"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules," he told a joint session of Congress gathered in the chambers of the House of Representatives. "What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them."So I find it fascinating that last night in his big speech on basically winning the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made a stab at trying to co-opt the theme.
Romney outlined an agenda aimed at combating what he called “unfairness” in government, spinning a phrase often employed by Democrats as they make the case that wealthier Americans and corporations should pay higher taxes...While other Republicans often debate these arguments by emphasizing “opportunity,” Romney adopted the “fairness” language to criticize federal spending.This is such a typical Republican strategy - completely robbing a word of its meaning and then co-opting it. Remember how we were bringing Iraqis "freedom" by invading and occupying their country? That's just the first and most ridiculous example that came to my mind. But there are hundreds of them. They think that if they put a nice title on something ("Clear Skies Initiative" anyone?) they can fool us into believing they're going to work on our behalf. Utter nonsense.
“This America is fundamentally fair,” he said. “We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
Steve Benen tears this one apart.
Romney reached out, for example, to "the mom and dad who never thought they'd be on food stamps," without acknowledging that he supports slashing funding for food stamps. He spoke repeatedly about "unfairness" in the economy, without mentioning he supports some millionaires and billionaires paying a lower tax rate than most of the middle class. He talked about rising debt without noting that he has no way of paying for the massive tax breaks he's sworn to pass. He said he'd rescue "grandparents" without acknowledging that he intends to turn Medicare into a voucher program, push partial privatization of Social Security, and bring back the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole."Just how stupid does he think we are?!
Listening to Romney, an uninformed voter would probably have no idea that his promises bear no resemblance to his stated intentions. The former governor said last night, "It's still about the economy -- and we're not stupid." It's a nice little line, but it rankles because Romney is absolutely counting on ignorance and gullibility to advance his ambitions.