Let’s face it, with an election that is less than two months away, we’re in full political swing in the U.S., and it’s open season on anyone running for office. It is a known fact that seasoned and aspiring politicians can often times suffer from the occasional lapse in judgement – be it with actions or words – sometimes, both. The verbal ones, we refer to most commonly as “gaffes.”
Many gaffes are just that – a slip of the tongue, or a misstated, misquoted, or inadequately worded sentence (or paragraph, dependent upon who is speaking). In fact, a gaffe ought to be taken lightly, and not become the basis of the particular “gaffing” candidate’s stand or platform. Imagine if we decided to use the “57 states” President Obama has visited with “one left to go” as the basis for his intelligence. Or even one more serious such as when the President stated that Sen. John McCain, “has not talked about my Muslim faith.” Hmmm…. people can get the wrong impression or worse – especially if we take every single thing said out of context.
I don’t really care to trumpet or echo the ongoing claim from both the left and the right about the mainstream media being biased one way or the other. I do, however, notice that when it comes to certain politicians, there are certain things they say, important and otherwise, that are either reported then immediately forgotten, or nearly perpetually reported on an almost daily basis – over and over again – it just depends on whom the politician may be.
Case in point: GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney. Everyone is talking about Mitt Romney’s latest gaffe (and when I mean everyone, I refer almost exclusively to my higher paid counterparts in the mainstream media). Apparently, Mr. Romney’s comments about 47% of the country believing they are “entitled” to receive everything from the government has more than inflamed a few in the news circles. Odd. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is upset, bothered, angry, or otherwise feels disenfranchised at what Mr. Romney said in what was supposed to be a closed meeting. It’s also odd that this was supposedly said and taped back in May, but has just now been revealed.
Ok, come on, we all know that politics can be dirty, conniving, scheming, and more underhanded than a fox in a hen house, but with that said, I couldn’t help but wonder at the timing of this “release.” I am sorry for those individuals that feel anger over what Mr. Romney says, but it was never intended for their ears. I also wonder if these same individuals that feel outrage over Mr. Romney’s comments likewise feel outrage over Mr. Obama’s comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he famously whispered to Mr. Putin, “After the election I will have more latitude.” This, of course, implied that Mr. Putin wanted some type of concession and/or assistance from Mr. Obama that would’ve been construed by the American people as something unpopular and/0r undesirable.
The meaning behind that whisper was that if the President were to comply with Mr. Putin’s request – whatever it may have been – it could and would likely prove to be so unpopular as to cost the President votes – so, in essence, the gist of the President’s comments to Mr. Putin might be interpreted as saying something like, “I can’t do this for you now Vladimir, but after the election, I’m going to be able to pretty much do whatever I want, so just hang in there.”
Now, to use a favorite presidential phrase, let me be clear – I don’t believe that President Obama expected that anyone would hear this private conversation between him and Mr. Putin. I’d also like to point out that this presidential gaffe was not tucked away for some time, and then brought out at an opportune moment. Likewise, Mr. Romney was speaking to a group of like-minded individuals about CAMPAIGN STRATEGY – NOT NATIONAL SECURITY. And also, like Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney did not expect his words to be heard by the public at large. Unlike the President, however, Mr. Romney’s comments were “saved” for just the right time, weren’t they? Let’s see, what would that time be?
Ok, for starters, we are in the middle of turmoil yet once again, in the Middle East. We’ve had daily protests on American embassies, and assaults on the same, including the most recent attack in Libya, which cost the life of four U.S. citizens, one of them being Ambassador Chris Stevens. Couple that with the embarrassment of our economy, which has had so many false starts, it is beginning to feel like a depression rather than the “great recession.”
I understand the need for distraction in a political campaign, but I honestly believe that the only individuals who will be offended by Mr. Romney’s comments are those whom he aptly described during those comments – people who live – no – THRIVE on government “assistance.” Let’s be real for a moment – those of us who have to work AND pay taxes, are not unhappy about helping others who need help to get back on their feet. No, what we’re unhappy about is the fact that a large chunk of the taxes we pay go to people who are NOT trying to get back on their feet. Many individuals on government assistance believe in perpetual assistance. They don’t want to get a job and go to work – and ultimately pay their fair share of taxes. Nope. Too much contentment can be found in those individuals who love the handout, and who prefer to NOT give up the “freebies.” I also realize that there have been many individuals who received government assistance in their lives, and have gone on to become productive, self-sustaining members of society who only needed government assistance for a period of time. Sadly, this is the exception, not the rule.
Here’s one last issue I have with the coverage the mainstream media has on the Romney gaffe, and the president’s quick response. The media has reported, and the President has retorted, that Mr. Romney has decided to alienate “almost half of the U.S. population with his comments.”
Well, I decided to look up U.S. Census data to see how many people really would be upset with Mr. Romney’s comments. Based on the U.S. Census Voting and Registration Report for the 2010 census, roughly 50.2% of the ENTIRE U.S. population is registered to vote. So, based on the same census figures for population – roughly 300 million, 150 million of which are registered to vote, 70,500,000 are the 47% who would be upset by Mr. Romney’s comments – or 24% of the total U.S. population – NOT “almost 50%.”
While I don’t believe in taking things too far out of context in either camp, at the end of the day, objectivity must prevail. Comments that hint at class warfare – be they perceived or real – can skew the perceptions of many. There are blogs out there saying that 47% is still less than 51% – or the number Romney needs to win an election. I find those comments to be both true and frivolous. I would hope that the presidential candidates would care more about ALL of the people in the country than the numbers required to win an election. If that is what our elections have become about, then we have a lot more serious problems than just the middle east and our economy.
Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.