Boy, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney really stepped in it this time.
Romney’s statement proclaiming that 47 percent of the electorate that supports President Barack Obama pay no taxes, “believe that they are victims” and are “dependent on the government” for handouts implies that these people are nothing more than moochers who believe that they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
In Romney’s world, food, shelter and health care aren’t basic human rights. To him, they are “entitlements,” and he and his ultra-right wing cronies are definitely not with that. Romney has stated that although his words may not have been elegantly stated, he stands behind the essence of the statement. I can’t help wondering that if somewhere lurking behind the his words is a slight hint of racism, especially when words like “entitlements” have come to serve as a euphemism for welfare.
This doesn’t surprise me. Republicans have a history of linking entitlements to Blacks a la Ronald Reagan’s use of the so-called "welfare queen" to sway white voters his way. And this isn't the first time Romney has made statements linking Blacks to entitlements. Remember this is the man who told an audience of conservatives in Hamilton, Montana, that “if they [meaning Blacks] want more free stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other [guy].”
My problem with Romney’s statements is two-fold. For starters, they are grossly misinformed. He assumes that the majority of Obama’s supporters are the non-tax-paying poor (I guess Jay-Z and Beyoncé are sitting at home waiting on their entitlement checks to show up in the mail!). Also, the remarks show a profound lack of compassion for our nation’s retirees, students, single mothers, the handicapped and working poor – the people whom Mitt Romney has glibly dismissed as lazy leeches who are unimportant.
As far as I’m concerned, this is just another reason why, come November, I plan on taking the good governor’s advice and voting for President Barack Obama.
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(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)