Mitt’s DOES Have a View of Workers

While I’m happy that Paul Krugman is observing the same thing I did here–that Republicans don’t care much about workers–I disagree with his observation that Mitt said nothing about workers in his RNC speech.

Lest you think that this was just a personal slip, consider Mr. Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. What did he have to say about American workers? Actually, nothing: the words “worker” or “workers” never passed his lips.

Sure, he didn’t actually utter the word “worker,” but I maintain that this passage was the most telling of his entire RNC speech.

But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.

It is not what we were promised.


It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected.

It’s what Americans deserved.

You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.

But driving home late from that second job, or standing there watching the gas pump hit 50 dollars and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss, in those moments you knew that this just wasn’t right.

But what could you do? Except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic. Hug your kids a little longer; maybe spend a little more time praying that tomorrow would be a better day. [my emphasis]

As I’ve noted, it’s telling because Mitt has bragged about creating those $9 jobs–the ones he admits you can’t live off of. And it’s telling because of the solution Mitt offers to people working dead-end jobs: pray, and trust that Mitt, as President, will make it better.

We now know that would involve trusting Mitt to do something for a bunch of people he believes don’t work hard, even while he admits they’re working two jobs to pay the bills.

A fundamental part of Mitt’s election message is that Obama is responsible for the real and perceived decline in the American lifestyle that has been in decline for decades. He claims he will fix that.

But when you put all the things he believes together, it’s clear he believes he will fix it by badgering people he admits are struggling under two jobs to work harder.

It doesn’t make sense: the real answer has more to do with Mitt’s own faults, with his own method of getting rich. But that’s why it’s important to note Mitt’s contradictory understanding of real workers.

4 replies
  1. prostratedragon says:

    A passage from an obsolete work of literature (as we are often told):

    They had started the rebuilding of the windmill the day after the victory celebrations were ended. Boxer refused to take even a day off work, and made it a point of honour not to let it be seen that he was in pain. In the evenings he would admit privately to Clover that the hoof troubled him a great deal. Clover treated the hoof with poultices of herbs which she prepared by chewing them, and both she and Benjamin urged Boxer to work less hard. “A horse’s lungs do not last for ever,” she said to him. But Boxer would not listen. He had, he said, only one real ambition left — to see the windmill well under way before he reached the age for retirement.

    At the beginning, when the laws of Animal Farm were first formulated, the retiring age had been fixed for horses and pigs at twelve, for cows at fourteen, for dogs at nine, for sheep at seven, and for hens and geese at five. Liberal old-age pensions had been agreed upon. As yet no animal had actually retired on pension, but of late the subject had been discussed more and more. Now that the small field beyond the orchard had been set aside for barley, it was rumoured that a corner of the large pasture was to be fenced off and turned into a grazing-ground for superannuated animals. For a horse, it was said, the pension would be five pounds of corn a day and, in winter, fifteen pounds of hay, with a carrot or possibly an apple on public holidays. Boxer’s twelfth birthday was due in the late summer of the following year.

    Meanwhile life was hard. The winter was as cold as the last one had been, and food was even shorter. Once again all rations were reduced, except those of the pigs and the dogs. A too rigid equality in rations, Squealer explained, would have been contrary to the principles of Animalism. In any case he had no difficulty in proving to the other animals that they were NOT in reality short of food, whatever the appearances might be. For the time being, certainly, it had been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations (Squealer always spoke of it as a “readjustment,” never as a “reduction”), but in comparison with the days of Jones, the improvement was enormous. Reading out the figures in a shrill, rapid voice, he proved to them in detail that they had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had in Jones’s day, that they worked shorter hours, that their drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer, that a larger proportion of their young ones survived infancy, and that they had more straw in their stalls and suffered less from fleas. The animals believed every word of it. Truth to tell, Jones and all he stood for had almost faded out of their memories. They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare, that they were often hungry and often cold, and that they were usually working when they were not asleep. But doubtless it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so. Besides, in those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point out.

    From chapter 9, Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell The novel was said to have been written as a parody of Stalinism, and the Soviet state generally. (I’ve never seen where Orwell said this.) Hence, presumably, the fall of that state has made the novel, automatically, obsolete.

  2. FFein says:

    I’m amused by his comment that he got rich the old fashioned way — by working hard — but in his circles I think what that really means is that he inherited it (although he also says that he didn’t inherit anything — $1 million in his eyes is nothing apparently). He’s so confused.

  3. Mack says:

    Rommney inherited nothing but $1 million, an elevated social station, surrounded by the folks who own and run things, and a profound sense of entitlement. Reminds me of my sister’s college boyfriend who graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors in Popular Culture (comic books, essentially) and an inside sales position at Xerox in the Chicago Loop, which was only moderately more challenging than position papers on the Green Lantern, but considerably better paid.
    He inherited nothing but a family who could pay full boat at NU and a roommate whose father was the Senior VP of Sales at Xerox.
    Same sort of person who would tell you how he earned all his fortune with hard work. (My sister married a Chicago teacher and is much better off)

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