You can't be president of the United States if you don't want to be the president of everyone, but that's what Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in a remarkably arrogant speech to a closed-door high-donor fundraiser -- all captured on video.
As has been widely reported and discussed on opinion pages and cable television, Romney insulted, mischaracterized, derided and dismissed 47% of Americans because they "will vote for the president no matter what" because they are "dependent upon government" and "pay no income tax." Significantly, Romney said, "[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
That statement, along with one offensive comment and action after another (including several others from this event), simply disqualifies him to be president. You can't govern a country if you hold half its people in contempt.
What's most troubling about the video is that it actually is not shocking or revealing. It confirms our worst suspicions. Romney called it an "off the cuff" comment, but those are the ones that matter. And Romney unscripted is a rare thing. The video shows what Romney is like when he's comfortable and honest, when he's saying what he really believes to his people -- a group of over-privileged donors who, like him, are removed from the experiences and struggles of the vast majority of Americans.
Romney is the ultimate 1% candidate because he plans on a presidency that will exclusively serve the interests of the richest Americans and big corporations at the expense of seniors, the middle class and low-income families. To win he must somehow build a majority coalition of voters mostly made up of people who will be hurt by his policies.
A while ago Romney turned 65 and opted not to sign up for Medicare the way virtually every other American does. After viewing the video, it's easier to understand why. He loathes people "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." Romney, of course, doesn't get it. People are entitled to Medicare, a program they have paid into all their lives, and that's a good thing. Naturally, Romney wants to eliminate Medicare as we know it.
In Romney's view of the world, if he had enrolled in Medicare, he would have been part of the slacker class of Americans he dumped on for depending on the government. Under Romney's logic, benefiting from a program like Medicare would automatically make him an Obama voter.
As the video makes clear, Romney lives in a bubble where he gets to hold court with rich people while workers with white gloves serve them food and drink. Romney is so insulated from facts and drenched in ideology that he holds in contempt anyone he perceives to be taking from the government and giving little or nothing back. Yet he never acknowledges the many ways in which it is actually he and his audience who do that on a grand scale. It's Romney, after all, who pays a substantially lower percentage of his income than the vast majority of income tax payers. He's the one who parks his money in offshore banks. His friends on Wall Street are the ones who brought our economy to its knees and got a taxpayer bail-out without any of them going to jail.
Throughout the campaign, Romney has been building the case that he's unfit to be president. He's a serial liar and flip-flopper. His approach to foreign policy is purely political and decidedly dangerous. He's driven to acquire power and wealth at any cost -- and for no discernible social purpose other than blind ambition.
If any doubt remained, the video of his high-handed dismissal of half the U.S. population seals it: Mitt Romney is not qualified to be president because he doesn't even want the job.
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