After months of passionless campaign rhetoric, Americans finally got a glimpse of what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney looked like without his public mask, and it was not a pretty picture.
The leaked video of Romney speaking at a private fundraiser provided quote after quote of potentially campaign-ending remarks. It was Romney’s most detrimental gaffe yet — which is not a light statement — and called for some first-rate Republican damage control.
But instead, Romney responded with no apology and simply said his statements were “not elegantly stated.”
“There are 47 percent who are with (the president), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” Romney told the room of donors. “My job is not to worry about those people, I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Even for those who expect the least of Romney, this has to be surprising. The statement is so lacking in the etiquette a presidential nominee should have that it’s almost laughable. For any person to disregard 47 percent of Americans as hopelessly dependent and expect to become president afterwards is absurd.
Romney has made it pretty clear who he intends to help if he wins the election and who he intends to ignore. It should go without saying that a president needs to have the best interest of all citizens, not just those who voted for him.
If the show stopped there, then perhaps a right-wing revamp wouldn’t be too far-fetched, but it doesn’t.
Romney went on to talk about the Hispanic vote, obviously an important element in the upcoming election. Hispanic voters have been skeptical towards Romney thus far, primarily over his immigration policies, and Romney has made efforts to win over their support. His comments, however, don’t seem to be helping his chances.
“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this,” he said, as the room laughed. “I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”
All jokes aside, it’s belittling to assume that Hispanic voters would suddenly be in support of Romney’s policies if he were Hispanic. Romney continues to treat Hispanic voters differently than other Americans, and his disconnect with one of the most vital demographics in the country is going to cost him in the election. Hispanics’ skepticism towards Romney has nothing to do with ethnicity; it has all to do with policy, just like the rest of voters.
Perhaps, if Romney’s father had been born of Mexican parents, his immigration policies would be a little different. Then he could expect some support from Hispanics. Of course, support from the GOP would be a different story.
Romney is out of touch with America, and there’s more than enough material in the video to prove it. You can’t lead people that you don’t understand. It’s pitiful to see so much of the work Romney put into his faux image be immediately reversed by a YouTube video, but he was bound to be exposed eventually.
He just took 10 steps backwards, and the Romney camp will have to work fast if they want to salvage what’s left of his campaign. Because by the time everyone stops talking about the video, it’ll be time for the debates, and surely then Romney will give us all something new to talk about.
Despite all the bullet holes in Romney’s foot, he’s still standing, but President Barack Obama and the Democrats have to be feeling pretty good right now.
As for the GOP, their chosen nominee has not delivered as well as they expected, and they should be nervous. For seven more weeks, the GOP will have to cross their fingers and watch what seems to be becoming a train wreck, exchanging glances with one another thinking, “Maybe we should have went with Huntsman.”
Lucas Sepulveda is a creative writing senior and may be reached at email@example.com.