lapdogs can spin it for the rest of the campaign in order to cover this one thing.

  • Killazontherun||

    A first rate rant, Nick. Your rhetorical style fits well when the subject matter naturally fits into a compare and contrast mode as it certainly does here.

  • Casca||

    This is just the class warfare argument republican style. Obama routinely gets a pass on this kind of talk so hearing Romney do it is just logical at this point.

  • stogiefan||

    He said what the whole country knows-- so what?!

    I bet some of that 47% would LOVE not to be there!

    Yeh, even some of the 'Julia's that the Dems want to control from womb to tomb.

  • ||

    Gallup reports that a sizable 62 percent of independents still think "government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businessess."

    I have to call bullshit on the validity of that stat based on voter behavior.

  • TDP||

    This country desperately needs an honest identification and accounting of the philosophic ideas that are animating our public policy (democratic-socialism here, cultural-relativism abroad); followed by a clear contrast and deftly argued alternative. We're not going to get it from Romney.

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