I imagine it was an otherwise average day in Romneyville this past Monday until a campaign aide, phone placed delicately on a gold platter strapped across his back, frantically crawled toward the Mitt Man himself. Tim Pawlenty was on the line.
“Mitt,” Pawlenty said. “Do you remember that fundraiser you had awhile back in Boca Raton? The one that was $50,000 a plate?”
“Were we having a clearance sale or something?” Mitt chortled with self-satisfaction.
“Mitt, I assure you this is no laughing matter. Do the words ‘47 percent’ mean anything to you?”
Romney thought for a minute. As the realization of his gaffe dawned upon him, he lowered his head into his hands.
“I’m out, Mitt. Good luck with the rest of your year.”
Again, I imagine. That’s what it seemed like anyway, when the Republican presidential nominee called a shotgun press conference on Sept. 17 to announce that he hadn’t really meant to denounce 47 percent of the nation as “dependent” or “entitled” during a closed-door luncheon for 30 of his most lucrative donors. The question, he claimed, was taken out of context. No, there definitely hadn’t been enough context when he said that “my job is to not worry about those people.” Perhaps, had we really known what was going on, we would’ve seen that he was merely referring to the sorry state of the Boston Red Sox. C’mon guys, it’s an election year. He doesn’t have time to take a stance on Bobby V!
All kidding aside though, the guy looked like he was going to have a heart attack on that podium during his quasi-apology. And truthfully, I can’t blame him. Even when you ignore the fact that the price of getting a seat at that lunch was higher than the annual income of the average American, Romney managed to make himself look more hopelessly out of touch with this nation than ever. “There are 47 percent … who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims … who believe they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said. Regardless of what his policies reflect, isn’t it a little disconcerting that the potential leader of our nation doesn’t seem to care about whether his fellow Americans are sick, homeless or hungry? Mitt, I’ve got another question too: does education fall into that “you-name-it” category? Am I considered one of those “entitled” 47 percenters who will never embrace my personal responsibilities because of the financial aid I receive every year that helps me attend this university?
In his defense, Romney made sure to counter back to these criticisms by saying during his press conference: “I want to help all Americans, all Americans, have a bright and prosperous future.” Yet, should his campaign prove successful, I still can’t help but feel that the concerns of America’s less well-to-do citizens will be flicked away like a speck of dirt on one of his immaculately manicured fingernails.
It’s been abundantly clear throughout his campaign that Romney is in dire need of a reality check. Here’s a quick and easy one: Mitt, once upon a time, your father was dependent on the government. Yes, George Romney, the former governor of Michigan, was also, in fact, a former recipient of welfare himself. Isn’t it just adorable when kids grow up and completely forget about their roots?
Despite his family history, Romney has never made his alliances with high society a secret, with this latest incident only serving as evidence of how deeply ingrained he is into the fabric of the American upper-crust. Have you ever wondered what goes on during all those hush-hush meetings in private boardrooms? Well, we just saw it, and it wasn’t pretty. Honestly, the most shocking thing about this entire affair was that the Monopoly man wasn’t in attendance.
Of course, Romney has every right to yuk it up and rub elbows with the financial elite as much as he’d like. Certainly after his years as a governor and a successful businessman, he’s earned it. Plus, I’m sure that $50 can buy you a pretty tasty filet mignon. Come Election Day, though, I hope that the American citizens will do the right thing: show him that 47 percent is supposed to count for a whole lot more than 1 percent does.
Gus Turner is an LSA junior.