The American aristocrat's persecution complex
"My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Mitt Romney
"Let them eat cake" -Marie Antoinette
h/t to Howie Klein
Based on what Greg Sargent points out in this post, most Americans don't feel the poor are the problem:
In July, Pew asked Americans what they think about the amount lower income people pay in taxes. Only 20 percent think they pay too little, versus 34 percent who say they pay a fair amount and 37 percent who say they pay too much — a total of 71 percent.
Pew also tells me that only 23 percent of independents, and 18 percent of moderates, say low income people pay too little in taxes, while big majorities of both say they pay a fair amount or too much.
Are these numbers skewed by the large number of respondents who pay low federal income taxes or none at all? Guess what: Only 22 percent of self-described middle class people think lower income folks pay too little, versus 69 percent who say they pay their fair share or too much.
Meanwhile, the reverse is true about rich people. A majority, 58 percent, say the wealthy pay too little in taxes, while only 26 percent say they pay their fair share. Fifty six percent of independents, and 69 percent of moderates, say the rich pay too little.
What about the broader debate over the role of government and the safety net? As Jim Tankersly points out, polling suggests that swing voters actually disagree with the fundamental ideological case underlying Romney’s videotaped remarks.
In that donor meeting, Romney was very loose, very casual and very colloquial. He was among his own. And "his own" believes itself to be the newest oppressed minority in the United States. Here's David Frum:
The background to so much of the politics of the past four years is the mood of apocalyptic terror that has gripped so much of the American upper class.Watch the D'Souza trailer with the sound off for the full effect:
Hucksters of all kinds have battened on this terror. They tell them that free enterprise is under attack; that Obama is a socialist, a Marxist, a fascist, an anti-colonialist. Only by donating to my think tank, buying my book, watching my network, going to my movie, can you - can we - stop him before he seizes everything to give to his base of "bums," as Charles Murray memorably called them.
And what makes it all both so heart-rending and so outrageous is that all this is occurring at a time when economically disadvantaged Americans have never been so demoralized and passive, never exerted less political clout. No Coxey's army is marching on Washington, no sit-down strikes are paralyzing factories, no squatters are moving onto farmer's fields. Occupy Wall Street immediately fizzled, there is no protest party of the political left.
The only radical mass movement in this country is the Tea Party, a movement to defend the interests of elderly incumbent beneficiaries of the existing welfare state. Against that movement is a government of liberal technocrats dependent on campaign donations from a different faction of the American super-rich than that which backs Mitt Romney himself.
From the greatest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s, the rights and perquisites of wealth have emerged undiminished - and the central issue in this election is whether those rights and perquisites shall be enhanced still more, or whether they should be allowed to slip back to the level that prevailed during the dot.com boom.
Yet even so, the rich and the old are scared witless! Watch the trailer of Dinesh D'Souza's new movie to glimpse into their mental universe: chanting swarthy mobs, churches and banks under attack, angry black people grabbing at other people's houses.
This also ties into Mitt's throwback comment about how if would be easier for a Mexican to be elected President (instead of a wealthy, white male with a famous political father.) This delusion of being an oppressed class is becoming pathological. When you've got people of vast, vast wealth acting as though the poorest and least of society have huge advantages, you know they've gone down the rabbit hole and may not be able to find their way back.
This isn't about Mitt Romney. He just happens to be the perfect symbol of the American aristocrat's persecution complex.