Leaving aside the question I asked yesterday — “Why would Mitt Romney want to be president of the country when he holds almost half of its citizenry in utter contempt?” — I wanted to think a little bit about the narrative that quickly emerged.
A whole lot of people decided that this was the moment that Romney lost the election (rather than, say, any of the other times in recent memory when he seemed to say something that ought to disqualify him). But it’s not at all clear that his comments about 47% of the country will actually hamper him.
There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case, including an overestimation of whether or not the average voter is paying even half the amount of attention paid by those of us who care a lot about politics. But the biggest reason that these comments likely don’t hurt Romney very much is that most of the people he’s talking about either don’t know he’s talking about them or wouldn’t vote for Obama no matter what Romney says. A fair number of the people in the 47% that Romney holds in such contempt are actually part of the Republican base.
Having said that, I’m also really curious about a related point. That is, in what sense does Romney understand himself to be saying and doing things that are likely to resonate with people in the 53% that he believes are worthy of his time and consideration? As a member of the taxpaying 53%, I should note that Romney seems to get farther and farther away from someone I could imagine supporting with each passing week. But he thinks that something about his campaign might convince me to vote for him rather than for Obama.
Maybe I’m unusual from amongst the 53% who pay income tax. But I suspect I’m not all that unusual. I’d be willing to bet that there are a fair number of people, like me, who don’t make $200,000/year and who noticed that Paul Ryan’s plan for our economy would actually raise our taxes while also cutting a bunch of programs we currently don’t mind supporting with the money we pay:
So, again, since Romney is convinced that I’m a member of the 53% of the country who aren’t shiftless layabouts and am thus worth talking to, what is it exactly that he thinks is going to sway me?