With the release of a “secret video” supposedly showing presidential candidate Mitt Romney exposing his inner thoughts to a bunch of rich people about the makers versus the takers in American society, I’ve been having a strange sense that I’ve heard such things before. And it isn’t just that this is a common argument between left and right in U.S. politics.
Rather, I recalled Romney’s saying something similar when he visited Rhode Island in April and spoke to an exclusive audience of hundreds of people and a full complement of media (liveblog). Here they are:
And here’s the very secret video that I filmed surreptitiously through the legs of a mainstream television tripod:
Nancy Driggs: I agree with you; I think this is a defining election. My concern, and I’d be interested in your reaction, sort of gets to what Governor Christie said the other day — that America’s become a bunch of people sitting on their couch waiting for a check from the government. I think government’s grown, I think, the number of dependents on government, and that’s what worries me about this election, that it is a different view of America. And I’d be interested in your take on who’s going to bring that back.
Mitt Romney: There will be people, without question, who will vote for the candidate that promises the most free stuff, and I know, and I’m not going to get those votes. They’ve already got their person, and he’s in the White House right now. And he will campaign on saying, “I’m going to give you this, and I’m going to give you that; you’re going to have this and have that.”
And basically, he’s not giving any of that. He’s just taking it from some and giving it to others. And yet, to those that are getting the receiving, that’s something that is very attractive and very popular. You get to a point in a society like ours where that could overwhelm the political system.
Fortunately, as I go across the country, the great majority, in my view, of people, for instance, who are on unemployment today, they want a job. They want America to produce good jobs again.
I was with a teacher in St. Louis. She’d been laid off, and she wants another job. And she’s looking for a substitute teacher position. She said, the problem is that with the cost of gasoline what it is today, getting from where she lives to where the substitute positions are is so expensive, she can’t afford to go back and forth.
We’re just really crushing the middle class in this country, and people in this country — I know there many who just want to sit back and get the checks. I’m sure that that’s true. But there are many, many more who want good jobs for themselves and their families.
We’re still a hard-working, patriotic people, and yet, we will… I’m convinced of that… you know that famous line by John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.” We thrill to that, as a nation.
We want a leader who asks us to help America and do what’s right for the country. And while there will be some that violate JFK’s request and ask what’s good for them, I think the American people will rally around someone who will get America working again — who will return to our basic values.
Reviewing my liveblog from the event and skimming some of the rest of the video, I’m struck by how unsurprising the election season has been. There are even overtones of “you didn’t build that,” although it’s Romney saying that government is not allowing anybody to build anything.