In case you haven’t heard, this past week was not good for the Mitt Romney campaign. After more tax-return related embarrassments, some under-thought comments about the violence in Egypt and Libya, and Mother Jones magazine’s release of the now notorious “47% video”, the political state of affairs looks bleak for the GOP. Some commentators believe that this effectively signals the end of the race. Ryan was heckled and booed at an AARP rally. Obama leads in the polls.
Earlier yesterday, I was listening to KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center (episode- “Mom, Apple Pie, and…Wealth Redistribution?”). At the very end of the episode, the host Matthew Miller (representing the political Center) posed the following challenge:
“I have a modest proposal… Various pundits and electoral analysts say there is about a million undecided voters in maybe four or five states that will determine this election. And I think that the Democrats should identify those folks and pay them (just like you pay a focus group) fifty to seventy-five bucks to sit down and watch two things: the Mitt Romney 47% video, and the Bill Clinton Democratic convention speech. I believe that there is no question that if you get people who are open-minded and reasonable, and make them watch those two things, and pay them to do it, the Democrats will lock this up.”
Having seen the Clinton speech and heard much talk about Romney’s gaffes, I am not sure that I’m entirely persuaded. But here’s a recap of some of the main points that Clinton made in his speech:
- Obama inherited a bad economy, and has been managing it as best as is possible.
- Obama’s for a strong middle class, opportunities for the poor, business and government working together.
- Democrats historically have beaten Republicans at producing private sector jobs.
- Equality of opportunity is not only morally right, but good economics.
- Bipartisanship is desirable, and something that both Clinton and Obama value greatly (working together vs. you’re on your own).
- Republicans want to hurt both the middle class and the poor in order to benefit the wealthy.
- America has made it through every crisis so far, and it will make it through this one as well.
In regard to Romney’s gaffes, I would not normally want to make a judgment about a person’s views based on one of their public mistakes. However, in the case of the 47% video, commentators have been saying that this gaffe was perhaps especially harmful because, while it regrettably depicted him belittling half of the U.S. population, it seemed to show Romney doing so in a rare moment of authenticity. Convinced?