Therefore, while I'm sure they often don't mean what they say in public, I can't possibly know whether they always mean what they say in private (but caught on tape and later widely publicized by their opponents). Today we'll focus on Romney's "private" comments about the 47% of the voters who he said won't vote for him due to their government dependency.
In that regard,What Romney Might Have Said, the subject of a somewhat tongue-in-cheek WSJ editorial today, is definitely worth taking the time to read. So here we go:
"Mitt Romney has been taking a beating for his remarks, taped at a May fundraiser, that 47% of Americans would automatically vote for President Obama because they are "dependent" on government. We could pile on, but instead we can report that we've been leaked pages of draft remarks that Mr. Romney might have delivered on the same subject but curiously didn't.
Maybe he'll deliver them some time before Election Day:
"That's why 46 million Americans are on food stamps now, compared to 30 million in 2008. That's why 10.6 million were on Social Security disability in 2011 compared to 9.3 million three years earlier. That's why 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more, and the smallest share of the U.S. population is looking for work than at any time since 1981.
"This is a national scandal. Not because those fellow Americans are free-loaders, but because they aren't able to get a good job that pays enough to be self-sufficient and lets them fulfill their human potential.
"I want Americans to be less dependent on government not because it costs too much. We will always help Americans who need our help. I want Americans to be independent so they can realize the pride of accomplishment and the dignity of work and contribute their God-given talents to build a better country.
"I think the success of a Presidency should be measured by how many fewer people need food stamps, how many fewer need disability, not how many more people are added to the rolls. I don't want to take food stamps away from Americans in need. I want fewer Americans to need food stamps.
"Sometimes I wonder if President Obama shares that view. He and his economists keep saying that food stamps and unemployment benefits are a form of 'stimulus.' Well, we've sure had a lot of that kind of stimulus, and all we have to show for it are more people on food stamps and more people on welfare and more people looking for work. I think a real stimulus is a job, and I intend to help Americans create more of them.
"You've probably also heard some people—some even in my own party—divide Americans between 'makers' and 'takers.' As if half the country wants to live off the other half. I've never believed that. That's no different from the kind of divisive politics that the President practices when he pits the wealthy against everyone else.
"We want a society in which one person's success lifts everyone else. The job of government is to create the incentives and opportunity so everyone can become a maker. But too often government wants to take more from Americans so it can make more Americans dependent on government. That's when we lose our way, and too many Americans lose hope that they can work and prosper.
"It's the same with our broken tax policy. You may have heard some people say that about half the American people pay no income tax. That's true. But I know millions of those people do pay Social Security taxes, which are a tax on work. They're making their contribution to our government, and I don't want to—and will not—raise their taxes.
"In fact, I want to reduce the tax on work by repealing ObamaCare, which will force employers to pay a tax if they don't offer health insurance. That means they'll hire fewer workers, as many companies are already doing.
"But I don't want to stop there. I also want to fix our tax code so everyone plays by the same rules, and that includes the richest and most powerful. You know, the President seems to say every day that 'millionaires and billionaires' should pay higher tax rates.
"But what he doesn't say is that if you raise tax rates, those millionaires and billionaires will hire lawyers and lobbyists to avoid those rates, to exploit loopholes and tax shelters, or to get special favors. Like Solyndra did. The government will get less revenue, and that means the middle class will end up paying more. The President won't tell you that either. . . .
We have the most complicated tax code with some of the highest tax rates in the world and yet it doesn't raise the revenue we need to fund the government.
"We need tax reform to spur faster growth and to make American workers more competitive. But we also need reform to make the tax code fairer, and less open to exploitation by the rich and powerful who have friends in Washington.""
If Romney meant that it's the makers versus the takers in America, I disagree with him. Americans most assuredly would prefer to be makers and not takers.
In my view, the idea of American exceptionalism is real. As free Americans we truly want to make our own way.
Further, I also remain totally convinced that the vast majority of us want to help our fellow Americans who need help.
Unfortunately, I'm totally persuaded that far too many of us don't understand the basic economic facts of life, and that this group may very well include "progressives" and Keynesians like President Obama as well.
The more crap we hear about the benefits of (1) more "stimulus" spending, (2) creating more jobs in the public sector in order to jump start the economy, (3) more government "investments" in Solyndra type cases, ethanol, wind and solar, and (4) even prohibiting energy independence efforts such as the Keystone pipeline's construction, the more I want to scream.
In the end, however, I always come back to a lifelong belief in the basic decency, common sense and middle class values of my fellow Americans. Then I quit worrying about what the politicians are saying and begin to feel better.
If Romney really believes what he actually said about our fellow Americans' desire for government dependency, he's not qualified to be our president. And if President Obama really believes much of the stuff he says as well, he's not qualified either.
That said, they're both smart people who like trained seals apparently will say and do just about anything to win the election this November.
That I don't like, for an absolute certainty, but in a certain kind of way, it makes me feel better when I hear them say the crap they say. They can't possibly mean it. Or can they?