The Corner

Romney’s Comment

There are many problems with it starting with the fact, as has already been pointed out in here, that he jumbled together three different groups (the almost half of the country that’s going to support Obama no matter what; the roughly half of households that get government benefits; the half of “tax units” that don’t pay taxes). Since we’re all in amateur-political-consultant mode, I would counsel disentangling and better explaining what he was trying to say about each of those groups. He shouldn’t back off at all on the point that too many people are dependent on government. Nor on the point that some people do think of themselves as victims and don’t take responsibility for their lives. But he should make it clear that he doesn’t think they are half the country, and also make it clear that he knows many hard-working people don’t pay federal income taxes, although they do pay other taxes and if they could earn more income, would pay federal income taxes, too. The overall impression of Romney at this event is of someone who overheard some conservative cocktail chatter and maybe read a conservative blog or two, and is thoughtlessly repeating back what he heard and read.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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