WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 20 (DPI) — Mitt Romney’s videotaped remarks that 47% of the electorate is dependent on the government – and thus would never vote for him — struck a huge nerve on major news sites, as thousands of reader comments posted last night.
Most readers, of course, vilified the GOP candidate for his foolish and ill-advised remarks, videotaped earlier this year at a fundraiser and released yesterday to the media by Mother Jones magazine. Many were offended by the remarks, in which Romney said there was no point in pitching a lower-tax message to the 47% of the population that pays no taxes.
But to a surprising degree Romney’s insensitive comments were met with remarks like “candidates must commit a gaffe to tell the truth” and “he’s right.” Moreover, Romney’s comments underscored the great philosophical stakes of the 2012 election — one candidate champi0ning government-led solutions, the other advocating smaller government and market solutions in the face of stagnant economic growth.
Editors of The New York Times site posted 44 “Editor Picks” out of more than 2100 comments, which included three surprisingly supportive ones:
(vicnowo, 29 recommendations, NYT Editor Pick) “I think he is being honest. I’m one of the individuals in the center 10% It struck home.”
(Rob Tuttle, Florida, NYT Editor Pick) “It’s refreshing to hear someone in politics tell it like it is. For all of you who never take the time to read anything other than the NYT, this is what those of us out here in the real world think as well. Go Mitt.”
(Al, NY, NYT Editor Pick) “He’s entirely right. We live in a society that feels entitled. Social welfare programs, including food stamps, should be a necessity, not a lifestyle. But take a look at what’s happening: food stamp usage is rampant and growing (yet there’s always money to buy beer), and abundant social welfare programs provide for the healthcare and legal needs of the indigents. It almost pays to be poor. Mind you that this is all being paid for because of the hard work of a small percentage of Americans. I’m tired of paying for it all and constantly being labeled as “rich” for making decent money after years of education and hard work. Try living well in NYC with 100k. Trust me, I’m not living high off the hog. ”
Still, the overwhelming consensus was that Romney’s videotaped remarks were politically disastrous, and would perhaps destroy any chance he had at defeating President Obama in the November election.
A few readers pointed out that Obama too, in the 2008 campaign, also made an ill-advised remark, and recovered from it. At a Pennsylvania campaign stop he said some voters “still cling to their guns and religion.”
One of the more insightful follow up columns emerged from the right-leaning David Brooks on Tuesday: