Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

How Romney really feels about Republicans

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
September 18, 2012 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A secret video reveals that Mitt Romney said 47% of Americans look for handouts
  • LZ Granderson: This is not just a gaffe, this is the real Romney
  • He says Romney was referring to poor and middle-class Republicans
  • Granderson: Republicans should realize how Romney truly feels about them

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) -- By now, we all know about the not-so-secret video of Mitt Romney calling 47% of the country a bunch of losers, or how some Republicans are trying to spin this embarrassment as somehow being part of their message. So, what should we make of it?

Remember the Washington Post story from a few months ago that we dismissed as not terribly significant about Romney's bullying days in high school?

We thought his casual "If I offended ... " apology was just a tone-deaf gaffe. The country's attitude toward bullying is different now than it was when Romney was in school, and we just figured he didn't get it. But who cares, right? That was so many years ago -- the stuff of adolescence.

Opinion: What's wrong with Romney the candidate

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

So we overlooked the fact that he deliberately held a door closed while a sight-impaired teacher walked into it. We overlooked the fact that he helped pin down a new kid in school and cut his hair. In defense of his teenage years, Romney said he's a different person today and we said OK.

But who was the guy who said, "I'm not concerned about the very poor"?

Who said, "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake -- I can't have illegals"?

"Middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less."

"$10,000 bet"?

And now this:

"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax."

At some point, poor and middle-class Republicans need to connect all of these tiny, seemingly unrelated dots to see the bigger picture: These are not gaffes by Mitt Romney.

This is Mitt Romney.

Republicans, especially in the South, who are not rich, better take a good, long hard look at the man and what he said in the video. It may seem like Romney is trashing Democrats at the $50,000-a-plate dinner, but really he's talking about Republicans.

Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of filers who didn't pay federal income taxes are red states that voted for John McCain in 2008: Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Idaho. Only New Mexico and Florida voted for Obama. Conversely, of the 10 states with the lowest percentage of filers who didn't pay federal income taxes, seven voted for Obama. Only Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota voted for McCain.

So if you were at that May 17 dinner at Marc Leder's home in Boca Raton when Romney said all of these people who don't pay income taxes voted for Obama -- he lied, or didn't know his facts.

But of course, this should not come as a surprise. All politicians flip flop and stretch the truth -- from your local city council to the White House. And Obama certainly has done his share of massaging the truth. Because of this, elections, especially like the one in November, are not about which candidate is telling the truth, but rather whose version of the truth can you live with.

Romney stood in a room full of millionaires and gave an off-the-cuff remark that called 47% of the country is looking for a handout. He said he could never convince that 47% to be responsible for their own lives and that his job is not to worry about those people. That's his version of the truth.

What's the fallout? Conservatives split after Romney comments

The question is, does your version agree with his version?

I can remember working two jobs to pay for college and not being required to file income taxes because I did not make enough money. I don't think working two jobs made me lazy and I am grateful that the government was there to provide student loans to help me out. Loans I have since paid back. I might be crazy, but I don't think I'm the only person whose version of the truth looks like that.

Keep in mind a large portion of the 47% that Romney was talking about are middle- and low-income Republicans who voted for McCain. They are not Obama-loving Democrats. That's not spin, that's fact.

And Romney's characterizations of people less fortunate than himself are not gaffes. They are glimpses into the mentality of a man who pulled a prank on a blind teacher as a kid in high school and said he wasn't concerned about the very poor as an adult.

Isn't it clear by now that these Romney hiccups are not just random occurrences that can happen on a campaign trail? What the video released by Mother Jones proves once and for all is that Romney is whom his words make him out to be.

Poor and middle-class Republicans can still vote for Romney. But they should at least know the truth about how he really feels about them.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2323 GMT (0723 HKT)
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
April 12, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
ADVERTISEMENT