“Empathy Gap”: Mitt Romney Rejects Concern For The “Very Poor”
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90%, 95% of Americans right now who are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation. [...]
“You can focus on the rich, that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans.”
The Republican frontrunner added, “We will hear from the Democrat Party, the plight of the poor.”
When Romney’s rivals were hammering him on Bain Capital — and the fact that he got extremely rich by firing American workers and leading a vulture-capitalist firm — he shifted rhetorical gears in order to seem sympathetic towards those struggling most.
With his new “I’m not concerned about the very poor” line, it appears Romney has abandoned this tack altogether.
Regardless, as a matter of substance, Romney’s line this morning is just a mess.
For one thing, it’s tone-deaf to a breathtaking degree. When a hyper-wealthy politician boasts about taking pleasure in firing people, he probably shouldn’t tell national television audiences he’s “not concerned about the very poor.”
For another, Romney’s candid admission underscores a larger policy problem: he’s not only unconcerned with the plight of the very poor, he also pursuing an agenda that would make their lives considerably more difficult. If elected, a Romney administration intends to slash public investments that benefit working families, while raising taxes on those at the bottom of the income scale.
Let’s also not forget that while Romney insisted this morning that he’s “not concerned about the very rich,” either, there’s ample evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the presidential hopeful has already presented a plan to give the very wealthy yet another massive tax break.
And as for Romney’s purported concern for the middle class, what the former governor neglected to mention this morning is that his tax plan largely ignores the middle class. By his own admission, Romney doesn’t plan to do much of anything for middle-income earners.
Taken together, in one interview, Romney managed to sound callous towards those struggling, lie about his agenda’s focus on the wealthy, and ignore the relevant details of his disregard for the middle class.
Not bad for a morning’s work.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February, 1, 2012
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