There is a certain, strange honesty that emanates from Mitt Romney on the campaign trail – and I’m not referring to his myriad updated and amended promises and platform planks. No, I’m referring to his obvious discomfort with his immense wealth.
When it comes to matters of mammon and the many ways it is legally and ethically acquired, Romney honestly exudes guilt and embarrassment like flop sweat on a fat man at smorgasbord. He just can’t help it and in spite of his best effort to appear composed and confident, his stammering and inartfully expressed thoughts betray him to his audience.
The latest of what I’m sure will be a litany of gunshots to his own foot – all of which will be carefully preserved by Team Obama for deployment this summer – took place at Ford Field in Detroit, MI where he addressed The Detroit Economic Club.
The choice of venue itself was a huge gaffe: what the hell was Romney’s advance team thinking when they decided to hold an event that would be attended by no more than 2,000 people in a stadium that holds 60,000 spectators? Contrast this with one of Sarah Palin’s campaign appearances in 2008 where 10,000 wildly enthusiastic Palinistas showed up to support the Alaska governor.
That was bad enough as far as the optics are concerned. Worse yet were his remarks. As usual, he stumbled and stammered in a desperate attempt to portray himself as a fellow member of the Hoi Polloi Only club:
I actually love this state. This feels good being back in Michigan.
You know, the trees are the right height, the streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles.
I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.
Oy. It’s a good thing I don’t routinely smack myself in the forehead whenever Romney utters a gaffe or I’d be unconscious by now. I’m sure the good folks of the Detroit Economic Club understood what Romney was trying to say, but then, they are presumably well-educated and up to speed on current events. Can we say the same for the average muttonhead American voter who will hear this and be more inclined to believe Team Obama’s characterization of Mitt Romney as Gordon Gekko?
But not to worry: having borrowed Gov. Zeppelin’s pander bear costume, Der Mittmeister promptly cruised into populist mode at a campaign stop in Arizona, ingratiating himself rather comfortably with the Hoi Polli Only club:
I am going to lower rates across the board for all Americans by 20%. And in order to limit any impact on the deficit, because I do not want to add to the deficit, and also in order to make sure we continue to have progressivity as we’ve had in the past in our code, I’m going to limit the deductions and exemptions particularly for high income folks. And by the way, I want to make sure you understand that, for middle income families, the deductibility of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions will continue. But for high income folks, we are going to cut back on that, so we make sure the top 1% pay the current share they’re paying or more. [emphasis added]
Whiskey Tango FOXTROT? For the record, the income floor for the top 1% is roughly $344,000 per year, a figure that includes a sizable percentage of small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors and corporate management.
Basically, Romney is telling us that he agrees with Barack Obama on the necessity of continuing to wring nearly 40% of all income taxes paid to the IRS out of 1% of income earners.
No wonder the conservative base of the GOP is gobbling Zoloft like M&Ms. In a desperate effort to be all things to everyone, Romney will succeed only in being nothing to anyone: the Republican base will shrug and stay home as Team Obama steamrolls this vacuous suit dummy over the course of the summer and paves over his flattened political carcass on November 6.