There was much written on Mr. Romney's 47 percent that I doubt I can add much that is not really known. From a down under perspective, the only element that may introduce some surprise (and a chuckle) for Americans would be to learn that it is mostly likely that Tony Abbott, the Australian opposition leader, would have probably made Mr. Romney pay much more dearly for this miserable comment than Mr. Obama did. Yes, according to a new, thorough book on Mr. Abbott, the leader of the conservatives in Australia is genuinely concerned with the working class employee (not just the business owner), believes that the government is more often the solution rather than the problem, and is a supporter of solid, respectable publicly funded social nets. Before you mistake these statements to be an indication of my personal support of Mr. Abbott, I'll add that his gay-bashing record, fear-mongering aggressive strategies, immigration policies, climate change skepticism, documented support for white, anglophile 'enlightened' culture headed by traditional (i.e., anachronistic) institutions such as the British monarchy and the Papal hegemony and more, make it more likely for me to chew off my own hand than use it to drop a vote for him in the ballots, but still, I guess you can do worse for a conservative leader...
Regardless of whether Mr. Romney can muster the support of Mr. Abbott, which I'm sure would be such a great boon for him, it is not clear if Mr. Romney believes that the 47 percent reflect a chronic weakling constitution or just a temporal mental relapse. Is it that once a person has been part of a 47 percent who didn't pay income taxes for a particular year, they are a lost GOP cause as they have contracted the "victimization" mind frame? Or is it that once a person, let's say, graduates from college and joins the workforce in a position which puts them above the tax's threshold, they are miraculously cured from their previous mental affliction that hunted them during the period they weren't paying the tax? For the sake of Mr. Romney's pollsters' mental health I hope he is the eternal optimist who believes in a cure for 47 percentism (unlikely to be covered by Obamacare). However, if this condition is more chronic, it is quite sad as it is likely that Mr. Romney would have not received even his own father's vote...
So after Mr. Romney set the GOP ceiling at 53 percent of the population we had another reverent GOP leader writing off an important (albeit smaller) chunk of the American population -- the elite. Or if I may quote the eloquent Mr. Santorum "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side." As my belief in the GOP electorate is too big to dismiss a statement made by a former leading contender for the GOP presidential candidacy (i.e., they don't have the 47 percent riff-raff like the Dems do), I have to consider his statement seriously and draw a few seemingly logical conclusions:
1. Mr. Santorum doesn't see himself as smart OR Mr Santorum is a closet Democrat.
2. Mr. Santorum doesn't think that President Bush, Gov. Palin, or Mr Akin are smart. Well, I can only say that he undoubtedly knows them better than I do...
3. Mr. Santorum just excluded Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson from the elite, showing an uncanny ability to make friends with deep pockets.
4. By indicating that the media will never support the GOP as well, Mr. Santorum convincingly refuted claims that Fox News should be considered a media source.
5. Assuming that the elite is likely comprised from a majority of individuals who actually pay income tax, the GOP voters may necessitate some preservation laws to address looming ecological calamity.
All of the above leads me to question the unholy matrimony between economic conservatives (hello Mr. Ryan and Mr. Paul) and the social conservatives (here's looking at you Mr. Santorum and Mr. Dobson). While traditional and religious values seem to emphasize the importance of social cohesion and the role of the community, the economic conservative champions the individualistic, Ayn Randian epitome of the dog-eat-dog world in which the community represents nothing more than a bunch of mediocre subhumans at the mercy of the individual, maverick entrepreneur who epitomizes the true human spirit. Australian Tony Abbott, in his infinitely flawed way, shows us that these elements do not have to go together and that social conservatism can prosper together with economic progressive views even in the 21st century. In a sense he is the anti-Ron Paul and his success across the pond may allow a similar U.S. politician to introduce such views to the American conservatives. Who knows, maybe the GOP will not be so fast on giving up on 47 percent of the population then?
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