Former Governor Mitt Romney has found himself in a bit of hot water, sort of.
While politicians getting caught on video or a hot mic isn't exactly a new thing, it's always made out to be a huge deal when it's a Republican.
Let's first preface this by reminding everyone of President Obama back when he was Candidate Obama in 2008, speaking to a group of people when he thought the mics were off. He believed it was so sad how people in more rural areas clinged to their guns and their religion. Remember how well that worked out for him? Oh yeah, he became president.
Now then, on to Romney being caught on video. The media is more hysterical than a bunch of piranha's after noticing that Augustus Gloop was dropped in their tank. This is to be expected. However, the media may be underestimating how this will resonate with voters. By that, of course I mean those that work, pay taxes and don't expect the government to pay for everything.
The video that everyone is buzzing about is months old, but was only recently released by the liberal Mother Jones blog. People will no doubt speculate as to why they waited for so long, but some conservatives and Republicans will probably assume that they want to make that Romney does not catch up to Obama in the polls again, which with the debates looming is a distinct possibility.
The videos show Romney at a private fundraiser. From the angle of the video, it looks as if someone hid a small recording device on a table or behind a plant. Sneaky! However, while people will try and make this appear to be the first nail in Romney's coffin, this video is not nearly as damning as people might thing.
One the videos is entitled "Mitt Romney Talks About Bain Profitting From Chinese Slave Labor!" Oh no! However, if you actually listen to what he is saying, he is talking about how capitalism, hard work, and saving money is good for the people in China. He talked about how people in China wanted so badly to work, and they had to keep others out. After they had saved enough, they could move on to something better, never having to come back to a factory again.
The title would make you think that Romney is dressed up like the Monopoly Man, lighting a cigar with a $100 dollar bill. Hardly.
The snippet that is making the most headlines is Romney telling people what everyone knows, but what is politically incorrect to say. He spoke about how 47% of the voting public right off the bat will be in the tank for Obama. He discussed how they believe they are entitled to free health care, free housing and everything else under the sun. He wasn't making fun of them. He was saying what every Republican and c onservative believes. These people have been duped by liberal and Democrat ideology, and now depend on the government for everything.
While in the midst of being "caught on video," Romney spoke about how nearly 47% of the country pays no federal income taxes. Speaking off the cuff to his crowd, he told them that this group of people will of course want to vote for Obama, so that they can continue paying no income taxes. This of course is Modern Republicanism 101. He and the other GOP candidates said this all throughout the campaign and during all of the debates.
The media is saying that he is calling the 47% that pay no taxes victims, which is not true either. What Romney said, is that these people have come to believe that they are victims. Sadly, they are only victims of the huge promises that Obama and other liberals have sold them for decades that will never come true.
Romney also spoke about how the election is in the hands of 10% to 15% of the population ... the Independents! This is conventional wisdom. Every politician, strategist, reporter and pundit talks about how you automaticall have a near majority locked for Republicans, a near majority locked for Democrats, and you have to move those independents in the middle. So where's the shocking part, exactly?
Will Mitt Romney's comments tick off a few people? Yes. Will they also on the other hand, show a few people that he really gets it? Yes.
Mitt Romney being caught on video might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Conservatives and Republicans who have been wary as to whether or not Romney will betray them and dive head first into throwing out government freebies are probably breathing a little easier. While an estimated 47% to 48% of the country or more does not pay any income taxes at all, that means that around 53% of the country does, and many of them are ticked off about having to support a near majority of the population that do not work.
Some good news for Romney? According to a recent Gallup poll, many Americans actually agree with him. According to the poll, a majority of 54% Americans believe that the government does too much, and has their hands in things that should be left up to businesses and individuals. Roughly 39% of Americans believe that the government should do more.
The same poll breaks it down beautifully among party lines. Eighty-two percent of Republicans believe the government does too much, as do 62% of Independents. Only 24% of Democrats believe the government is doing too much, while 67% of them believe it should be doing more. As other polls that are not radically skewered have have shown, once again Mitt Romney is right there with those valuable independent voters.
The media will try to hack up Romney as best they can over the next day or two to protect President Obama. They will talk about how he said he does not care about them, when in reality he was saying nothing different than when believe heard President Obama's campaign insiders say that it was writing off white working class voters last year. He was talking about people that he knew he was not going to win, and how he was going to target his resources elsewhere.
When Obama pays for an abundance of ads in Wyoming and Romney targets Oregon, then we can throw that logic out the window. Until then, nothing he said here was shocking. The media, liberal bloggers and scared Republicans will try to make more of a big deal of out this than it is.
If Romney had been caught saying "Ya know, I actually plan on keeping Obamacare in place," or "I actually think tax hikes are a good thing, and will do that when I get into office," then this would indeed sink his campaign. The GOP would walk away in droves, along with most conservative independents and libertarians.
During a late night press conference last night, Romney requested that the rest of the tape be released, showing that he is not afraid of his own words. He also doubled down, saying that Obama's plan is attractive to those that don't pay taxes, and that's the point of it.
Every time he gets caught on a hot mic, conservatives hear more of what they like. One hot mic showed him saying he would like to look at closing down or dramatically shrink the Departments of Education and HUD, with more possibly on the chopping block. Another time he told a reporter at the end of the day, he believed gay marriage and marijuana legalization were states issues. Nice.