It was bad enough when Mitt Romney, speaking privately to a wealthy group of donors, wrote off 47 percent of the country as self-proclaimed “victims” who he can never convince to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” This was, perhaps, the most vivid portrait of Romney’s misunderstanding of the country he inhabits. But it hardly stands alone.
Amidst the question-and-answer period that brought us the infamous 47 percent comment, Romney gave us a few more insights into his vision and character. Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the former Massachusetts governor asserted that the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” His policy? “Kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Not only is this a cynical view that no presidential candidate should hold, but it completely distorts American principles and, frankly, reality. A year ago, Hebrew University released a poll showing 50 percent support amongst Palestinians for a two-state solution, up from 39 percent in 2011. We are in the midst of a historic opportunity to end one of the most intractable, lengthy conflicts in world history.
But that doesn’t entice Romney, who would rather “kick the ball” — and the innocent lives and suppressed rights — “down the field.”
Romney’s foreign policy of cynicism and ignorance is an insight into his overall character. Following the aforementioned remarks, Romney went on to say that “it would help to be Latino,” because he would “have a better chance of winning this.” Romney is right that he is currently running an enormous deficit amongst Latino voters. But in his mind, that’s simply because they are minorities, and Obama’s blackness is enough for their vote.
Forget Romney’s view that illegal immigrants should “self-deport,” or his past remarks that “on day one,” he would drop all litigation surrounding Arizona’s draconian immigration law. “Nah, they just hate me cause I’m white,” seems to be his mentality.
Latinos, though, are not the only group Romney has trouble connecting with. When asked what defines “middle income,” Romney responded that it “is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.” Forget that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in this country is just over, um, $50,000.
What about college students? After all, his running mate, Paul Ryan, proposed a budget with steep cuts in Pell Grants. Romney’s solution: “borrow some money from your parents.” As the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro, responded, “gee, why didn’t I think of that?!” — an allusion to the fact that he, like many others, depended on financial and merit-based aid to pay for college.
Arrogance, cynicism, ignorance: you find these qualities a lot when examining Romney’s world view. He lives in a world where his wife drives not one, but two Cadillacs; a world where he, like tens of millions of Americans, is “also unemployed,” despite his $200 million net worth.
“Disconnected” is the word we often hear. But more often than not, Romney has displayed not only a disconnect, but a complete misunderstanding of who inhabits this country, what they aspire to and how we have come to be the most prosperous nation on earth.
But believe it or not, Romney still has some very nice things to say about this country: “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”
Now that’s something we can all agree with … I think.