OPINION – There is a timeless bit of wisdom that says people will rarely remember what you say but they will always remember how you made them feel. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney knows the reality of this wisdom all too well.
When the surreptitious video of the former Massachusetts Govenor’s now-infamous remarks characterizing 47 percent of Americans as “victims” who were not willing to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” went viral, one could almost hear the doors slamming shut on any chance he had at becoming the leader of this country.
As days have passed since the election, and the tense emotion has somewhat waned, perhaps some introspection is in order.
This was not the first time that a singular gaff would cost a political candidate their campaign: Howard Dean’s enthusiastic rant of all the cities they would visit ending in an animated squeal of joy is noted as the moment that sent his numbers down the tubes. John Kerry’s ill fated comments in a Senate hearing on the Vietnam War and his actions as a swift boat operator would come back to haunt him and ultimately cost him the election.
But there is a distinction between the strategic way emphasis on these other candidates’ actions was used to paint a broad stroke of the men and the inverse manner in which Romney broad stroked almost half of America. There was no recovering from this and here is why.
Scott Prouty, the now debatable yet reluctant “hero” who worked with James Carter IV, a free-lance-researcher and grandson of President Jimmy Carter, was one of that 47 percent Romney was disenfranchising with his remarks and he was present while it was being done to him.
He was a bartender at the $50,000 per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, where Romney was speaking.
The old adage that you can learn a lot about a person by how they treat people who are working for them or serving them never rang truer than for Romney, who at the very least should have been smart enough to know his audience.
But that is it right there, isn’t it?
This was not a gaff made by an idealistic or enthusiastic candidate taken out of context and blasted over the media airwaves to trash a candidate. This is what this man, the would-be leader of our country, really thought of most us, sincerely.
It cost him the election and it should have. What is more, he knows it.
Scott Prouty, blue collar worker from a blue collar family, having the courage of conviction to speak up was as patriotic as first amendment press can foster.
And the party which sincerely stands behind the comments Romney so confidently made to a group he thought was all on his side, at $50,000 a seat, might do well to reexamine what they think of Americans who fall in that 47 percent because they will be voting again in the next election.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Ed. Note: Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s remarks on the 47 percent were given in response to a question from his audience at a fundraising dinner. The following is both the question and answer transcribed and published on the Mother Jones website:
Audience member: For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?
Romney: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…
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