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Post Partisan
Posted at 05:10 PM ET, 09/20/2012

PostScript: ‘Does Mitt Romney dislike America?’ asks E.J. Dionne Jr.

Awrighty then, it’s the THIRD PostScript to cover this mess with the secret video and the 47% and the inelegance. Today we mine E.J. Dionne Jr.’s “Does Mitt Romney Dislike America?” and its 5,000+ comments, which we discovered in routine jackhammering of the bunker floor looking for secret videoers. PostScript has frequent bouts of distemper that would look very shameful out of context. But anyhow, PostScript found her vein of iron sulfide, and it goes like this. As Dionne points out today, as recently as George W. Bush believed the Republican line on welfare/government handouts, which was that they were at a certain level deeply American. That sentiment is echoed in Henry Olsen’s op-ed today. Is this rift in the conservative wing of the Republican party new? As snoopsmom put it,

Bush, whom most of us didn’t like, never ever seemed to be mean spirited.

PostScript contrasts Romney’s characterization of people in need as not taking responsibility for their own lives with Romney’s obvious belief in the importance of charity. Sam Karr argues that Romney is very generous:

You did read Romney’s tax returns right? The guy gave millions away to charities. Millions. I think his comments were poorly worded, but I don’t think you can squeeze the level of disdain out of them that you’ve got written here. Fun to read though. Why are you so pissed at this guy? He’s not even president...hasn’t made any decisions that affect your life. Not sure where all the animosity comes from.

But roaxle interprets Romney’s 47 percent comments thus:

I don’t for a minute believe that Mitt hates America, or even that he hates losers and moochers. I do think he believes that being poor is prima facie evidence of unworthiness and, as such, society has no responsibility to them.

Lookahead puts a slightly finer point on Sam Karr’s argument above:

Mitt is a generous giver to his Church. Almost all rich Mormons (and many not so rich) are.

SkinsKen seems to back up Romney’s views, except that charity is also redistribution:

I’m not rich by any means, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever agree that it’s right for me to work and pay taxes so that it can be “redistributed” (given away) to people who are looking for an easy plateau in life.

And jmk55 argues that the poor we will always have with us, as Leonard Cohen famously said, welfare or no:

The upper half of the middle class is doing quite well despite the economy. However, the bottom half is made of mostly uneducated and unskilled folks who besides basic manual labor have nothing to offer. These people are falling further and further behind and the question here is: why would they want to work 2 or 3 jobs to support themselves when the government provides them with handouts and welfare and subsidies pay more than minimum wage shovel ready jobs.

These two strains of conservatism puzzle PostScript. The basic argument that having handouts breeds dependency would seem to make charity itself deeply uncharitable. Practically, there are some differences between charity and government handouts. The rhetoric, however, would seem to apply to both equally.

It’s not at all clear to PostScript, but her vision is clouded from the all the cement dust. And she can’t open a window because it’s a bunker.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  05:10 PM ET, 09/20/2012

 
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