Mitt Romney secret video: why remarks to Republican donors tell us he won't be President

His supporters are straining every sinew to defend the indefensible. They've lost their narrative completely. This week he probably lost the election

Share

Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be twofold: make life as hard as possible for your most devoted followers; convince everybody else that you’re the stereotypical and heartless capitalist brute of Democrat caricature. In the past 24 hours, he’s executed this strategy very effectively.

If you watch the secret footage of him from a Republican fundraiser, in which he dismisses 47 per cent of Americans as freeloaders “who pay no income tax” and behave like “victims”, you see a man trying to energise his base. But James Carville called it right when he said that any campaign trying to energise the base is “a campaign going down the toilet”. Much more importantly, it shows that Romney doesn’t understand America.

The implication of his argument, that all those people who receive benefits are victims, is wilfully myopic and stupid. A lot of government money is spent investing in the future (schools), easing suffering (medical help for the elderly) or rewarding virtue (exemptions and rewards for military veterans).  Worse, it promotes a base and limited view of society, and shows that the hyper-individualist streak of the Republican Party is now dominant. As David Brooks puts it in the New York Times, it demonstrates a shift “from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers”.

In fact, Mitt Romney is an admirable man, and some of his gaffes are over-stated. I have tried to defend him in the past, and so have many other Obama supporters. Even in this leaked video, the point he is trying to make is that he needs to appeal to independents, and that is doubtless correct. But his campaign is now so dominated by a failure of communication that even Romney’s most avid supporters are struggling to defend him. Each mess they make in the news cycle disrupts the basic narrative that Romney needs: America is broke; I’m a turnaround guy; give me the chance to fix this country.

This latest mess is, incidentally, as nothing compared with his disgusting, immature, opportunistic and un-statesmanlike attempt to exploit the death of Christopher Stevens for political gain. But it does increase the feeling that Mitt Romney – a fine capitalist in his time, and an excellent Governor – is both not worthy of presidential office and not what a United States of America needs.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java, AI)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-Office D...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ashya King in hospital with his mother  

Ashya King: Breakdown in relations led to this PR fiasco

Paul Peachey
Jim Murphy, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development holds a carton of eggs during a speech to Better Together supporters  

When the course of history is on the line, democracy is a raw, vicious and filthy business

Matthew Norman
Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing