EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Mitt Romney’s Remarks are Another Chick-Fil-A Moment
Just a few months ago, Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A, gave an interview to a Christian publication that asked him about the Chick-Fil-A Foundation’s support of marriage. Cathy defending his position and spoke about his family’s faith. CNN.com picked it up and ran a story that Cathy had come out against gay marriage.
In fact, Cathy hadn’t been asked directly about gay marriage, but it was implicit in what he said. The CNN.com story swirled around the internet. Leftwingers and media mouthpieces across the country condemned Chick-Fil-A for serving bigotry on a bun. Suddenly the most controversial thing in America was two buttered buns and a pickle. Mayors were demanding Chick-Fil-A not come to their cities. Liberals were screaming about intolerance and bigotry.
Then Mike Huckabee and others declared a Chick-Fil-A Day. On the appointed day, lines of cars stretched around city blocks. Lines of people stretched across parking lots. Turns out a lot of people agreed with Dan Cathy. But it also turned out a lot of people who did not agree, but were not offended and showed up to support Chick-Fil-A.
A counter protest was held — a so called “kiss in.” Few people showed up.
The Chick-Fil-A controversy animated a whole lot of people. It just turned out that the people it most animated were the people who agreed with Dan Cathy.
So it is, I think, with Mitt Romney’s comments. I think the media and the left have badly misread the American mood on this. On CNN yesterday, I spent a fair amount of time with Kate Bolduan and Joe Johns, two of my favorite people. They kept focusing on Mitt Romney’s characterization of the word “victims.”
What I explained to them and what I think the media misses is that many of the people the media would claim Mitt Romney described as “victims’ weren’t who Mitt Romney was speaking about. And those people intrinsically know it. They may technically fall into the category Mitt Romney described as government dependent victims, but they know he’s not talking about them. He’s talking about the people they also are talking about.
But more than that, and this is really what the left and media miss, a fair number of those people in the 47% are not there by choice. They are there by Barack Obama’s economic policies. And they absolutely understand that Barack Obama’s policies got them there. All they need to hear from Mitt Romney is that he really does get it and really will fix the problem, not just manage the decline of the nation as his primary opponents claimed he would.
That off the cuff, off the record talk was what they needed to hear. Mitt Romney recognizes we have a problem with government dependency, as do a majority of Americans. But more importantly, Mitt Romney will improve the lives of that 47% by growing the private sector, not redistributing pieces of the economic pie.
Remember folks, if you listen to the media and watch the public opinion polls, gay marriage wins everywhere. But if you actually pay attention to the voters at the polls, it has lost in every state in which it’s been put to a public vote. That issue doesn’t actually animate and motivate enough gay marriage supporters to offset how it motivates actual marriage supporters. Mitt Romney’s comments may rile up the left, but I think it’ll rile up a whole lot of people who agree with him.
As a bonus, it puts the left and the media in the very awkward position of telling key segments of the population that they’re the victims Romney was talking about when those people don’t view themselves as victims and think a whole lot of people are actually living off the system. You ever try telling someone they aren’t doing as well as they think they are? Good luck with that. It didn’t work convincing people they were better off than they knew, might as well try it! Oh, and in the process, you might as well accuse them of bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.
One caveat here — Mitt Romney must be prepared to fight on this ground now. He should let Paul Ryan do a lot of the talking. This is Paul Ryan’s turf and there are few, if any, more articulate people on the issue of government dependency.
One final point as well — this episode epitomizes how the media is an enemy collaborator with Barack Obama’s campaign. When conservatives accurately quoted Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line including the context in which he meant it, the press immediately folded when Obama claimed conservatives were taking him out of context. In Romney’s press conference after the revelation of the tape he said he was speaking off the cuff and maybe was not as articulate as he could have been without a prepared text. Nonetheless, unlike Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark, the press demands that we all take Mitt Romney literally in his remarks.